Efforts by the Government of Honduras (GOH) in conjunction with U.S. law enforcement agencies directly addressed the air, land and sea drug transshipment of cocaine through the country during the first six months of 2009. Prior to the coup d’état that took place on June 28, 2009, increased and improved cooperation between U.S agencies and Honduran police and military units led to a significant increase in cocaine seizures. Since the coup, the de facto regime’s deployment of security forces to the capital to maintain order and the suspension of U.S. assistance diminished the ability of Honduran police and military to fight narcotics trafficking. Honduras is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Honduras continues to be a transit country for drug trafficking. Its geographical location, limited resources and weak law enforcement presence in vast and depopulated areas of the Atlantic coast make Honduras a target for narcotics trafficking. Areas in Gracias a Dios Department and other remote areas of Honduras are used as transit or storage areas by drug traffickers operating from South America. Transshipment is facilitated by direct air, maritime vessels and the Pan-American Highway, which crosses southern Honduras. Before the June 28 coup, the Honduran counternarcotics police and military units were actively monitoring the transshipment of drugs through the country via air, land and sea routes with USG support. However, the lack of resources for Honduran law enforcement entities, whose attention is now focused more on internal security matters related to the political crisis and the suspension of U.S. assistance contributed directly to an increase in the flow and transshipment of drugs by narcotics traffickers. Prosecution of drug cases by the Public Ministry (PM) also remains weak. Gunmen on motorcycles ambushed and killed Honduras’ top counternarcotics official, former army Gen. Julian Aristides Gonzalez, director of the Office for Combating Drug Trafficking in the capital on December 8.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The 2008 Organic Police Law instituted important police management reform. However, one of the reforms, requiring drug testing for all police personnel every six months, is not currently being conducted for all members of the police, and is only applied as a requirement for police being considered for promotion. While the Ministry of Security was in the process of establishing a polygraph facility that could support the expanded demand for this screening, USG support for vetting, training and equipping additional polygraph technicians was suspended as a result of the coup.
The new law limiting precursor chemical imports has already had an effect. The flow of pseudoephedrine and other precursor chemicals decreased significantly in 2009 compared to 2008 because of passage of Ministerial Agreement 246 on January 27, 2009, that prohibits the importation, production, distribution, transport, use and marketing of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and natural products containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and their salts, as well as optical isomers and derivatives, thereby closing the legal loophole traffickers had used to import these substances legally for production of illegal drugs.
Accomplishments. In 2009, the GOH seized 6.6 metric tons of cocaine, 2,795 stones of crack cocaine, 923 kilograms of marijuana, 13 ounces and 60 capsules of heroin, and nearly 2.8 million pseudoephedrine pills. Additionally, 529 persons were arrested for drug-related offenses. All of these numbers represent decreases in seizures and arrests over the previous year. With U.S. assistance, GOH maritime interdiction has been successful, and through December 2009, authorities seized $671,641 in cash and $168,000 in assets as a result of joint operations.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2009, the Honduran Special Counter Narcotics Vetted Unit worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to arrest high ranking organized crime figures including the May 2009 arrest of Reimerio de Jesus Flores Lazo, a Salvadoran who had several international arrest warrants and was a key figure in charge of drug cartels’ ground transportation logistics for narcotics trafficking in Central America. In August, Jammal El Youssef, who had international arrest warrants for terrorism, narcotics trafficking, arms trafficking and trafficking in persons was deported to the United States.
On October 1, 2009, in a joint operation called “Warunta 09”, the Honduran Air Force, representatives of the Public Ministry, Navy and Ministry of Security dismantled a drug camp in a jungle area of La Mosquitia. In this operation, clandestine airstrips hidden in thick vegetation were discovered, and ammunition, aviation fuel, food, and lighting equipment were confiscated. This semi-permanent camp was linked to multiple recurring illegal flights and used by international organized crime as a very important point for the transshipment of drugs. Honduran authorities recognized that, with the suspension of USG support, their resources to respond effectively to the increased flow of international transshipment of drugs were limited.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GOH does not facilitate or encourage illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances. However, corruption within the Honduran Government and its law enforcement elements presents obstacles to counternarcotics efforts. While law enforcement authorities made numerous arrests related to drug trafficking, prosecution rates remained low and few convictions have been made, in part due to corruption at all levels of the prosecution process.
With the creation of the National Directorate of Internal Affairs that reports directly to the Secretary of Security and is tasked with investigating police misconduct, the GOH made new efforts to fight corruption and improve law enforcement reforms. On July 10, ten police officers were arrested on drug charges in the Caribbean coastal region of Honduras and 142 kilograms of cocaine were seized. The officers belong to the Anti- Narcotics Operation Group (GOA) of the National Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DNIC).
Agreements and Treaties. Honduras has counternarcotics agreements with the United States, Belize, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela, and Spain. Honduras is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol. The major public maritime ports are in compliance with International Ship and Port Facility Security codes and the country is an active member of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD). Honduras is a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption and the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on Trafficking in Persons. A U.S.-Honduras maritime counternarcotics agreement entered into force in 2001 and a bilateral extradition treaty is in force between the United States and Honduras, but the Honduran Constitution prohibits the extradition of its nationals. Honduras signed the Caribbean Regional Maritime Counter Drug Agreement, but has not yet ratified it. A Declaration of Principles was signed between the United States and Honduras on December 15, 2005 for the Container Security Initiative (CSI), which involves the inspection of maritime cargo destined to the United States.
Cultivation and Production. Marijuana is cultivated in Honduras almost exclusively for domestic consumption. It is grown in the isolated fields hidden in rugged mountainous terrain in the Departments of Yoro and Francisco Morazan in Central Honduras; Colon along the Caribbean coast; Olancho in eastern Honduras; and in the western Departments of Copan and Santa Barbara. Honduran police have not detected any cocaine or heroin processing laboratories in the country, but drug traffickers use legally-registered laboratories to import precursor chemicals to separate pseudoephedrine from legal drugs to obtain raw material for the production of methamphetamine.
Drug Flow and Transit. Although the USG estimates that the amount of cocaine departing South America en route to the United States has slightly decreased since 2007 (at least 5 percent from 2007 to 2008 and perhaps even more for 2008 to 2009), the amount of cocaine transiting to or through Honduras increased from about 182 metric tons in 2008. Based on the first three quarters, cocaine arriving or passing through Honduras via air and maritime cases and events in 2009 was projected to exceed 200 metric tons.
The most visible change in narcotics trafficking in Honduras for 2009 was in the number of suspect air tracks to and through the country. Joint Inter Agency Task Force South (JIATF-S) recorded 31 total suspect air tracks, which delivered narcotics to Honduras in calendar year 2008. As of September 29, 2009, there were 44 Honduran suspect air tracks.
As with air activity, maritime cases increased for 2009 through September to 150 maritime cases and events, compared to 103 in all of 2008.
Domestic Programs. Poverty, unemployment, and the lack of economic development are main factors for drug use, especially among youth in Honduras. Alcohol and inhalants remain the most common abused substances, while fewer people abuse marijuana and cocaine. According to the governmental Honduran Institute for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction and Dependency (IHADFA), drug use is on the rise, and a majority of Hondurans between the ages of 15 and 19 tried some kind of illegal drug, especially cocaine. With Department of State foreign assistance funding, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) signed a letter of agreement with the National Association Against Drugs (ANCOD) to conduct four training sessions in the town of Valle de Angeles with the purpose of providing the basic concepts on how to establish a counternarcotics coalition and serve as a model for other communities on how to reduce the level of abuse of illicit substances among the population. Due to the coup, CADCA conducted only three of the four training sessions.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
The USG focus in Honduras is to address key challenges to security and law enforcement that affect both Honduras and the United States such as interdiction of drugs flowing through Honduras by air, sea or land, and the lack of public security because of gang-related and other organized crime.
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, there was improved communication and coordination between U.S. law enforcement and intelligence entities (DEA and JIATF-S), and Honduran military and National Police elements reacting to narcotics air and maritime shipments. The USG funded construction of the Naval Base in Barra de Caratasca in 2009 and is scheduled to begin construction of a naval facility on the island of Guanaja (as soon as the political situation allows). A marked improvement in Honduran expertise using the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange System (CNIES), particularly on the part of the Honduran Navy, accounted for a great deal of the enhanced response. Additionally, the enhancement of a steady state response capability through the U.S. Southern Command, JIATF-S, and Joint Task Force Bravo Central Skies II program added a more timely and robust interdiction capability for the Honduran Tactical Response Team (TRT), which worked closely with the DEA. However, since the June 28 coup, the interdiction success rate decreased considerably as a result of the reassignment of security forces by the de facto regime to counter political unrest.
Cooperation with Honduras via the bilateral maritime agreement remained strong in 2009. Under the agreement, the U.S. Coast Guard interdicted four Honduran flagged vessels, detained 24 suspected smugglers, and removed over 4.3 metric tons of cocaine. Drug trafficking organizations utilized Honduran flagged vessels in the transit zone to smuggle contraband, and several interdictions in countries along the transit zones involved Honduran crewmembers. The bilateral agreement with Honduras is a key element in the ability of USG interdiction assets to effectively deter drug trafficking organizations in the Western Caribbean.
The Road Ahead. The restoration of constitutional and democratic order in Honduras is critical to U.S.-Honduran cooperation and the collaborative government-wide coordination begun under the auspices of the Merida Initiative. The effectiveness of the police through capacity-building and encouraging reforms in the security sector, with an emphasis on modernizing prisons and working to prevent gang activity through rehabilitation of former gang members are priority areas of U.S. assistance. Following on the heels of the 2008 police law reforms, the 2009 precursor chemical law provided another effective tool to combat the use of Honduras as an easy transit route for illicit drugs and precursors. Before the June coup, multilateral joint interdiction efforts were netting increased results. The USG made every effort to prevent deterioration of our pre-coup gains in the area of cooperation and information-sharing. The United States encourages Honduran law enforcement entities to conduct criminal investigations on trafficking organizations and build on previous GOH plans to improve police operations with a focus on police training reforms. The USG also encourages the Ministry of Security to focus on improving the prison system and dismantling criminal organizations working from within the penitentiaries. Infrastructure, communication and equipment upgrades at Joint Task Force Policarpo Paz Garcia in Puerto Lempira will improve national and international counter-trafficking efforts in the region.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is not a major transshipment point for illicit drugs destined for the international market. Some narcotics shipments do transit Hong Kong’s high volume port, but its efficient law enforcement efforts, the availability of alternate routes, and the development of port facilities elsewhere in southern China prevent the HKSAR from becoming a major transshipment point. Some traffickers continue to operate out of Hong Kong, arranging shipments from nearby drug-producing countries via Hong Kong to other international markets, including to the United States. The HKSAR Government actively combats drug trafficking and abuse through legislation and law enforcement, preventive education and publicity, treatment and rehabilitation, as well as research and external cooperation. The 1988 UN Drug Convention, to which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a party, also applies to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s position as a key port city in close proximity to the Golden Triangle and mainland China historically made it a natural transit/transshipment point for drugs moving from Southeast Asia to the international market, including to the United States. In recent years, Hong Kong’s role as a drug transshipment point has diminished due to law enforcement efforts and the availability of alternate routes in southern China. Despite this diminished role, some drugs continue to transit Hong Kong to other international markets. Some drug traffickers continue to use Hong Kong as their financial base of operations, including investors involved in international drug trafficking activity who reside in Hong Kong. Drug trafficking groups operating in Hong Kong are primarily transnational in nature.
Hong Kong law enforcement officials maintain very cooperative liaison relationships with their U.S. counterparts in the fight against drugs. According to HKSAR authorities, drugs seized in Hong Kong are smuggled mostly for local consumption and to a lesser extent for further distribution in the international market. Statistics released by the Hong Kong Central Registry of Drug Abuse (HKCRDA) for 2008 indicate the number of reported drug abusers declined from 14,115 in 2005 to 13,252 in 2006. In 2007 this figure had increased slightly to 13,591, whereas by the end of 2008 the number of reported drug abusers had increased again to 14,175. Newly-reported drug users age 30 and under account for the largest increases since 2007.
Though heroin was once the most commonly abused drug in Hong Kong, the number of heroin abusers continued its steady decline in 2008 with 7,243 heroin abusers reported, compared to the 7,419 reported in 2007. For the second year in a row, HKCRDA also reported a larger number of psychotropic substance abusers than heroin abusers. In 2008, 8,306 psychotropic abusers were reported, an increase from the 7,908 psychotropic abusers reported in 2007. Ketamine is the most commonly abused psychotropic substance with over 5,000 abusers, approximately 1,000 more since 2007. Triazolam/midazolam/zopiclone, methamphetamine, MDMA-Ecstasy, cannabis, cocaine, and codeine-based cough medicine are also regularly abused.
In 2009, the Hong Kong Government continued its efforts to combat psychotropic substance abuse, particularly among Hong Kong’s youth. Beginning in December 2009, approximately 22,000 students in 23 Hong Kong secondary schools will take part in a voluntary drug testing pilot program through the remainder of the school year 2009/2010. Although public opposition to student drug testing on grounds of privacy concerns initially stalled this project, the Hong Kong Government stepped up its drug prevention public outreach against a backdrop of widely reported psychotropic substance abuse cases involving children. The goals of the school drug testing pilot program are to deter youth substance abuse, to facilitate early intervention for identified abusers, and to gain empirical data applicable to further substance abuse prevention programs.
III. Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The Hong Kong Government continued to employ existing counternarcotics policies and strategies in drug prevention efforts. As previously discussed, the formerly stalled plan for voluntary drug testing in Hong Kong schools is moving forward with a pilot program commencing December 2009, despite some public opposition.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Hong Kong’s law enforcement agencies, including the Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (HKCE), place high priority on meeting the objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Their counternarcotics efforts focus on the suppression of drug trafficking and the control of precursor chemicals. The Hong Kong Police have adopted a three-level approach to combat narcotics distribution: the headquarters level focus is on high-level traffickers and international trafficking; the regional police force focuses on trafficking across police district boundaries; and the district-level police force has responsibility for eradicating street-level distribution.
The HKCE’s Chemical Control Group, in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office in Hong Kong, continues to closely monitor the usage of precursor chemicals and tracks the export of suspicious precursor chemical shipments to worldwide destinations with significant results effecting several regions, including the United States.
Corruption. The Government of Hong Kong SAR does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior government official is alleged to have participated in such activities. Hong Kong has a comprehensive anticorruption ordinance that is effectively enforced by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which reports directly to the Chief Executive. In addition, the UN Convention Against Corruption, which the PRC ratified on January 13, 2006, is applicable to Hong Kong.
Agreements and Treaties/International Cooperation. Upon resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, the PRC advised the UN Secretary General that the 1961 Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention, apply to Hong Kong. The UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption also apply to Hong Kong. Hong Kong has Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Agreements (MLAA) with the United States and many other countries. Hong Kong currently has signed Surrender of Fugitive Offenders Agreements with Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Hong Kong has also signed Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreements with eight countries, including the United States. Hong Kong law enforcement agencies enjoy a close and cooperative working relationship with their mainland counterparts and those in many other countries.
Hong Kong participates in Project Prism and Operation Cohesion, both managed by the International Narcotics Control Board, to control the illegal diversion of chemical precursors. Hong Kong also participates in joint tracking programs, which allow HKCE and the U.S. DEA to target the movement of precursor chemical shipments exported from, transshipped or transiting via Hong Kong to high-risk countries. In addition to the monitoring of controlled chemical precursors, Hong Kong monitors the movement of ephedra, a raw material for the manufacture of ephedrine.
Cultivation and Production. Hong Kong is generally not considered a significant producer of illicit drugs. However, Hong Kong law enforcement authorities dismantled an indoor cannabis cultivation operation and six small-scale crack cocaine production labs in 2009.
Drug Flow/Transit. Some drugs continue to transit Hong Kong for destinations in overseas markets, including Australia, mainland China, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, and the United States. In September 2009, HKCE officials seized two DHL packages destined for Sacramento, California, containing approximately 46 kilograms of opium concealed in wooden carvings and drums. In July 2009, HKCE seized 196 one-kilogram bags of ketamine at the Hong Kong International Airport cargo terminal in a transshipment of sugar and rice which originated in India and was destined for Taiwan. Cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS; such as methamphetamine and MDMA), and ketamine continue to be smuggled into Hong Kong. Although local cocaine consumption often transits Southern China (Guangdong Province) on its way to Hong Kong, cocaine was transported directly into Hong Kong from locations other than mainland China during 2009. In August 2009, HKCE arrested an arriving passenger at the Hong Kong International Airport possessing approximately six kilograms of cocaine hidden within checked luggage clothing articles. The suspect had traveled to Hong Kong from Lima, Peru, by way of Sao Paulo, Brazil and Johannesburg, South Africa. On another occasion, a female courier was arrested at Sao Paulo, Brazil’s Guarulhos International Airport also bound for Hong Kong with approximately 3.87 kilograms of cocaine concealed in shampoo bottles. The female courier’s itinerary was: Lima, Peru; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Hong Kong.
The heavy volume of vehicle and passenger traffic at the land boundary between mainland China and Hong Kong poses difficulties in the fight against the trafficking of drugs into and out of Hong Kong. In an effort to curb Hong Kong’s role as a transit/transshipment point for illicit drugs, the HKSAR maintains a database of information on all cargo, cross-border vehicles, and shipping. The air cargo clearance system, the land border system, and the customs control system are all capable of quickly processing information on all import and export cargoes, cross-border vehicles and vessels. The local Chinese population dominates the Hong Kong drug trade. Contrary to common belief, a significant and direct connection between Hong Kong narcotics activity and Hong Kong triads at the wholesale and manufacturing level does not exist. Therefore, drug investigations are not focused on known triad societies, but rather on the particular trafficking syndicates or individuals involved. Trafficking destined for mainland China by Southeast Asians remains prominent.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Hong Kong Government uses a five-pronged approach to confront domestic drug problems, including legislation and law enforcement, preventive education and publicity, treatment and rehabilitation, research, and external cooperation. In 2009, the Hong Kong Government’s preventative education policy efforts continued to focus on youth and parents. The Hong Kong Government provides a comprehensive drug prevention program throughout Hong Kong’s education system.
In 2009, the Hong Kong Narcotics Division continued efforts to educate Hong Kong adolescents about the detrimental effects of commonly abused drugs by using public interest announcements through TV and radio broadcasts, short internet films, and wide dissemination of posters and printed materials. The Narcotics Division also partners with youth organizations and groups such as Junior Police Call, the Hong Kong Red Cross, and the Scout Association of Hong Kong to promote its youth counternarcotics message. The Hong Kong Government continued its comprehensive public awareness campaign to educate the public about the harmful effects of ketamine and ecstasy, the two most commonly abused drugs among youth.
Since June 2004, the Hong Kong Narcotics Division has also disseminated its counternarcotics message through multimedia exhibits at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust-funded Drug Information Centre (DIC). The Government also continued to commission nongovernmental organizations to assist in educating primary and secondary school children by sponsoring counternarcotics education programs in local schools and conducting counternarcotics seminars with parents, teachers, social workers and persons from various uniformed groups.
The Hong Kong Government continued to implement its comprehensive drug treatment and rehabilitation program in 2009. The Government’s fifth Three-year Plan on Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Services, released in April 2009, sets out the overall direction for enhancing Hong Kong’s treatment and rehabilitation services and increases focus on early intervention efforts and programs that reach out to substance abusers. The Department of Health and the Social Welfare Department operate seven residential drug treatment centers and several counseling centers for psychotropic substance abusers. The Correctional Services Department continued to provide compulsory treatment for convicted persons with drug abuse problems. While these programs are welcomed in principle, Hong Kong residents are averse to having treatment and rehabilitation programs in their neighborhoods.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. Government and the HKSAR continue to promote sharing of proceeds from joint counternarcotics investigations. In May 2003, Hong Kong began participating in the U.S. Container Security Initiative (CSI), which U.S. law enforcement believes increases the potential for identifying shipments of narcotics, even though its focus is on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Hong Kong is also an active participant in the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok, Thailand. From 2003 to October 2005, HKCE, Hong Kong Department of Health, and the U.S. DEA launched a joint operation to monitor the movement of precursor chemicals used in the production of methamphetamine and other drugs from Hong Kong to high-risk countries. The operation effectively decreased the frequency of these shipments and, through the high level of information exchange and timely international tracking, was indicative of the strong cooperation between Hong Kong Government officials and their U.S. counterparts.
To further strengthen international cooperation against illicit drug precursor trafficking, Hong Kong secured an agreement with the U.S., Mexico and Panama to impose stringent shipment controls in April 2005. Since the agreement’s implementation, no large-scale shipments of such products to Mexico or other high-risk countries have been detected. Another cooperative chemical initiative was implemented in February 2006 between the Hong Kong Government and the U.S. DEA to monitor and track precursor chemical shipments sourced from countries or territories in Asia, which transit through Hong Kong, and are destined for high-risk countries.
The Road Ahead. The Hong Kong Government continues to be a valuable partner in the fight against drug trafficking and abuse. Hong Kong law enforcement agencies, among the most effective in the region, continue to cooperate closely with U.S. counterparts. The U.S. Government will continue to encourage Hong Kong to maintain its active role in counternarcotics efforts.
Hungary continues to be a primary narcotics transit country between Southwest Asia and Western Europe due to its combination of geographic location, a modern transportation system, and the unsettled political and social climate in the neighboring countries of the former Yugoslavia. Since the collapse of communism in Europe, Hungary has become a significant consumer of narcotics as well. Drug abuse, particularly among persons under 40 years of age, rose dramatically during the nineties. Recent trends suggest that drug abuse is now hitting a plateau, but experimentation with drugs in Hungary begins at an early age. Marijuana is the most popular illicit drug in Hungary, followed by Ecstasy (MDMA) and amphetamines, LSD and other hallucinogens, cocaine, and finally heroin. In the lead up to its accession to the European Union in May 2004, Hungary adopted and amended much of its narcotics-related legislation to ensure harmonization with relevant EU narcotics law. Since 1999, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor has been the lead ministry in all matters related to narcotics issues. Hungary continues to expand the collection and reporting efforts of its National Focal Point (NFP). The NFP was established in February 2004 to report valid, comparable and reliable data on drug abuse trends to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Hungary met Schengen Standards for border control and joined the Schengen area on December 21, 2007. Hungary is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Hungary continues to be a primary transit route for illegal narcotic smuggling from Southwest Asia and the Balkans into Western Europe. It is also a primary transit route for synthetic narcotics from Western Europe into the Balkans. According to the Hungarian National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), foreign organized crime, particularly Albanian, Turkish, Serbian, and Kosovar, controls the transit and sale of narcotics in Hungary. Domestic cultivation of drugs is relatively limited, but Hungarian law enforcement agencies note the recent increase of Vietnamese groups involved in sophisticated indoor cannabis cultivation. Officials report that cocaine, which just a few years ago was considered a VIP drug, is becoming increasingly popular as its street price declines. The new national drug strategy for 2010-2018 is expected to have legislative approval by the end of 2009.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The Hungarian government developed its new national drug strategy for 2010-2018 this year. Ministry officials expect the cabinet to present the final proposal to Parliament in October 2009, with legislative approval by the end of the year. According to the Directorate for the National Co-ordination of Drug Affairs, the new strategy contains no major changes from the current strategy and is fully in line with the European Union’s drug strategy. It is based on prevention, treatment, and supply reduction. The Drug Prevention Coordination Committee, created in 1998, facilitates the implementation of the country’s national counternarcotics strategy and coordinates among different ministries and national authorities to combat drug abuse. It is co-chaired by the Minister of Health and the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor. The Hungarian National Focal Point, which was established in 2004, is charged with the compilation of an annual report of data for the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction. The National Drug Prevention Institute (NDPI) was set up in 2000 to provide technical and financial support for drug action teams in cities with populations over 20,000. The NDPI encourages the creation of local fora composed of officials of local government institutions, law enforcement agencies, schools and non-governmental organizations to create local drug strategies customized for local needs.
In July 2009, the Institute for Forensic Sciences, with the support of the Directorate for the National Co-ordination of Drug Affairs, launched a new project to enhance the monitoring of licitly produced active substances in critical illegal drugs to prevent diversion. One goal of this project is to monitor the purity variance of illegal substances most likely to cause drug death through overdose. When rare or dangerous components are detected in samples, the Institute of Forensic Sciences forwards this information to the National Focal Point and other relevant organizations. As an early warning system, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor considers the project successful in reducing overdose deaths.
Hungary continued to maintain strong regional cooperation in drug matters with neighboring countries, including Croatia and Romania. The countries collaborated on initiatives including regular study visits and expert conferences to facilitate information exchange in the drug policy field. In cooperation with the Netherlands, Hungary also assisted Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia in preparing national drug strategies as part of their European Union pre-accession process. Within the framework of the Central Dublin Group, Hungary was co-chair of the Balkans Regional Group with Austria in 2009 and will continue to co-chair the regional group in 2010. In its role as co-chair, Hungary helps to assess the situation in the Balkans and develop appropriate assistance responses to perceived needs.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Hungary met Schengen standards for border control at the end of December 2007, and joined the Schengen area. The Hungarian Border Guards were merged with the Hungarian National Police (HNP), resulting in greater cooperation, information sharing, and efficiency in border interdiction. Accession to the European Union (EU) provided Hungarian border guards and national police forces with greater access to modern electronic detection equipment provided by the European Union to certain high-threat border posts. Hungary’s equipment was initially installed in 2003, and has continued to result in improved border interdiction of all types of contraband. Expanded investigative authorities and cooperation between the Hungarian border guards and the Hungarian national police, coupled with investigative agreements with neighboring countries, have also played a significant role in increasing Hungary’s ability to interdict shipments of narcotics. Despite these successes, Hungary continues to be a significant trans-shipment point for narcotics destined for, and sent from, Western Europe. The Hungarian Ministry of Finance and the national headquarters of the Customs and Finance Guard supported counternarcotics and antismuggling activities as well. These groups jointly planned and staged actions during 2008/09 that were specifically designed to prevent drug trafficking and a wide range of illicit transit and smuggling activities.
According to the National Focal Point (NFP), in 2008 there were 5,459 drug-related criminal proceedings in Hungary, a 17 percent increase over 2007. This breaks a two-year trend of declining drug-related criminal proceedings, from a high of 7,616 in 2005 to a five-year low of 4,667 in 2007. 83.4 percent of illicit drug offenses involved demand-related activities, most often personal use. Supply-related criminal offenses (offering, supplying, distributing, trafficking, etc.) were 16.14 percent of all offenses
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) notes that drug-related law enforcement activities used to be primarily focused on Budapest, where the drug problem was fairly contained. In recent years, however, law enforcement officials observe that drug abuse and drug-related criminal offenses have spread to other large cities around Hungary. Many observers inside and outside of the government have cited inadequate asset forfeiture laws as a main stumbling block in disrupting criminal organizations involved in the drug trade.
The cooperation between the HNP and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Office in Vienna, Austria, has improved dramatically within the past year, with DEA describing the current relationship as “outstanding.” DEA and the National Bureau of Investigation share information and coordinate joint international money laundering and drug trafficking operations.
The table below reflects 2008 seizure data as reported by the Institute for Forensic Sciences and the Hungarian National Focal Point:
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Hungary does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The Hungarian Government aggressively enforces its narcotics-related laws. In addition, it takes administrative steps (e.g., the regular re-posting of border guards) to reduce the temptation for corruption whenever it can. It is difficult, however, to assess accurately the scope and success of Hungarian efforts to combat corruption, as the GOH treats corruption-related information and prosecutions as classified national security information.
Agreements and Treaties. Hungary is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. A mutual legal assistance and an extradition treaty between the U.S. and Hungarian Governments have been in force since 1997. These agreements have facilitated closer cooperation between U.S. and Hungarian law enforcement agencies. In addition, in December 2006 the Hungarian National Assembly ratified the Hungary is also a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. All 27 EU member states, including Hungary, 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 protocol with Hungary and they will enter into force on February 1, 2010.
Cultivation/Production. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) reports that marijuana is the only illicit drug domestically cultivated in Hungary. In the past year, Hungarian authorities have reported an increase in more sophisticated hydroponic marijuana cultivation, primarily by Vietnamese groups. In the recent past, domestic marijuana cultivation was limited to relatively small-scale and unsophisticated operations. Current trends indicate that organized groups are now purchasing entire buildings for larger-scale, indoor production centers. These groups have access to expensive technology which professionalizes the cultivation process and increases output. According to Hungarian authorities, these groups are involved in both the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, essentially controlling the entire supply chain. They have also attempted to forge closer ties with Turkish groups involved in heroin trafficking. The NBI reports that there are virtually no synthetic drug laboratories operating in Hungary.
Drug Flow/Transit. Hungary is a narcotics importer country as well a transit route between countries. Narcotics enter the country via routes frequently controlled by criminal groups. Synthetic drugs come primarily from the Netherlands. Organic drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, follow different routes. Heroin generally comes from Turkey and passes through Hungary on its way to Western Europe. The NBI reports that Albanian, Turkish, Serbian, and Kosovar groups are involved in the trafficking of heroin through Hungary. Cocaine, which used to enter Hungary primarily from the Netherlands, now arrives directly from Spain, presumably from sources in Central and South America.
According to local authorities, the majority of illicit drug flow into Hungary crosses the country’s land borders, often from Austria and Slovakia. Narcotics are also smuggled into Hungary through Budapest’s Ferihegy International Airport. The NBI reports that five years ago they were seizing larger shipments of narcotics, sometimes around 200 kilograms a shipment. They have noticed a recent change in which organized crime is moving smaller, but more frequent, quantities of narcotics across borders.
Synthetic drugs have distinct transit patterns. Ketamine, which is a popular anesthetic in veterinary medicine but is also used as a recreational drug, primarily enters Hungary from Slovakia. Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL), on the other hand, generally arrive from sources in Western Europe. Narcotics precursors, such as acetic anhydride, pass through Hungary from the Czech Republic and Slovakia on their way to Serbia and other Balkan countries. Hungarian authorities report that Serbian organized crime is involved in this trade.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Hungarian ministry officials report the drug abuse is significantly higher among youth between the ages of 12-25 and truly addicted drug abusers are more commonly found in the 25-34 age group. The majority of addicted drug abusers are male, with an average age of 25 years, and use amphetamine, heroin, or Ecstasy.
Much of the drug prevention outreach in Hungarian schools is subcontracted to NGOs and other organizations. According to the Hungarian National Focal Point (NFP), in 2008 the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour and the Ministry of Education and Culture jointly issued tender invitations for school-based health promotion and drug prevention programs in the amount of HUF 170 million ($925,000). As a result of this funding, 30,090 primary school students (aged 10-14) and 54,860 secondary school students (aged 14-18) participated in drug prevention programs. In addition to school-based drug prevention programs, Hungarian authorities have identified 162 service providers of out-of-school drug prevention programs. The Ministry of Education and Culture also granted HUF 5 million ($27,000) to support drug prevention training courses for teachers. In one particular course dealing with addictive substances, nearly 100 teachers participated.
Public schools in Hungary include several drug prevention and health promotion programs in their normal education program. The life skills program is the largest of the counternarcotics programs and was developed in the early nineties with INL assistance. Through 2005, the fifteen year program has trained nearly 12,000 teachers and educators. Community-based prevention efforts are primarily focused on the teen/twenties age group and provide information about the dangers of substance abuse while emphasizing active and productive lifestyles as a way of limiting exposure to drugs.
According to the Ministry of Health and the NFP, the total number of users receiving both inpatient and outpatient treatment during 2008 was 14,353, a 6.7 percent increase from 2007.
Local authorities in Hungary are implementing needle/syringe programs (NSPs). According to the NFP, in 2008 there were eighteen service providers operating NSPs in Hungary, with four of them located in Budapest and fourteen of them located outside of Budapest. In 2008 new NSPs were launched in three towns (Salgótarján, Kaposvár and Orosháza), improving the needle/syringe program coverage of the regions outside of Budapest. In 2008 both the number of distributed and returned syringes increased significantly outside of Budapest.
Since 2007 buprenorphine-naloxone has been a possible substitution treatment in Hungary. Since October 2008 a daily dose of 8 mg of buprenorphine-naloxone has been financed by the social insurance fund. Methadone treatment is still the preferred substitution treatment in Hungary, but buprenorphine-naloxone is being used more and more frequently.
The 2003 amendment to Hungarian counternarcotics legislation was designed to shift the focus of criminal investigations from consumers to dealers. Before this amendment was enacted, Hungarian civil rights advocates claimed that the Hungarian narcotics law, among the toughest on users in Europe, subjected even casual users to stiff criminal penalties, while addicts were often exempted from prosecution. The 2003 amendment called the “diversion program” allowed police, prosecutors, and judges to place drug users in a six-month government-funded treatment program or mandate participation in a counseling program instead of prison. Drug addicts are encouraged to attend treatment centers while casual users are directed to prevention and education programs. The amendment also provided judges with more alternatives and flexibility when sentencing drug users. According to Ministry of Health data, 2,660 drug users participated in diversion programs in 2008. This marks the second straight year in which the number of drug users participating in diversion programs has decreased.
There is some debate about the success of the diversion program in Hungary. Some political groups, in particular, talk about a return to tougher penalties for drug use. Within the government, however, there is agreement that diversion, while not perfect, has helped to further the legal distinction between drug users and drug suppliers. It is also seen by many as a success simply by providing many drug users with an alternative to criminal procedures.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The primary USG focus in support of the GOH counternarcotics efforts is through training and cooperative education at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA). In addition, the DEA maintains a regional office in Vienna, Austria, that is accredited to Hungary to work with local and national Hungarian authorities. DEA and the Hungarian National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) share information and coordinate joint international money laundering and drug trafficking operations. A joint FBI/NBI task force identifies, investigates, and disrupts/dismantles criminal organizations in Hungary and the surrounding region.
The Road Ahead. The USG continues to support and encourage Hungarian efforts regarding drug prevention, treatment, and supply reduction. The USG also continues to support GOH law enforcement efforts through training programs and seminars at the ILEA as well as through specialized in-country programs.
Icelandic authorities confront still limited, but increasing, levels of domestic drug production. The primary focus of law enforcement is on stopping importation and distribution, with a lesser emphasis on prosecuting for possession and use. The number of seizures and narcotics-related offenses in Iceland continued to decline in 2009. At the same time, however, the total quantity of narcotics seized increased as authorities placed greater emphasis on shutting down large-scale operations. Icelandic police made the largest narcotics seizure in Icelandic history, based on street value, during2009. Along with the government, secular and faith-based charities organize abuse prevention projects and run respected detoxification and treatment centers. Iceland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Illegal drugs are produced in still limited, but increasing, quantities in Iceland. Law enforcement authorities believe that the domestic production of drugs is limited to marijuana plants, now grown in quantities adequate to satisfy virtually all domestic demand, and the occasional amphetamine laboratory. Police reported an average seizure of 100-200 cannabis plants a week, a dramatic increase considering there were only a total of some 900 plants seized for the entire year in 2008. There are even reports that some domestically grown marijuana may be intended for export. The harsh climate and lack of arable soil make the outdoor cultivation of drug crops in Iceland almost impossible so all cultivation is limited to indoor facilities.
Most illegal drugs in Iceland are smuggled in through the mail, inside commercial containers, or by airline and ferry passengers. Amphetamines have become increasingly common during recent years and they are now the chief illicit drug entering Iceland. Police believe that this is part of a trend of stimulant drug use that also involves heightened levels of cocaine and MDMA in circulation. These drugs are believed to originate in Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Lithuania and South America. They are imported into Iceland primarily via Denmark and the Netherlands. According to authorities there were 62 seizures of imported drugs and precursors in 2009 (latest available National Commissioner of Police figures through September 30, 2009).
Icelandic officials raised concerns during the year that drug smuggling into Iceland could be tied to Eastern European and Baltic organized crime groups, perhaps occasionally working in cooperation with Icelandic crime groups. In addition to drug trafficking, officials believe that these groups may also be involved in money laundering and human trafficking. Law enforcement officials stated publicly that investigation and interdiction efforts were being adjusted accordingly to deal with this element of organized crime. In February, the National Police Commissioner’s Analytical Unit released an assessment on the extent of organized crime in Iceland. The report stated that as a result of the economic crisis in Iceland, profits from the narcotics trade will increasingly be invested in Iceland, since capital controls and an unfavorable currency exchange rate make exporting the profits difficult.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The Public Health Institute of Iceland, established in 2003, is responsible for managing alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs on behalf of the government. Programs are funded through an alcohol tax, with allocations overseen by the independent national Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Council (ADAPC). The institute collects data, disseminates information on use of intoxicants, supports health improvement projects, and funds and advises local governments and non-governmental organizations working primarily in prevention. During the year it made grants worth roughly $361,000 to a total of 45 groups and administered projects across the country. The institute is part of the Nordic Council for Alcohol and Drug Research, which promotes and encourages a joint Nordic research effort on drug and alcohol abuse.
A drug prevention program called “Youth in Europe” emphasizes the importance of organized leisure activities, in addition to time spent with parents, as Icelandic studies of drug abuse showed that these reduced the likelihood of drug use. In connection with the program, an annual Prevention Day is held each autumn in Iceland’s grade schools. The program is sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Actavis Group, headquartered in Iceland, and is administered and coordinated by the City of Reykjavik, the University of Iceland, and Reykjavik University. The Icelandic Center for Social Research and Analysis, a nonprofit research center that specializes in youth research, published a study in October showing that 6 percent of 15-16 year olds have tried cannabis substances at least once in their lives.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Authorities have documented a substantial downward trend in narcotics violations over the past three years and the tentative number for 2009 shows a continuing decrease in such violations (from 1847 in 2007, to 1590 in 2008, and 976 as of September 30, 2009). This trend, however, can be attributed to the authorities placing greater emphasis on wholesale trafficking, large-scale seizures and narcotics production facilities, while focusing less on individual users. Police nationwide have intensified surveillance in public places and initiated searches of suspicious individuals, while also improving interdiction training for border police and customs officials.
Police seized a total of 25.4 kilograms of hashish, 74.2 kilograms of amphetamines, 1.8 kilograms of cocaine, 6 units of LSD, 16,216 Ecstasy pills, and 9,707 cannabis plants as of September 30, 2009. Nationwide drug seizure highlights include:
In March, Reykjavik Metropolitan Police confiscated 1000 and 621 cannabis plants, respectively, in two different raids on industrial buildings near Reykjavik.
In April, a major police operation near the harbor town of Hofn in southeast Iceland led to the discovery of 55 kilograms of amphetamines, 34 kilograms of marijuana, 19.5 kilograms of hashish, and roughly 9,400 Ecstasy pills that had been smuggled into Iceland by a Belgian-registered sailboat. The street value of the drugs amounted to millions of dollars, making this the biggest drug bust in Icelandic history. Over 100 people participated in the police operations including members of the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police, police departments in Eastern Iceland, the National Police Commissioner, the Icelandic Coast Guard, the Danish military, and the Icelandic Defense Agency. Six men were arrested in connection with the case.
In April, Keflavik Airport (KEF) Police arrested two Belgian women with roughly 400 grams of cocaine hidden internally.
In April, customs officials confiscated roughly 6 kilograms of amphetamines that were smuggled through express mail.
In September, KEF Police arrested two Polish men with approximately 6,000 Ecstasy pills hidden in cans.
The National Police Commissioner and the Sudurnes Police Commissioner, who oversees Keflavik Airport, have expressed concern about attempts at infiltration into Iceland by Central and Eastern European gangs and criminals, including from the Baltic States. In the past, police have cooperated with Nordic officials to prevent the entry of biker gang members, particularly the Hell’s Angels, suspected of attempting to expand their criminal operations to Iceland. In March, police and border guards prevented the entry of eight members of Hell’s Angels, who came to Iceland to celebrate the eleventh anniversary of Fafnir MC, an Icelandic biker gang that the Hell’s Angels have selected as a prospective member of their organization. Customs and police deployed drug-sniffing dogs to popular outdoor festivals on a holiday weekend in early August to deal with drug distribution among youths attending the events.
Corruption. There were no reports of narcotics-related public corruption in Iceland. The country does not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior official of the government is known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or to be involved in the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Iceland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and its 1972 Protocol. Iceland has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Iceland is not a party to the UN Convention against Corruption. An extradition treaty is in force between the U.S. and Iceland.
Drug Flow/Transit. Authorities consider Iceland a destination country for narcotics smuggling rather than a transit point.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Most alcohol and drug abuse treatment is managed by SAA, the National Center of Addiction Medicine. SAA was founded in 1977 by a group of recovered addicts who wished to replicate the rehabilitation services they had received at the Freeport Hospital in New York. SAA receives roughly two thirds of its annual budget from the government and makes detoxification and inpatient treatments available free to Icelandic citizens. While there can be waiting lists for long-term addicts, especially men, there is no wait for teenagers. SAA’s main treatment center estimated the number of admitted patients in 2009 to be 2,200-2,300. The National Hospital annually admits 400-500 drug addicts (often those with complicating psychiatric illnesses). Individuals with less acute problems may turn to Samhjalp, a Christian charity that uses faith-based approaches to treating addiction, and Gotusmidjan, a treatment center for individuals between 15-20 years old, operated in conjunction with the Government Agency for Child Protection.
The Directorate of Customs continued with its national drug education program, developed in 1999 and formalized in an agreement with the national (Lutheran) church in 2003, in which an officer accompanied by a narcotics sniffing dog informs students participating in confirmation classes about the harmful effects of drugs and Iceland’s fight against drug smuggling. Parents are invited to the meetings in order to encourage a joint parent-child effort against drug abuse. The Directorate of Customs and the national church maintained an educational website, which expounds the message of the program, including drug awareness, information about the Directorate of Customs, and healthy living.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. DEA has enjoyed good relations with Icelandic law enforcement authorities on information exchanges.
The Road Ahead. The DEA and FBI offices in Copenhagen and the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik have developed good contacts in Icelandic law enforcement circles for the purpose of cooperating on narcotics investigations and interdiction of shipments. In the past year, Embassy Reykjavik’s Regional Security Office has facilitated continued support between U.S. and Icelandic authorities by sharing law enforcement practices and techniques to continue strengthening the abilities of the Icelandic police. The USG’s goal is to maintain the good bilateral law enforcement relationship that up to now has facilitated the exchange of intelligence and cooperation on controlled deliveries and other areas of mutual concern. The USG will continue efforts to strengthen exchange and training programs in the context of its ongoing effort to improve law enforcement, homeland security, and counterterrorism ties with Iceland.
India is one of only a few countries authorized by the international community to produce opium gum licitly for the pharmaceutical industry. Other licit producing countries use the much less diversion-prone concentrate of poppy straw (CPS) method to produce opium alkaloids. Because of India’s strategic location between Southeast and Southwest Asia, a significant portion of the heroin seized in India originates in these neighboring countries where opium poppy is illicitly cultivated. Insurgent groups operating in Northeast India finance their activities through smuggling of drugs from Burma into India. Hashish and cannabis intended for the international markets is smuggled into India from Nepal. In addition to diversion from India’s own controlled licit opium production, criminal groups produce heroin illicitly for both the domestic addict market and for the international market. Intravenous drug use (IDU) of heroin, morphine base (“brown sugar” heroin) and opiate pharmaceuticals, particularly in the Northeast states bordering Burma, continues to be a concern, resulting in an extremely high incidence of HIV/AIDS in these populations. Opiates, brown sugar and cannabis continue to be among the substances most commonly abused in India. In recent years major metropolitan areas report the use of small quantities of cocaine, Ecstasy and other synthetic drugs among the wealthy elite. Seizure investigations suggest that cocaine entering India is being smuggled from West Africa.
The Government of India (GOI) continually tightens licit opium diversion controls, but while law enforcement authorities in India regularly eradicate large areas of illicitly cultivated opium and cannabis plants, a significant portion of licitly cultivated opium still finds its way into the illicit market. India takes many steps to control illegal diversion of licitly grown opium to the illicit market. In past years the U.S. and India conducted joint research projects into means to hold down diversion. India’s highly refined methodology to control diversion benefited from this research. India is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
The United States and India are parties to extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties (MLAT), but implementation by the GOI of both treaties continues to suffer from delays based on lack of GOI initiative and lack of communication by GOI authorities regarding the status of implementation of USG requests. Implementation of the MLAT has also suffered due to the refusal of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Indian Central Authority to use electronic communication technology to communicate with the U.S. Department of Justice, its U.S. counterpart. Implementation of the extradition treaty has likewise suffered because of a failure of the Ministry of External Affairs to communicate directly with U.S. Department of Justice and to effectively supervise attorneys representing governments in the extradition proceedings in India
II. Status of Country
Under the terms of international agreements, supervised by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), India must maintain licit opium production and carry-over stocks at levels no higher than those consistent with world demand to avoid excessive production and stockpiling, and a resultant risk of diversion to illicit uses. India has complied with this requirement and succeeded in rebuilding its stocks from recent low levels. Opium stocks now exceed minimum requirements set each crop year by the INCB. From a stock of 509 metric tons in 1999/2000, stocks rose to 1,776 metric tons in 2004/05, but were down to 1,401 metric tons at the end of the 2006/07 crop year. Figures for 2007/08 are not yet available.
Farmers licensed to grow opium for licit production of pharmaceuticals are allowed to cultivate a maximum of 10 “ares” (one are equals one one-hundredth of a hectare). “Opium years” straddle two calendar years. All farmers must deliver all the opium they produce to the government, meeting a minimum qualifying yield (MQY) that specifies the amount of kilograms of opium to be produced per hectare (HA), per state. The MQY is established yearly by the Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) prior to licensing. At the time the CBN establishes the MQY, it also publishes the price per kilo the farmer will receive for opium produced that meets the MQY, as well as significantly higher prices for all opium turned into the CBN that exceeds the MQY.
The MQYs are based on historical yield levels from licensed farmers during previous crops. Increasing the annual MQY has proven effective in increasing average yields, while deterring diversion, since, if the MQY is too low, farmers could clandestinely divert excess opium they produce into illicit channels, where traffickers often pay up to ten times what the GOI can offer. An accurate estimated of the MQY is crucial to the success of the Indian licit production control regime.
During the 2002/03-crop year, CBN began to estimate the actual acreage under licit opium poppy cultivation by using satellite imagery and then comparing it with exact field measurements. Licit poppy cultivation is not confined to an enclosed area and many farmers integrate poppy fields with other agricultural crops like soybean, sugarcane, garlic and wheat. Interpretation of the satellite survey data is a complex undertaking. Satellite results are then confirmed by CBN field visits that measure each farmer’s plot size. CBN is also uses this technology to identify illicit cultivation of opium in various parts of the country. Any cultivation in excess of five percent of the allotted cultivation area is not only uprooted, but the cultivator is also subject to prosecution. During the opium poppy lancing period, the CBN appoints a village headman for each village to record the daily yield of opium from the cultivators under his charge. CBN regularly checks the register and physically verifies the yield tendered at harvest. In 2009, the CBN continued issuing microprocessor chip-based “Smart” identity cards to opium poppy cultivators. The cards are delivered to cultivators at the time of licensing. The card carries the personal details of the cultivator, the licensed area, the test measured field area and the opium tendered by him to the CBN in past crop years. The information stored on the card is read with handheld terminal/read-write machines that are provided to field division controllers. The data is later uploaded to computers at CBN headquarters and the regional offices.
The GOI periodically raises the official price per kilo of opium, but illicit market prices are four to five or even ten times higher than the base government price. Farmers who submit opium at levels above the MQY receive a premium, but premium prices can only act as a modest positive incentive. In the 2005/2006 opium harvest year, CBN significantly decreased the number of hectares licensed from 8,771 in 2004/2005 to 6,976 in 2005/2006, and the number of farmers licensed from 87,682 in 2004/2005 to 72,478 in 2005/2006. In 2006/2007, a total of 5,913 hectares were cultivated and 62,658 farmers under license. Estimated yield for 2008/2009 is not available.
In the 2009/2010 crop year, GOI’s opium policy established the MQY of 58 kilograms/hectare in Madya Pradesh and Rajasthan and 52 kilograms/hectare in Uttar Pradesh. Morphine content of opium tendered during 2009/2010 may become the basis for payment for the crop year 2009/2010 and eligibility for license for crop year 2010/2011, if the GOI decides to implement this change in policy.
Although there is no reliable estimate of diversion from India’s licit opium industry, some diversion does take place. The GOI estimate is less than 10 percent of production. There is no evidence that significant quantities of opium or its derivatives diverted from India’s fields reaches the U.S. In 2007, the GOI seized 2,226 kilograms of licit opium, which had been diverted, or was cultivated in contravention of Indian law. As of September 30, 2008, GOI had seized 643 kilograms of licit opium out of which 61.62 kilograms was seized by the CBN. As of August 2009, the GOI reported seizures of 2,058 kilograms of opium in 212 cases, 47.28 kilograms of which was licitly cultivated opium seized by CBN.
Poppies harvested using the CPS process are not lanced, and since the dried poppy heads cannot be readily converted into a usable narcotics substance, diversion opportunities are minimal. However, it is inherently difficult to control diversion of opium gum collection because opium gum is collected by hand-scraping the poppy capsule, and the gum is later consolidated before collection. The sheer numbers of Indian farmers, farm workers and others who come into contact with poppy plants and their lucrative gum make diversion hard to monitor. Policing these farmers on privately held land scattered throughout three of India’s largest states is a considerable challenge for the CBN. All other legal producers of opium alkaloids, including Turkey, France, and Australia, produce narcotics raw materials using the CPS process. The GOI believes the labor intensive gum process used in India is appropriate to the large numbers of relatively small-scale farmers who grow poppy in India.
Processing opium gum into narcotic alkaloids is difficult because a residue remains after the narcotic alkaloids have been extracted. This residue must be disposed of with appropriate environmental safeguards. Because of this, pharmaceutical opiate processing companies prefer using CPS for ease of extracting the opiate alkaloids, with the exception of certain companies, which have adapted their equipment and methods to be able to use gum opium.
To meet this challenge, the GOI has explored the possibility of converting some of its opium crop to the CPS method. The GOI is also examining ways to expand India’s domestic opiate pharmaceutical processing industry and the availability of opiate pharmaceutical drugs to Indian consumers through ventures with the private sector. However, regardless of the GOI’s interest in CPS, the financial and social costs of the transfer and the difficulty of purchasing appropriate technology are daunting. Since alkaloid extraction requires highly specialized equipment, some of the most obvious places where such equipment and technologies would be available, along with advice on how to use them, are in the other countries licensed to produce legal opiate alkaloids and thus in countries in direct competition with India for licit opium sales.
Morphine base (“brown sugar” heroin) is India’s most popularly abused heroin derivative, either through smoking, “chasing” (i.e., inhaling the airborne fumes of burning opium) or injecting. Most of India’s “brown sugar” heroin comes from diverted licit Indian opium and is locally manufactured. Indian “brown sugar” heroin is also increasingly available in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Most seized “white” heroin is destined for West Africa and Europe.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. India’s stringent Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPSA) of 1985 was amended in October 2001, bringing significant flexibility to the Indian sentencing structure for narcotics offenses. After increasing for several years, arrests and prosecutions under the NDPSA declined in 2007. However, the overall conviction rate continues to increase, reaching 50 percent. In 2006 there were 9,921 convictions, in 2007, 15,390 persons were convicted and as of September 2008, 9,328 convictions were obtained. In certain cases involving repeat offenders dealing in commercial quantities of illegal drugs, the law allows for the death penalty, although there have been no such sentences to date.
In April 2003, GOI transferred the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Ministry of Finance remains the GOI’s central coordinating ministry for counternarcotics and continues to cooperate with the NCB. The move has enhanced the NCB’s law enforcement capabilities and helped align the bureau with other GOI police agencies under the control of the Home Ministry. India has been actively involved in international operations dealing with precursor control such as Project Cohesion and Project Prism, and in October 2008 hosted the combined meeting of the Task Forces of Project Prism and Project Cohesion. India issues pre-export notifications for export of precursors using the online system developed by the INCB. Law enforcement agencies in India continued to exchange information on a regular basis with Drug Law Officers (DLOs) based in India. The NCB and other drug law enforcement agencies continued their extensive cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency through its Country Attaché.
Law Enforcement Efforts. While heroin and opium seizures increased from 2005 to 2006, both declined in 2007. Seizure statistics for other drugs, such as cocaine, methaqualone and ephedrine, tend to fluctuate more dramatically as a result of larger single seizures. After several years of explosive growth, marijuana seizures are down (from 157,710 kilograms in 2006 to 107,881 kilograms in 2007), and hashish seizures have stabilized at between 3,000 and 4,000 kilograms per year. Every year, Indian counternarcotics forces eradiate areas where opium poppy is illicitly cultivated. According to the 2008 INCB report, on average, 2,000 kilograms of opium derived from illicitly cultivated opium poppy are seized annually in India. However, the proportion of the seized opium that is of Indian origin is unclear, since opium is still smuggled out of neighboring countries where opium poppy is illicitly cultivated.
India is the world’s third-largest manufacturer of precursor chemicals. Although India already has a system to try to prevent diversion of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, the diversion of these precursor chemicals is a matter of concern. The NDPS (Regulation of Controlled Substances) Order, 1993, requires every manufacturer, importer, exporter, seller and user of controlled substances (both ephedrine and pseudoephedrine have been notified as controlled substances) to maintain records and file returns with the NCB. Every loss or disappearance of a controlled substance is also required to be reported to the Director General, NCB. Exports of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine require a No Objection Certificate from the Narcotics Commissioner, who issues Pre-Export Notification to the Competent Authority in the importing country as well as to the INCB. India has also been actively involved in operations like Project Prism which target precursors to manufacture ATS. India’s efforts in identifying and stopping suspicious transactions have been acknowledged in INCB’s Precursors Report, 2006. Despite its vigorous efforts to control precursor chemicals, India has been identified in a number of cases as the source of diverted precursor chemicals for a range of narcotic drugs, including methamphetamine and heroin.
Joint investigation by the DEA and NCB have shown the continuing use of the internet and commercial courier services to distribute drugs and pharmaceuticals of all kinds from India to the U.S. and other countries. Although ephedrine seizures within India were down in 2007, one seizure in the U.S. in September 2007 found 523 kilograms of ephedrine shipped through commercial carrier from India through the U.S. and headed to Mexico. The shipment was disguised as green tea extract. In the fall of 2005, Indian Customs seized five international mail packages that were found to contain a kilogram or more of Southwest Asian heroin destined for individuals in the United States, with controlled deliveries leading to the arrest of five individuals in the U.S. Heroin being smuggled into India from Afghanistan and Pakistan has picked up over the past two years, with West Africans often arrested as the carriers. This trend may continue as the border between Pakistan and India opens up to increasing commerce and travel. Although there have been fewer large seizures over the past year, the number of smaller seizures associated with couriers attempting to travel through India has increased.
Corruption. The Indian media periodically reports allegations of corruption against law enforcement personnel, elected politicians, and cabinet-level ministers of the GOI. In January 2009, a police officer and former zonal director of the NCB was arrested in possession of 12 kilograms of heroin. The United States receives reports of narcotics-related corruption, but lacks the corroborating information to confirm those reports and the means to assess the overall scope of drug corruption in India. The GOI does not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit drug production or distribution, nor is it involved in laundering the proceeds of the sale of illicit drugs. Both the CBN and NCB periodically take steps to arrest, convict, and punish corrupt officials within their ranks. The CBN frequently transfers officials in key drug producing areas to guard against corruption. The CBN has increased the transparency of paying licensed opium farmers to prevent corruption and appointing village coordinators to monitor opium cultivation and harvest. These coordinators receive 10 percent of the total paid to the village for its crops, in addition to what they receive for their own crops, so it is advantageous for them to ensure that each farmer under their jurisdiction turns in the largest possible crop. Despite these precautions and vigorous enforcement efforts, it is likely that corruption is a factor in narcotics trafficking in India.
Agreements and Treaties. India is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The United States and India are parties to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) which entered into force in October 2005. A modern extradition treaty has been in effect between the United States and India since July 1999. India has not yet ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime or the UN Convention against Corruption. The USG and the GOI signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement on December 15, 2004. India entered into bilateral agreements with several countries including the United States on cooperation in drug related matters
Cultivation/Production. The bulk of India’s illicit poppy cultivation has traditionally been confined to Arunachal Pradesh, the most remote of the northeastern states, which has no airfields and few roads. The terrain is mountainous, isolated jungle, requiring significant commodity and personnel resources to reach it. The poppies are often cultivated by tribal groups that consume the opium themselves, but there have been recent indications that cultivation there is becoming commercialized. The need to combat the many insurgencies in the Northeast states has limited the number of personnel available for such time-consuming, labor-intensive eradication campaigns. In early 2007, CBN launched a major operation in the Tirap District that resulted in the destruction of 800 hectares of opium poppy. Tirap is one of five districts of Arunachal Pradesh that border Burma and China, which are responsible for the bulk of illicit cultivation in the state. Illicit poppy eradication in 2008 was 597 hectares and as of September 2009, it is 1449 hectares.
Of greater concern was the discovery of more than 6,500 hectares of illicit opium cultivation in two districts of West Bengal (Murshidabad and Nadia). CBN and West Bengal police destroyed the crop in March 2007, but the size of the area of cultivation raises concerns that local farmers have joined hands with larger, more organized drug syndicates, and that an effective law enforcement presence has been absent. All together, the GOI reported that it destroyed 20,001 acres of illicit opium poppy plants in 2006/07, greatly exceeding the amount reported destroyed in previous years.
Another new trend that bears watching is the connection between illicit opium and marijuana cultivation and Maoist (Naxalite) insurgencies in other parts of the country. There are reports that insurgent groups in Jharkhand finance their operations through opium cultivation for laboratories in Uttar Pradesh that previously depended on diversion from the licit crop in that state. Arrests in Andhra Pradesh indicated insurgents have sold marijuana to purchase arms.
Drug Flow/Transit. Although trafficking patterns appear to be changing, India historically has been an important transit area for Southwest Asia heroin from Afghanistan and Pakistan and, to a lesser degree, from Southeast Asia–Burma, Thailand, and Laos. India’s heroin seizures from these two regions continue to provide evidence of India’s transshipment role. Most heroin transiting India appeared bound for Europe. Seizures of Southwest Asian heroin made in New Delhi and Mumbai tend to reinforce this assessment. However, the bulk of heroin seized in the past two years has been of domestic origin, was seized in South India, and was apparently destined for Sri Lanka. Trafficking groups operating in India fall into four categories. Most seizures in Mumbai and New Delhi involve West African traffickers. Traffickers who maintain familial and/or tribal ties to Pakistan and Afghanistan are responsible for most of the smuggling of Pakistani or Afghan heroin into India. Ethnic Tamil traffickers, centered primarily in Southern India, are alleged to be involved in trafficking between India and Sri Lanka. Indigenous tribal groups in the northeastern states adjacent to Burma maintain ties to Burmese trafficking organizations and facilitate the entry into Burma of precursor chemicals and into India of refined “white sugar” heroin through the porous Indo/Burmese border. In addition, insurgent groups in these states have utilized drug trafficking as a means to finance their operations against the Indian Government.
Indian-produced methaqualone (Mandrax) trafficking to Southern and Eastern Africa continues. Although South Africa has increased methaqualone production, India is still believed to be among the world’s largest known clandestine methaqualone producers. Seizures of methaqualone, which is trafficked in both pill and bulk forms, have varied widely, from 472 kilograms in 2005 and 4,521 kilograms in 2006, one kilogram in 2007 and as of September 2008, 2,361 kilograms has been seized. Cannabis smuggled from Nepal is mainly consumed within India, but some makes its way to Western destinations. India is also increasingly emerging as a manufacturer and supplier of licit opiate/psychotropic pharmaceuticals (LOPPS), both organic and synthetic, to the Middle East, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Some of the LOPPS are licitly manufactured and then diverted, often in bulk. Some of the LOPPS are illicitly manufactured as well.
Indian-origin LOPPS and other controlled pharmaceutical substances are increasingly being shipped to the U.S. DHS Customs and Border Protection intercept thousands of illegal “personal use” shipments in the mail system in the United States each year. These “personal use” quantity shipments are usually too small to garner much interest by themselves, and most appear to be the result of illegal internet sales. However, as a whole, these small shipments are indicative of a negative trend which signifies that India is increasingly becoming a source country for illicit pharmaceuticals.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Since 2006, press reports frequently refer to Ecstasy and cocaine use on the Mumbai and New Delhi “party circuit,” but there was little information on the extent of their use. Over the last year there have been no reports of cocaine and Ecstasy use on the rise. While smoking “brown sugar” heroin (morphine base) and cannabis remain India’s principal recreational drugs, (IDU) of LOPPS is also present. In parts of India where intravenous drug users (IDUs) have been denied access to LOPPS, IDUs have turned to injecting “brown sugar” heroin. Various licitly produced psychotropic drugs and opiate painkillers, cough medicines, and codeine are just some of the substances that have emerged as the new drugs of choice. Although drug abuse cuts across a wide spectrum of Indian society, more than a quarter of drug abusers are homeless, nearly half are unmarried, and 40 percent had less than a primary school education. Itinerant populations (e.g., truck drivers) are extremely susceptible to drug use. Widespread needle sharing has led to high rates of HIV/AIDS and overdoses in some locations. The states of Manipur and Nagaland are among the top five states in India in terms of HIV infection (disproportionately affecting the 15-to30-year old population in these states), primarily due to IDU.
The popularity of injecting licit pharmaceuticals can be attributed to four factors. First, they are far less expensive than their illegal counterparts. Second, they provide quick, intense “highs” that many users prefer to the slower, longer lasting highs resulting from heroin. Third, many IDUs believe that they experience fewer and milder withdrawal symptoms with pharmaceutical drug use. Finally, licit opiate/psychotropic pharmaceuticals are widely available and easy to obtain since virtually any drug retail outlet will sell them without a prescription.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) has a three-pronged strategy for demand reduction, consisting of building awareness and educating people about drug abuse, dealing with addicts through programs of motivational counseling, treatment, follow-up and social reintegration, and training volunteers to work in the field of demand reduction. The MSJE’s goal is to promote greater community participation and reach out to high-risk population groups with an on-going community-based program for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation through some 400 NGOs throughout the country. The MSJE spends about $5 million on NGO support each year. It also has treatment and rehabilitation programs in nearly 100 government-run hospitals and primary health centers. In January 2008, MSJE initiated a new program, the “Central Sector Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse and for Social Defense Services,” which revised the drug awareness, counseling, treatment and rehabilitation programs. In July 2008, a National Consultative Committee on De-addiction and Rehabilitation (NCCDR) was created to advise Central and State governments on methods to reduce drug demand. The Committee believes that drug-related problems can successfully be addressed by an educational and motivation campaign that allows people to “avoid the allure of drugs and draw emotional nourishment from wholesome activities.”
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The United States has a close and cooperative relationship with the GOI on counternarcotics issues. The U.S.- India extradition treaty has been in force since 1999, While there have been some extraditions from India during this time frame, such action has occurred only after the passage of many years, although a few fugitives have elected to return voluntarily. India’s efforts to bring about prompt conclusion of extradition proceedings and to keep the USG informed have been poor. The USG has repeatedly asked the GOI to take steps to bring extradition proceedings to completion more promptly and to be timelier in reporting on the status of cases. In 2004, a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement was signed. In 2006, India’s NCB provided prompt and effective cooperation under the MLAT in connection with a narcotics prosecution in EDPA (Eastern District of Pennsylvania); however, other requests have been stalled. In 2008, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) provided training in maritime law enforcement and vessel boarding for Indian officers in the U.S.
The Road Ahead. The NCB’s move to the Ministry of Home Affairs has enhanced the U.S. relationship with the Ministry and NCB. In recent years, DEA gave more courses to more law enforcement officials from a wider variety of state and central government law enforcement agencies than ever before. Other training included standard and advanced boarding officer training by the USCG. Letter of Agreement (LOA) Monitoring Committee Meetings with the GOI ensure that funds achieve desired results, or are otherwise reprogrammed to higher priority projects. The LOA project to enhance and improve NCB’s intelligence gathering and information sharing will enable it to better target drug traffickers and improve its cooperation with DEA. Another project managed by the Ministry of Finance trains law enforcement officials across India on asset forfeiture regulations. The USG also uses LOA funds to build the capacity of Indian law enforcement agencies to fight international narcotics trafficking by providing them with badly needed commodities and equipment. The United States will continue to explore opportunities to work with the GOI in addressing drug trafficking and production as well as other transnational crimes of common concern.
The most significant positive counternarcotics development for 2009 in Indonesia—the fourth largest country in population in the world—was the new narcotics law signed by the Indonesian President on October 12, 2009. This law established the Indonesian National Narcotics Board (BNN) as an independent law enforcement agency. The law also includes drastically expanded investigative powers for BNN, including provision for direct engagement between BNN and prosecutors to initiate prosecutions, and the authority to conduct wiretapping. The law also allows BNN to reach out internationally to initiate and conduct transnational investigations. Indonesia’s new counternarcotics law also grants BNN more authority to investigate and punish illegal trafficking of precursor chemicals, effective January 1, 2010.
Indonesia is a producing, consuming, and transit country for illicit drugs. In the recent past, Indonesian enforcement encountered and destroyed large clandestine MDMA (Ecstasy) and methamphetamine “Super Laboratories” , but in 2009, the clandestine laboratory operations that were seized were much smaller in size. This suggests DTOs (Drug Trafficking Organizations) are downsizing their laboratories, most likely in response to Indonesian law enforcement’s effective seizures of large production laboratories in the past. There are also indications that laboratories are being moved outside large metropolitan areas to rural areas where law enforcement is not as prevalent.
Extensive coastlines in archipelagic Indonesia and a lack of border and port security resources remain an issue for counternarcotics efforts. However, BNN and the Indonesian Navy (TNI-Navy) established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in November 2008 to conduct joint maritime counternarcotics operations. In December of 2009, BNN secured 26 ships from TNI-Navy for 7 days patrolling of Indonesia’s maritime borders from Aceh to Pontianak. Further joint maritime operations are scheduled for 2010.
Methamphetamine, ketamine and Ecstasy are the main narcotics smuggled into Indonesia via sea. Heroin, methamphetamine, ketamine and Ecstasy are imported via air. The majority of marijuana trafficking begins with land transportation from Aceh and continues to other areas of Indonesia by sea through the Sunda Straits.
Some remote seaports on the Malacca Strait are manned by only a handful of customs and BNN personnel, presenting little effective enforcement threat to drug traffickers. Inadequate health care for recovering addicts, poor demand reduction programs generally, and inadequate community re-integration programs remained an issue. Methamphetamine remained widely available in Indonesia and is Indonesia’s most widely abused drug.
The Indonesian counternarcotics code is sufficiently inclusive to cover arrest, prosecution and adjudication of narcotics cases. Nevertheless, corruption in Indonesia is an on-going challenge to the rule of law. The level of political corruption in Indonesia seriously limits the effectiveness of narcotics law enforcement and poses the most significant threat to the country’s counternarcotics strategy. Indonesia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Illicit methamphetamine production in Indonesia seems to be based on diverted pseudoephedrine imported into Indonesia from China. Large-sized clandestine methamphetamine Super Labs seem to be a thing of the past; smaller-sized laboratories are becoming much more prevalent in Indonesia. Laws to control the diversion of illicit drug precursors like pseudo ephedrine are still lax, but beginning in 2010, enforcement agencies will have more authority to regulate the importation of precursor chemicals. Numerous legitimate large international pharmaceutical and chemical corporations continue to operate throughout Indonesia so there will be a continuing diversion potential from methamphetamine precursors which also have entirely licit uses in pharmaceutical manufacture.
The scale of amphetamine type stimulant (ATS) and Ecstasy manufacturing in Indonesia is already large, and the country may potentially displace Europe as the supply source for Ecstasy in the region (source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2009).
The BNN estimates that approximately 3.2 million Indonesians are illicit drug users. An estimated 15,000 Indonesians die each year from the use of narcotics and other illicit drugs. Some drug abusers in Indonesia use multiple drugs. Around 71 percent of the users consumed hashish, heroin/low-grade heroin (62 percent), crystal methamphetamine (57 percent), MDMA (34 percent) and sedative drugs (25 percent). BNN estimated that in the capital city of Jakarta (population of around 10 million people), three out of 10 young people are drug users.
A study conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) office in Indonesia last year showed that two out of 10 drug abusers are also involved in small scale drug dealing. All major groups of illegal drugs are readily available in Indonesia: amphetamine-type stimulants, MDMA Ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, and cocaine. Marijuana is the most readily available illicit drug, followed by methamphetamine.
Chinese and Taiwanese importing, distributing and manufacturing DTOs remain the most significant drug trafficking threat in Indonesia.
Iranian DTOs smuggle large amounts of methamphetamine into Indonesia via Iranian couriers. During October 19-20, 2009 alone, Indonesian customs seized approximately 50 kilograms of methamphetamine from Iranian DTOs. In late 2009, Indonesian Customs has been making a methamphetamine seizure from Iranian DTOs at least once per week.
In early December 2009, Indonesian Customs had their first seizure of methamphetamine at Bali’s International Airport. During this seizure, Customs discovered that the Iranian DTOs had begun to use Iranian internal “swallowers” to traffic the narcotics. This swallower seizure indicates the willingness of Iranian DTOs to go to great lengths to find different methods and routes to deliver methamphetamine to Indonesia. It appears that Indonesia will have to continue to address this new trafficking trend for years to come.
Despite Indonesia’s proximity to the “Golden Triangle”, there remains no market base for Southeast Asian heroin in Indonesia. Indonesia law enforcement seized only a small amount of Southeast Asian heroin in 2009. BNN believes the majority of the trafficking is conducted by West African and Pakistani drug trafficking organizations. These trafficking groups traffic Afghan heroin and use human couriers traveling via commercial air carrier to smuggle drugs to Europe, Canada, and the United States.
While there is no sizeable market base for cocaine in Indonesia, authorities in Indonesia made several small cocaine seizures in Jakarta and Bali. Cocaine occupies a small niche in “boutique” drug use for the well-to-do in Indonesian society and is readily available at high-end clubs in Jakarta. Officials suspect cocaine is being transshipped through Indonesia via commercial air carrier en route to Australia and Japan, with small user amounts remaining in Indonesia for use by Western tourists.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs In 2009
Policy Initiatives. Indonesia completed an extensive overhaul of its national narcotics legislation on 12 October 2009, giving BNN national policy making and enforcement authorities in the areas of prevention, rehabilitation, law enforcement, authority for cooperation with prosecutors, and community empowerment and outreach. BNN will direct its law enforcement efforts against larger national and international drug syndicates while the Indonesian National Police (INP) will continue to handle local and street level drug crimes.
BNN is currently expanding its offices to all 32 provinces, and 482 cities and municipalities in Indonesia. In addition, BNN is expanding its staff and law enforcement agents from its current strength of approximately 500 to 5000 over the next 3 to 5 years. BNN currently manages a government drug rehabilitation center for approximately 200 patients and is in the process of building a national narcotics training academy funded by the U.S.
The primary policy goals of Indonesia’s National Drug Plan, as defined by the Government of Indonesia, are: 1) To minimize the level of illness, disease, injury and premature death associated with the use of illicit drugs; 2) To minimize the level and impact of drug-related crime and violence within the community; and 3) To minimize the loss of productivity and other economic costs associated with illicit drug use. BNN acting for the GOI hope to continue with this plan until Indonesia reaches a drug-free condition, as agreed for all of ASEAN, by 2015.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Both the Indonesian National Narcotics Board and the Indonesian National Police Narcotics and Organized Crime Directorate continued to improve their ability to investigate and dismantle national and international drug trafficking syndicates. BNN and the Narcotics Directorate have become increasingly active in regional targeting conferences designed to coordinate efforts against transnational drug organizations.
BNN and the Indonesian National Police, Narcotics and Organized Crime Directorate, have a good working relationship with European (French, Belgium, Netherlands) and regional (Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Australian, Japan, South Korea) counterparts and participate in joint programs and investigations with U.S. DEA and International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), JIATF West, and other U.S. agencies.
Per BNN statistics for the period of January through June 2009, there were a total of 17,910 drug-related arrests. Indonesia seized the following amounts during the time period: 4,545 kilograms of marijuana, 2 kilograms of cocaine, 817 kilograms of Ecstasy, and 3,724 kilograms of methamphetamine.
The BNN continues to strive to improve interagency cooperation in drug enforcement, interdiction, and precursor control. In 2005, under the auspices of BNN, the U.S.-sponsored Interagency Counter Drug Operations Center (JIACDOC) was opened in Jakarta. JIACDOC is an Indonesian intelligence and operations fusion center focused on counternarcotics and transnational crime intelligence collection and interdiction. It is jointly staffed by the Indonesian National Police, Indonesian Customs, Indonesian Immigration and other Indonesian government organizations involved in security and drug law enforcement.
Currently, JIACDOC is manned by approximately 60 personnel. Under the new legislation passed this year, JIACDOC will expand to become the Indonesian National Narcotics Board Intelligence center with a staff of approximately 300 personnel in the next 3-5 years. In addition, six JIACDOC outstations were established at key airports and seaports this year to provide BNN and its interagency partners with a criminal information management network to consolidate information collection, investigations, and enforcement operations from the national to local level.
Corruption. Indonesia has laws against official corruption and an anticorruption commission that has made progress over the past few years, but was recently embroiled in a public scandal that may have been initiated by other government offices in an attempt to undermine the commission’s effectiveness. Despite these laws and the commission’s work, corruption in Indonesia is endemic. As a matter of government policy and practice, the GOI does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or the laundering of proceeds from illegal transactions.
Corruption of Indonesia’s judiciary is pervasive and poses a significant threat to the country’s counternarcotics strategy. Indonesian prosecutors’ low wages open them to official corruption and go a long way to explaining their low level of motivation. The average salary of an Indonesian prosecutor with 15 years of seniority is approximately $400 a month. Furthermore, corrupt police and investigators reportedly abuse their authority by conducting illegal searches, as Indonesian courts will admit evidence obtained without a warrant. Corrupt investigators are suspected of initiating investigations solely with the objective of soliciting bribes from suspects. Corrupt prosecutors in narcotics cases reportedly request bribes for a reduction in charges with defense attorneys serving as facilitators.
Unauthorized wire taps conducted by the Indonesian National Police against the Anti-Corruption Commission came to light in mid-2009, inflaming the public’s perception of the police and judicial system as corrupt beyond repair.
Agreements and Treaties. Indonesia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol. Indonesia is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and has signed, but not yet ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
Cultivation/Production. The production of MDMA, methamphetamines, and other synthetic drugs is one of the most significant drug threats in Indonesia. Indonesian and ethnic overseas Chinese trafficking syndicates have exploited Indonesia’s lax precursor chemical controls, weak law enforcement, and political corruption to establish MDMA and methamphetamine laboratories capable of producing multi-hundred kilogram quantities of illicit drugs. As reported above, the most recent trend seems to be towards more numerous, smaller illicit refining labs around Indonesia.
These syndicates secure precursor chemicals from China. Previously, production syndicates relied upon chemists trained in the Netherlands for the production of MDMA (Ecstasy), as well as chemists from Taiwan and Hong Kong for the production of crystal methamphetamine. However, recent laboratory seizures by Indonesian law enforcement showed that Indonesians and Chinese-Indonesians are capably taking on the role of lead chemists.
A MDMA and methamphetamine laboratory seizure took place in Depok, West Java on May 4, 2009. This two-month-long investigation was initiated by the Metro Jaya Police Department. As a result of this investigation, 4 tons of various chemicals, 30 kilograms of methamphetamine, 128 kilograms of ephedrine and 1700 Ecstasy pills were seized, and 15 people were arrested. Police officials estimated that if all the raw materials in the laboratory were used, 11.5 million Ecstasy pills could have been produced.
Marijuana is cultivated throughout Indonesia; the equatorial climate of Sumatra allows for year-round cultivation. Large-scale (greater than 20 hectares) marijuana cultivation occurs in the remote and sparsely populated regions of the province, often in mountainous areas. Regional marijuana cultivation syndicates are believed to be exploiting police limitations by locating cultivation sites in remote and high elevation areas where there is little law enforcement presence.
The Indonesian National Police report that marijuana trafficking in Indonesia is controlled by Indonesian syndicates based out of Jakarta. The majority of marijuana cultivated in Indonesia is consumed domestically and typically is not trafficked to the international market. Although cocaine seizures continue to occur in major Indonesian airports, the market for cocaine in Indonesia is believed to be very small.
Historically, MDMA has been smuggled into Indonesia from sources in the Netherlands or produced in China and smuggled to Indonesia by Chinese organized crime syndicates based in Hong Kong. However, in recent years, importation has been unnecessary as there has been large-scale MDMA and methamphetamine production in Indonesia itself. MDMA and methamphetamine produced in Indonesia is trafficked both domestically and internationally.
Demand Reduction. The GOI views drug abuse and narcotics trafficking as a major long-term threat to social and political stability. They are also viewed as anti-Islamic activities. Government agencies continue to promote counternarcotics abuse and HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns through various media outlets. BNN is responsible for the development of Indonesia’s demand reduction programs and continued a nation-wide counternarcotics campaign.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Indonesia and the U.S. maintain excellent law enforcement cooperation in narcotics cases. In 2009, DEA, in cooperation with the International Law Enforcement Academy, provided a narcotics commander’s course and training in clandestine laboratories, chemical control, and basic intelligence management. DEA also provided training in airport interdiction and practical applications.
U.S. PACOM JIATF West funded and supervised the construction of a 200-person classroom for Indonesia’s national counternarcotics academy during 2009, and will continue to support additional academy facilities in 2010.
JIATF West personnel trained BNN, customs, immigration and marine police officers in basic computer and server administrator training, basic law enforcement intelligence training, and basic Analyst’s Notebook computer program training.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. continues to work with the INP and BNN to standardize and computerize reporting methods related to narcotics investigations and seizures, develop a drug intelligence database, and build an information network designed to knit together the major provinces of Indonesia. This will permit all Indonesian law enforcement agencies to contribute to and access the database for investigations. Also, the U.S. will work with the INP and BNN to further expand the scope and impact of narcotics investigations targeting the leadership of DTOs involved in large-scale production of methamphetamine and MDMA in Indonesia.
With the assistance of DEA, JIATF West is funding and helping plan the construction of the new national counternarcotics academy. The academy is expected to open in August of 2010 (construction began in November 2009). It is expected that the academy will evolve into a regional counternarcotics center of excellence that will benefit Indonesian interagency and regional partners.
In 2010, DEA is scheduled to officially open up a DEA office in Jakarta to include one Country Attaché, one Special Agent and one Administrative Assistant.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a major transit route for opiates smuggled from Afghanistan and through Pakistan to the Persian Gulf, Turkey, Russia, and Europe. The largest single share of opiates leaving Afghanistan (almost half by some estimates) passes through Iran to consumers in Iran, Russia and Europe.
Drug seizure data indicate that synthetic drugs from Europe and Asia are being exported to Iran in growing quantities. There are also reports from neighboring countries and even countries further away in East Asia that synthetic drugs are being trafficked to their markets from Iran.
The United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that there are from 1.1 to 2.4 million opiate abusers in Iran. Some experts involved with drug treatment in Iran think that there are probably more—perhaps even as many as 4 million—with 60 percent reported as regular users of various opiates and 40 percent reported as casual users. Not all opium users in Iran are addicts. Many Iranians smoke opium casually in social circumstances or use it as a medicine, in small quantities. However, heroin and “crystal” or “crack” heroin are frequently taken intravenously especially by young people and are highly addictive. Record levels of opium production in nearby Afghanistan and continuing record volumes of claimed opiate seizures in Iran indicate Iran continues to experience an epidemic of drug abuse, especially among its youth.
Evidence such as seizure data, and extensive engineering works constructed along its eastern border indicate Iran is committed to keeping Afghan-produced drugs from reaching Iranian citizens. As Iran strives to achieve this goal, it also prevents drugs from reaching markets in the West. Iran claims that more than 3,600 Iranian law enforcement personnel have died in clashes with heavily armed drug traffickers over the last three decades. However, it is not clear what proportion of Iran’s reported personnel losses along its eastern borders come from narcotics-related engagements, and what can be blamed on Baluch militants and general lawlessness in this region, where drugs enter.
UNODC says Iran spends $600 million each year on counternarcotics activities. Iran claims to have invested upwards of $1 billion in its elaborate series of earthworks, forts and deep trenches to channel potential drug smugglers to areas where they can be confronted and defeated by Iranian security forces. Nevertheless, traffickers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran itself continue to cause major disruption along Iran’s eastern border. Iranian security forces have had excellent seizure results for the last several years by concentrating their interdiction efforts in the eastern provinces.
Free needle programs, distribution of condoms, and programs which use buprenorphine to maintain addicts during treatment are all being used in Iran.
Iran is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, but its laws do not bring it completely into compliance with the Convention. The UNODC is working with Iran to modify its laws, train the judiciary, and improve the court system. The UNODC is also encouraging Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan to explore closer cooperation to battle regional drug trafficking through a UNODC-sponsored Triangular Initiative Program.
II. Status of Country
Iran is a transit country and a major consumer country of opiates and hashish. Entering from Afghanistan and Pakistan into eastern Iran, heroin, opium, and morphine are smuggled overland, through Turkey and on to Europe and Russia. Drugs are also smuggled by sea across the Persian Gulf, and some small share finds its way to Iraq. Although China is estimated to have the largest number of opiate abusers in the world, Iran has the highest percentage of its population abusing opiates. The UNODC estimated that from 1.5 to 3.2 percent of the Iranian population between the ages of 15 to 64 used opiates in 1999. Many observers—including Iranian practitioners in the treatment community—believe that opiate abuse in Iran is even higher now.
However, even at 1999’s levels of 1.5 to 3.2 percent, Iran’s usage rate is comparatively high. It is almost five times the rate of opiate abuse in the U.S. (0.6 percent), and well above neighboring countries like Afghanistan (1.4 percent), Pakistan (0 .7 percent), and China (0.19-0.31 percent).Ninety-three percent of Iranian opiate addicts are male, with a mean age of 33.6 years. Approximately 1.4 percent of Iranian opiate addicts (about 21,000) are HIV positive, and growing intravenous drug abuse, especially among prison populations, is adding to this number.
Iranians have clearly been using much more heroin during the past several years. Heroin has not replaced opium, the traditional drug of choice in Iran, but the share of heroin in Iran’s total opiate seizures has been rising since the mid-1980’s and reached more than 26 percent (opium equivalent) in seizure statistics for the first six months of 2009. Afghan traffickers are also apparently shipping proportionally much less morphine base. Morphine base seizures fell to 10 percent of all Iranian seizures in 2008, but had risen to 15 percent of total seizures in the first three months of 2009.
Continuing large seizures of opium by Iranian enforcement suggest that opium continues to be the drug of choice in Iran by a wide margin. The traditional way to use opium in Iran is to smoke it. However, some Iranians also drink it in tea, inject it, or even eat it. Heroin, however, is smoked or sniffed. A growing share is also injected. UNODC and diplomatic observers in Iran note that young people have turned aggressively to drug abuse. Some knowledgeable observers have speculated that heroin abuse among the young has grown as an escape from what they perceive as difficult economic and social conditions. Sharply increasing seizures of synthetic drugs (2007: 39 kilograms; 2008: 150 kilograms; 2009: 366 kilograms) suggest cheap synthetic drugs pose another threat to Iran’s disproportionately young population. Turkish drug enforcement personnel report that synthetic drugs manufactured in Iran are trafficked to Turkey.
There have also been regular reports of a concentrated “crystal” or “crack” heroin, which is reportedly more pure than other heroin available in Iran. Normally, 8.5 to 10 units of opium are necessary to make one unit of heroin, while crack heroin reportedly requires 15-20 units of opium input. Because of its intensity, crack heroin is associated with increased emergency room visits, and overdose deaths. According to the Director of Tehran’s Specialist Treatment Addiction Center, 75 percent of all drug addicts reporting to the Center are users of crack/crystal heroin. Due to its highly addictive properties and very high purity/intensity, many addicts have died after injecting crystal heroin, the Director added. Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters reported that seizures of “crack” and “crystal” heroin rose in 2007 to more that 2 metric tons, and then rose further still in 2008 to 4.6 metric tons. At this level, this new form of heroin represents almost 19 percent of total Iranian heroin seizures in 2008.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Iran seems to be exploring treatment as opposed to punishment and incarceration as a response to drug abuse. Abuse of controlled drugs remains a crime in Iran. And the justice system remains heavily involved in the response to drug abuse. But it is clear that authorities in Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters have been trying to make drug abuse treatment both more available and more effective, and have turned to foreign models for ideas. In the face of growing intravenous drug abuse among Iranian youth, and a concomitant danger from HIV/AIDS, Iran has begun free needle programs, and the free distribution of condoms, even using dispensing machines for condoms in some locations. UNODC has been instrumental in introducing these new approaches to drug abuse. Iran is also spending more of its drug abuse budget on treatment, and is experimenting with techniques like maintaining addicts, with opiates adapted for use in treatment like methadone and buprenorphine. Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters also supports post treatment efforts to reintegrate addicts into Iranian society. Moreover, research into the reasons for drug abuse in Iran and education campaigns to discourage drug abuse continue apace. A further indication of Iran’s new thinking on how to deal with drug abuse is a very sharp year-over-year reduction—96 percent between 2007 and 2008—in the number of drug abusers being condemned to prison.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Iran blames Afghanistan for many of Iran’s problems with growing drug abuse. Iran also clearly believes that its efforts to keep drugs out of Iran have the side effect of mitigating the impact of drugs on the West, and as a result, Iranian authorities regularly call for the West to recognize this fact by more vigorous assistance to Iran, especially through grants of more modern inspection and interdiction technologies for use at Iranian border control points.
Iran pursues an aggressive border interdiction effort. A senior Iranian official told the UNODC that Iran had invested as much as $1 billion in a system of mud walls, moats, concrete dams, sentry points, and observation towers, as well as a road along its entire eastern border with Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to an official Iranian government Internet site, Iran has installed 212 border posts, 205 observation posts, 22 concrete barriers, and 290 km of canals, 659 km of soil embankments, a 78 km barbed wire fence, and 2,645 km of asphalt and gravel roads. It has also relocated numerous border villages to newly constructed sites so that their inhabitants are less subject to harassment by narcotics traffickers.
While this elaborate system of fortifications no doubt plays an important role in narcotics control, Iran began investing in this extensive barrier-type construction and fortification system on its eastern border region many years ago, well before the burgeoning drug problem started in the mid-1990’s, as security protection against general lawlessness along its eastern border.
Some villagers organized into self-defense forces (Basij) have received training from the Iranian government, and on occasion even launch offensive operations against traffickers and ethnic insurgents. Security forces also periodically clash with Baluch tribesmen who are seeking more autonomy from the central governments in Iran and Pakistan. These tribesmen are also an important element in narcotics trafficking and have traditionally smuggled goods across regional borders. Finally, there are numerous Afghan displaced persons and refugees on both sides of Iran’s eastern border, some of whom also participate in drug trafficking. As a result, three elements of lawlessness—narcotics trafficking, ethnic conflict and smuggling of other goods—occur simultaneously, complicating the situation along Iran’s eastern border.
Iran claims that 50,000 law enforcement personnel (From 2009 –IRGC-Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) are regularly deployed along its border with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Interdiction efforts by the police and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have resulted in numerous drug seizures. Iranian officials seized more than 896 metric tons of opiates (opium equivalent) during 2008. Opiate seizures in 2008 set a new record for Iran’s seizures of opiates, increasing by more than 30 percent over 2007. Seizures at rates like those claimed in Iran surely strike a blow at narcotics criminals and their financiers. Iran and Pakistan alternate as the countries with the highest volume of opiate seizures in the world.
Iranian opiate seizures in 2008 demonstrated the following interesting trends:
Hashish seizures in Iran in 2008 were more than 75 metric tons, and were running at about the same level in the first six months of 2009. Even under the assumption that Iranian security forces have increased the efficiency with which they are seizing all drugs, these high seizure results for hashish together with the equally high results for opiates suggest an across-the-board explosion in demand for all drugs in Iran.
Iran also reported destruction of almost 32 metric tons of marijuana seized and/or burned during counternarcotics operations. The large volumes of marijuana seized and destroyed in Iran suggest more marijuana may be being cultivated illegally in Iran itself.
While methamphetamine seizures remain small at 150 metric tons in 2008, the upward trend was quite sharp (a 285 percent increase over 2007) and the trend continued into 2009, when six months of seizures (366 kilograms) exceeded the level of seizures for all of 2008 by more than 144 percent. The growing availability of relatively cheap synthetic drugs to Iran’s young population represents just one more threat to Iranian society from illicit drugs. There are also continuing reports that synthetic drugs are now being manufactured in Iran itself, for example from neighboring countries like Turkey.
Corruption. Without diplomatic representation in Iran, it is hard to know what role corruption plays in narcotics trafficking. In other countries in the region, enforcement authorities accept bribes to look the other way to drug smuggling, and fail to enforce laws that prohibit street sales of narcotics and other contraband. Higher level officials are sometimes convicted of protecting narcotics traffickers. Given the scale of narcotics trafficking in Iran, it is not unreasonable to speculate that the conditions in Iran are similar to its neighbors. Iran 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. Iran is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. However, its legislation does not bring it completely into compliance with the Convention, particularly in the areas of money laundering and controlled deliveries. Iran is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption. The UNODC is working with Iran to modify its laws and practices, train the judiciary, and improve the court system. UNODC has also begun to implement new assistance projects for Iran’s judicial system after a Paris Pact review of Iran’s counternarcotics efforts. The new assistance, which is projected to cost in excess of $7.5 million, focuses on modernization of the courts, especially increased use of computerization in courts, transparency, and corruption reduction. Iran is also a party to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Iran has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime. Iran has shown an increasing desire to cooperate with the international community on counternarcotics matters. Iran is an active participant in the Paris Pact, a group of countries that seeks to coordinate efforts to counter opiate smuggling in Southwest Asia. Iran also actively cooperates with its nearest neighbors, Pakistan and Afghanistan, in an effort, the Trilateral Initiative, to counternarcotics smuggling and hosted a trilateral meeting, also attended by the UNODC, in 2008.
Cultivation/Production. In 1998, and in 1999, a U.S. survey of opium poppy cultivation in Iran and a detailed U.S. multi-agency assessment concluded that the amount of poppy being grown in Iran was negligible. The survey studied more than 1.25 million acres in Iran’s traditional poppy-growing areas, and found no poppy production, although the survey could not rule out the possibility of some cultivation in remote areas. Iran is now generally viewed as a consumer of imported drugs and a transit country for drugs produced elsewhere, but there are reports of opium refining near the Turkish/Iranian border.
Cultivation of marijuana in Iran, on the other hand, seems more extensive than originally thought. Iran reported seizing and or destroying more than 32 metric tons of marijuana in 2008. The difficultly of moving bulky, hard-to-transport marijuana leaves long distances suggests that a significant share of the reported 32 metric tons of marijuana seized or destroyed-in-place is likely to be from marijuana cultivated in Iran itself.
Drug Flow/Transit. Shipments of opiates enter Iran overland from Pakistan and Afghanistan by camel, donkey, or truck caravans, often organized and protected by heavily armed ethnic Baluch tribesmen from either side of the frontier. In recent years, the size of caravans is smaller and the emphasis is on avoiding Iranian efforts to interdict opiates. Iranian enforcement officials have estimated that as much as half of the opium produced in Afghanistan in past years entered Iran, with as much as 800-900 metric tons of opium consumed in Iran itself by its 1-2.4 million users. Once inside Iran, large shipments are either concealed within ordinary commercial truck cargoes or broken down into smaller sub-shipments. The Iranian town of Zahedan is reportedly a center for the opiate trade as it first enters Iran, and then moves westward. The Iranian government has tried to counter this problem by stationing a drug enforcement unit headquarters in Zahedan.
Foreign embassy officials report that Iranian interdiction efforts have disrupted smuggling convoys sufficiently to force smugglers to change tactics and emphasize concealment more than they have in the past. Narcotics traffickers are increasingly using human “mules” to smuggle drugs into Iran. In some cases, individuals and small groups attempt to cross the border with two to 10 kilograms of drugs either ingested for concealment or hidden in backpacks or hand luggage. Trafficking through Iran’s airports also appears to be on the rise, with numerous reports that couriers transit Iranian airports, bound for foreign destinations. There are even foreign trafficking rings operating in Iran, as was revealed when Iranian authorities broke up a large international trafficking group in 2008 that was led by Africans who shipped drugs worldwide. Still, many local traffickers in Iran move drugs in large armed convoys on Iran’s eastern border and are ready for a fight if challenged.
A large share of the opiates smuggled into Iran from Afghanistan is smuggled to neighboring countries for further processing and transportation to Europe. Turkey is an important transit point for these opiates, most of which are bound for consumption in Russia and Europe. Some refining of opiates takes place in the ethnically Kurdish areas of Turkey and in other parts of Eastern Turkey and Western Iran’s own Kurdish areas. Almost all of the morphine base, which represents a diminishing share (10 percent in 2008) of all opiates seized in Iran, is moving west for additional refining. Important quantities of the approximately 26 percent of opiates moving as heroin also transit Turkey on their way to Europe, according to UNODC, while some heads to Russia. Significant quantities of raw opium are consumed in Iran itself, but some raw opium also moves on to the west.
There is a northern smuggling route through Iran’s Khorasan Province, to Turkmenistan, to Tehran, and then on to Turkey. The sparsely populated mountains and desert, along this route, make it hard to police. Traffickers are frequently well armed and dangerous, and some residents appear complicit. Azerbaijan and Armenia also provide alternative routes to Russia and Europe that bypass Turkish interdiction efforts.
The southern route also passes through sparsely settled desert terrain, and then passes through Tehran on its way to Turkey; some opiates moving along the southern route detour to Bandar Abbas and move by sea to the Persian Gulf states. Bandar Abbas also appears to be an entry point for precursor chemicals moving to refineries in Afghanistan. Such movement is facilitated by the fact that the goods are “in transit” and never officially clear customs and enter Iran. Iran actively participates in the international systems for pre-notification of exports for precursor chemicals, and maintains a licensing and inspection regime for domestic firms authorized to use dual-use precursor chemicals. Iran has also made a number of important seizures, mostly at Bandar Abbas, of acetic anhydride, which is used in the refining of heroin. For example, in early 2008, Iranian enforcement found 5 metric tons (5,000 liters) of acetic anhydride hidden in a shipment of second-hand cars and parts loaded in Pusan, South Korea. All precursor chemicals seized were consigned to Afghanistan. Trafficking through Iran is facilitated by wide-spread smuggling traditionally used to provide necessities, small luxuries like TV satellite dishes, and to escape high taxation.
Despite the risk of severe punishment, marine transport is used through the Persian Gulf to the nations of the Arabian Peninsula, taking advantage of modern transportation and communication facilities and a laissez-faire commercial attitude in that area. The UAE is a prominent transshipment destination and small loads of opiates are smuggled across the Persian Gulf to be placed in containerized cargo shipments. Hashish moves extensively along this route, as well. Iran reported to UNODC in October 2008, for example, a seizure of 610 kilograms of opium and 150 kilograms of hashish from a vessel passing along Iran’s coastline towards the UAE. In December 2008, Iran reported to UNODC a seizure of 250 kilograms of hashish in Bushehr province, bound for Qatar. Oman and Dubai appear to be important destinations for drugs, but some hashish transiting Iran even finds its way to Iraq.
Increasingly, synthetic drugs from Europe (Netherlands) and Southeast Asia (Thailand) are shipped to Iran for sale to young people in Iran’s larger cities and towns. Iranian drug control officials are concerned since Iran has a young population, and synthetic drugs could become popular quickly given their low price. Based on sharply increasing seizure statistics for synthetic drugs and reports of synthetic drug trafficking to neighboring countries from Iran itself, synthetic drugs are a growing problem for Iran.
Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). Drug offenses are under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Courts. Punishment for narcotics offenses is severe, with death sentences possible for possession of more than 30 grams of heroin or 5 kilograms of opium. Those convicted of lesser offenses may be punished with imprisonment, fines, or lashings. Offenders under the age of 18 are afforded some leniency. More than 60 percent of the inmates in Iranian prisons are incarcerated for drug offenses, ranging from drug use to drug trafficking. In a sharp switch from former years, Iran reported that it condemned almost twice the number of traffickers as drug abusers to prison in 2008. In the past, the ratio was twice as many drug abusers as drug traffickers. Iran has executed more than 10,000 narcotics traffickers since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
As in other countries with serious drug abuse problems, many other crimes are associated with drug abuse; among these are armed robberies and assaults, home break-ins, and kidnappings for ransom. Making needles for addicts freely available and medication assisted drug treatment, plus increased efforts to reintegrate addicts into Iranian society after treatment are a relatively new departure for Iran encouraged perhaps by the heavy costs of addiction.
The scale of the drug abuse problem in Iran forces it into the public arena. Under the UNODC’s narcotics assistance projects, the Iranian government spent more than $68 million in the first year of project implementation for demand reduction and community awareness. The Prevention Department of Iran’s Social Welfare Association says that it treated 438,341 drug addicts in 2007, and reports that more than 4 million syringes were distributed in the first nine months of 2007. The ability to deliver treatment on this scale represented a significant success, as addicts admitted for treatment in 2007 were up 40 times from just five years earlier in 2002, according to official treatment statistics. Narcotics Anonymous and other self-help programs can be found in almost all districts, and several other NGOs, which focus on drug demand reduction are active in Iran. There are now methadone treatment and HIV prevention programs in Iran as well, in response to growing HIV infection, especially in the prison population.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The U.S. Government continues to encourage regional cooperation against narcotics trafficking. The United States has also approved licenses that allow U.S. NGOs to work on drug issues in Iran.
The Road Ahead. The Iranian Government has demonstrated sustained national political will and taken strong measures against illicit narcotics, including cooperation with the international community and costly interdiction of drugs moving into and through its territory. Iran’s actions have won the praise of such knowledgeable observers of the international effort against narcotics as UNODC Director, Antonio Maria Costa. Iran stands to be one of the major benefactors of any long-term reduction in drug production/trafficking from Afghanistan, as it is one of the biggest victims of the opium/heroin production and trafficking there now. The United States anticipates that Iran will continue to pursue policies and actions in support of efforts to combat drug production and trafficking.
Senior Iraqi Government officials acknowledge that illicit drugs enter Iraq from Iran, some to be used by Iraqis, but most are transshipped south out of Basra or north through Iraqi Kurdistan. However, officials deny that illicit narcotics are a major problem in Iraq. Indeed, faced with terrorist attacks and sectarian violence, the Government of Iraq (GOI) maintains no drug-abuse-specific statistics. The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior (MOI) has reported no known production of illicit drugs in Iraq. While the MOI, which also supervises the Border Forces, monitors narcotics-related arrests or seizures for its own internal purposes, it does not release the data to the public. Anecdotal reports from the Kurdish region note an increased, albeit nascent, use of illegal narcotics as a function of proximity to the transit route and returning Iraqi Kurds from exile in Iran with existing addictions.
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Iraqi health system is under-resourced and overwhelmed by trauma cases from violence. Given the relatively modest drug abuse problems in Iraq, the MOH has not organized special treatment options for drug abuse. There are no controls over prescription drugs and no GOI focus on illegal drug use. Smuggling or theft of chemicals of any sort is more often related to bomb-making activities, not drug manufacture or abuse. However, within the last few years, there has been a marked increase in the seizure of large quantities of methamphetamine precursors, ephedrine, and pseudoephedrine, as well as large seizures of amphetamine tablets. Money laundering is widely employed to support sectarian militias and/or terrorist groups, but is less apt to be used to launder the proceeds of narcotics sales. The availability of both chemical precursors and money laundering networks illustrate Iraq’s vulnerability to narcotics trafficking, should the security environment continue to improve. The three GOI anticorruption agencies reported no corruption cases involving narcotics. Iraq is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN)Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Iraq is not a significant producer of illicit drugs or precursor chemicals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) advisors in Iraq opined that most of Iraq is too arid to grow plants that could be used for illicit drugs. In the south, where sufficient water is available, efforts to farm marijuana instead of rice have not succeeded. Due to its geographical location near drug-producing countries (Afghanistan) and drug-consuming or transshipping countries (Iran), Iraq is a transit country for illicit drugs. Iraq’s vast desert borders and tenuous security situation make it vulnerable to illicit drug smuggling operations. However, due to numerous military checkpoints and subversive activity outside of military-controlled areas, the amount of narcotics being smuggled in and through Iraq is estimated to be low. Iraq is not a major drug-consuming country: most Iraqis would seem hard-pressed to find the cash to support a drug habit.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), in conjunction with the Department of State (DoS) Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), has begun an extensive training program for Iraqi Border Forces. This basic skills training program for Iraqi Forces includes a module on narcotics.
Law Enforcement Efforts. While Iraq lacks a coordinated national counternarcotics effort, several Iraqi police commanders have requested training from the U.S. in identifying and prosecuting narcotics traffickers. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been providing training over the last two years to Kurdish law enforcement agencies in order to improve their investigative capabilities. Several provinces have counternarcotics units and have requested funding, training and equipment for forensics laboratories to assist them in enforcing the strict counternarcotics laws. To date, the GOI does not have official statistics on arrests and convictions for narcotics-related crime The Iraqi Ministry of Justice (MOJ) reports that the vast majority of inmates confined in Iraq’s prisons are there on terrorism-related charges. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provide advisory and training assistance to Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement officials at high threat locations along Iraq’s borders. ICE and CBP also provide assistance to Iraqi Customs, Immigration, and Border Guards to help ensure their policies, procedures, and capabilities enhance Iraqi border control efforts.
The United States Government (USG) provides some assistance to help the GOI develop counternarcotics capacity. For example, State Department-INL-contracted experts assigned to MNC-I (Multi-National Corps-Iraq) conduct training for Iraqi Border Forces. DEA also provides assistance. DEA operates in a concerted region-wide manner through the Ankara Regional Office in Turkey. DEA efforts include: establishing inter-agency operational relations with Kurdish law enforcement in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to develop operational cooperation, and intelligence sharing in counternarcotics; providing investigative training to Kurdish law enforcement in order to improve their capabilities; sharing intelligence and supporting Coalition initiatives such as Multi-National Force-West(MNF-W) Joint Prosecution Exploitation Cell (JPEC); increasing efforts to develop intelligence in southeast Turkey, along the borders with Iran and Syria; assigning DEA agents to the Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF), an interagency effort headed by the FBI that works with the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. Much of the effort directed against terrorists has an obvious spin-off benefit for narcotics crime detection and even prosecution.
Corruption. While corruption is a serious problem in Iraq, Iraqi officials do not seem to engage in narcotics-related corruption. Before 2003, the GOI enforced strict prohibitions on narcotics abuse; current Iraqi cultural norms discourage recreational drug use. Consequently, current GOI officials are not viewed as encouraging or facilitating illicit production or otherwise supporting drug-trafficking. INL has provided $21 million in assistance from the fiscal year2007 supplemental budget, and an additional $6.2 million from the 2008 supplemental budget, to train Iraqi anticorruption agencies. Thus far, none of the corruption investigations undertaken have involved narcotics. Iraq 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. Iraq 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 Corruption and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), and on February 9, 2009, acceded to its Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling. An extradition treaty between Iraq and the United States is in force.
Drug Flow/Transit. Iraq is primarily a narcotics transit country. This presents many challenges for its government. The Commander of the Iraqi Drug Squad in Sulaymaniyah Province reported seeing opium, heroin, and cannabis coming over the border in mule trains, cars, and trucks operated by Iranian gangs. The drugs are moved on to Turkey, where the opium is refined into heroin then trafficked to Western Europe.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. With its current focus on antiterrorism operations, the GOI has no domestic programs to respond to the relatively few instances of narcotics-related problems. There are no prescription drug controls in Iraq. Village markets often have prescription drugs, pilfered from medical facilities, for sale in an uncontrolled atmosphere. In February 2008, the GOI, in a report provided by the National Intelligence Information Agency, within the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), summarized the drug problem in Iraq. The GOI reported that after 2003, there was a noticeable increase in the sale and consumption of illegal drugs. The GOI estimated approximately 10,000 Iraqi’s are addicted to illegal narcotics, with recent growth among the addicted population between the ages of 16-24. It identified Iran as the main immediate transit source of illegal drugs, and Maysan provinces as a primary passageway for illegal drugs. Health officials believe that Valium, a drug found in Iraqi correctional facilities and health institutions, is the drug most commonly abused by the Iraqi population. NGOs report that prescription drugs are significantly cheaper and more easily accessible than illegal drugs or even alcohol. Accordingly, there is limited street demand for illegal drugs at this time.
Drug Trafficking, the Insurgency, and Security Forces. There is some evidence that terrorists and/or violent groups use drug trafficking as a means of financing. Additionally, Coalition forces have reported that these groups use drugs to increase the risk-taking willingness of their fighters.
Amphetamine: Since 2006, there have been several seizures of significant amounts of amphetamine tablets in Iraq.
In December 2006, coalition forces seized 50,000 tablets of amphetamine.
In June 2008, coalition forces seized 595,000 tablets of amphetamine.
In July 2008 the Iraqi National Intelligence and Information Agency (INIIA) seized approximately 425,000 tablets of amphetamine.
In October 2008, coalition forces seized 125,000 tablets of amphetamine.
Regionally, Jordanian law enforcement reported seizing approximately ten million tablets a year since 2004, while Saudi Arabian authorities reported seizing approximately twenty-two million tablets from May to November 2007.
Hashish: Kuwait law enforcement has reported large quantities of hashish are being smuggled from Iran through Basra Province into Kuwait. This is corroborated by limited Iraqi intelligence reporting. Syrian law enforcement officials reported seizing approximately 125 kilograms of hashish smuggled through Iraq.
Equipment/Precursors: In the last three years there have been multiple attempts to import tablet processing equipment and large quantities of methamphetamine precursors into Iraq, notably:
In 2005 international law enforcement officials tracked the delivery of a tablet manufacturing press capable of producing 50,000 tablets per hour from Germany to Iraq.
In 2006, international law enforcement officials stopped six shipments of ephedrine to Iraq totaling 18,000 kilograms, and in 2007, stopped an additional three shipments of pseudoephedrine totaling 250,900 kilograms. In consultation with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Iraq has set its legitimate annual ephedrine/ pseudoephedrine requirement at 1,400 kilograms.
In March 2008, international law enforcement officials halted the shipment of 10,000 kilograms of pseudoephedrine to a company in Iraq.
In May 2009, DEA stopped the shipment of 17,760 kilograms of acetic anhydride from the United States to Iraq. The shipment was stopped since the legitimacy of the Iraqi importer and its requirement could not be verified.
While there has not been any indication of large scale methamphetamine production in Iraq, incidents of this nature and the large number of amphetamine tablets seized cause concern for the possibility of future production of methamphetamine or, more likely, illicit diversion of precursors to third countries.
Heroin: With the relative stability in the Kurdistan Region and its proximity to Iran and Turkey, it is highly likely that traffickers will increasingly use the region to transit heroin from Iran into Turkey.
In January 2009, 50 kilograms of heroin were discovered inside a car attempting to enter Syria, and seized at the Iraqi Rabiah port of entry (POE). The heroin had entered Iraq at the Haji Omuran POE in the Kurdistan Region and transited Dohuk and Mosul before being discovered at Rabiah.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. To assist Iraqi maritime forces to be ready to patrol, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) sent two engineering teams to provide training in the areas of logistics and administration. USCG also sent teams to provide advanced outboard motor maintenance and small boat operations training
The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to support the training of the Iraqi Army, the Iraqi Police, the anticorruption agencies, the Border Forces, and economic policy-makers in terms of agriculture and banking. The U.S. will encourage Iraq to direct more resources towards narcotics-related crime and abuse, and will assist Iraqi ministries to improve their capacity in preparation for a period when improved security permits a more typical counternarcotics enforcement.
Ireland is not a transshipment point for narcotics to the United States, nor is it a hub for drug trafficking. The ability to travel between Ireland and the U.K. document-free does pose a unique challenge for Irish law enforcement officials. According to Government of Ireland (GOI) officials, overall drug use in Ireland continues to remain steady, with the exception of cocaine use, which continues its upward trend. The overall strategic objective of the GOI’s National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 is “To continue to tackle the harm caused to individuals and society by the misuse of drugs though a concerted focus on the five pillars of supply reduction, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research”. Ireland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Ireland is not a transit point for drugs to the United States, but it is occasionally used as a transit point for narcotics trafficking to other parts of Europe, including across its land border to Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. Ireland is not a significant source of illicit narcotics, though officials have seized a large quantity of diverted precursors (Euro 500 million worth) intended to manufacture Ecstasy and amphetamines.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Following a comprehensive consultation process which took place during 2008 and early in 2009, a new National Drugs Strategy for the period 2009-2016 was developed and agreed on. As stated above, the objective of the strategy is “To continue to tackle the harm caused to individuals and society by the misuse of drugs though a concerted focus on the five pillars of supply reduction, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research”.
Throughout the consultation process for the National Drugs Strategy, the issue of problem alcohol use was highlighted. Alcohol was seen, for many, as a gateway to illicit drug use and poly-drug use, often including alcohol, and is now the norm among illicit drug users. People also had serious concerns about the high level of alcohol consumption in Ireland, the pattern of drinking, especially binge drinking, among young people and in the community generally, and the wider social harms which are associated with the misuse of alcohol. In March 2009, the GOI approved the development of a combined Substance Misuse policy to include alcohol and drugs, to facilitate a more coherent approach to the issues and consequences of alcohol and illicit drug use. Work on the development of an integrated National Substance Misuse Strategy which will incorporate the already agreed Drugs policy has commenced and is expected to be completed in 2010.
Substance abuse programs are part of every school curriculum in the country. The campaigns feature television and radio advertising and lectures by police, supported by an information brochure and website, all designed to promote greater awareness of and communication about drug issues. The Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs continues to support the work of the 14 Local Drugs Task Forces (LDTF) in Dublin, Bray, and Cork as well as the 10 Regional Drugs Task Forces (RDTF), throughout the country. Approximately €36million in current funding and €4.6million in capital funding was made available to the Department in 2009. Approximately 600 projects are funded through the task forces. Under the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund (YPFSF), further facilities and services were provided for young people at risk of becoming involved with drugs. The increased funding provided staffing and continuing costs for projects in existing areas and facilitated the expansion of the YPFSF into four new towns: Arklow, Athlone, Dundalk and Wexford. In October 2008, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) announced the transfer of the YPFSF into the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to facilitate a more coordinated approach to policies for young people at risk.
The Dial-to-Stop Drug Dealing Campaign, launched in October 2008 and continued through July 2009, have been rolled out successfully in 3 phases through 15 of the Local and Regional Drugs Task Forces. Three phases of the campaigns have been completed and nearly 5,500 calls were made to the confidential number by mid-November 2009. Calls came from across the country including areas that did not directly run a campaign. This highlights the fact that the confidential number used in the campaign is open to all to use regardless of the area one comes from. The Campaign was originally due to cease operation in September 2009, but due to the positive outcomes being achieved, the Minister for Drugs decided to continue it with further funding from the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
The 2006/2007 Drug Prevalence Survey: “Drug Use in Ireland and Northern Ireland” was published in October 2008. While overall current drug use has stabilized cocaine use has increased. There is a general consensus that heroin use has stabilized in Dublin while increasing, from a low base, in other urban centers, particularly in Leinster and in the South of the country.
The Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs coordinated the Irish input into the preparation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2009-2012. The British-Irish Council met on a number of occasions and discussed Youth Justice Systems, Drug Related Death indices and Prevention.
Accomplishments. Prosecutions increased in 2008, the majority of which were for drug possession, which has risen steadily since 2003, and accounted for 77.3 percent of the total drug offences prosecuted in 2008. The number of simple possession offences increased from 14,033 in 2007 to 18,093 in 2008.
The number of supply offences leading to a prosecution in 2007 was 2,831, representing 22.1 percent of the total number of offences prosecuted (Figures for 2008 are not yet available). Recorded headline drug offences in 2008 rose by 4,851 (26.1 percent). The largest offence type, Possession of drugs for sale or supply, increased by 800 (19.4 percent) while recorded Cultivation, manufacture or importation of drugs offences increased by 57 (35.4 percent) over the year. The Irish Police continued to cooperate closely with other national police forces. In November, Irish Police arrested three British nationals for their part in an international cocaine smuggling network following information from the British Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) and the Lisbon-based European anti drugs agency Maritime Analysis and Operations Center—Narcotics (MAOC-N), of which Ireland is a participating member.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Although official statistics are not yet available for 2009, the Irish Police confirmed that drug-related arrests fell in 2009. It is believed that this decrease is due to the fact that many drug dealers are suffering from the credit crunch and a shortage of cash in distribution. It is also likely that less drugs were imported in 2009. There are normally 7,000-8,000 arrests annually, including approximately 450 arrests made by the Garda National Drug Unit (GNDU) each year. The GNDU’s arrests tend to include most of the large seizures, but local police also have had some notable success.
Police sources said, contrary to widely-held perceptions, the value of cocaine seizures decreased in 2008, while the value of heroin seized increased. Sources said the rise in the quantity of heroin being offered for sale was directly related to large opium crops in Afghanistan.
Police sources say the increase in quantities seized and arrests made in 2008 compared to 2007 was a function of enhanced efforts rather than an increase in narcotic use.
At the invitation of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s London Country Office, the Irish Police became full members of the International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) in 2009.
On March 28, 10 kilograms of uncut heroin, valued at up to €8 million was found when armed members of the Garda National Drugs Unit and Organized Crime Unit searched a car in North Dublin. On May 1, Garda recovered 50 kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of €3.5 million, in Drogheda, County Louth. The Garda were assisted by the Garda Dog Unit, Garda National Drugs Unit, members of the Criminal Assets Bureau, and Customs and Excise officers, during a three month operation. Five people were arrested after Garda seized cocaine, valued at €1.5 million, in Dublin on July 1. On September 11, a Dutch national was arrested following a seizure of cannabis worth more than €8 million at Dublin Port. Officers from the Customs service supported by Garda seized 700 kilograms of the drug, which had been found vacuum packed in a 40ft Dutch-registered truck carrying a consignment of flowers. On September 17, joint operations by the Garda organized crime unit, Garda National Drugs Unit and Customs officials seized 1.1 tons of cannabis resin, worth €2 million in Dunboyne, County Meath. The drugs had arrived at Dublin Port on a container from Spain and were concealed under a consignment of detergents and fabric cleansers. In a separate operation on the same day, 15 kilograms of heroin, worth €2 million, was seized in County Kildare. On November 4, Garda seized 100 kilograms of cannabis (75 kilograms herbal and 25 kilograms of resin) with a value of €1 million, in a joint operation involving officers from the Customs Service and the Garda National Drug Unit, in Blessington, County Wicklow. The drugs had arrived from the Netherlands through Dublin Port concealed in a consignment of lamps and clothing. On November 28, Garda in County Carlow arrested one man following the seizure of 20 kilograms of cannabis herb and 8 kilograms of amphetamines worth an estimated €400,000. In Athlone, County Westmeath, local Garda seized 20 kilograms of cocaine, with an approximate value of €1.4 million, and five kilograms of cannabis resin with an approximate value of €60,000, on November 29.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the GOI does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There are also no known reports of senior officials of the government engaging in, encouraging, or facilitating the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Ireland is a party to the 1998 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Ireland has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption. An extradition treaty and mutual legal assistance treaty are in force between the United States and Ireland. 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/Production. Only small amounts of cannabis are cultivated in Ireland. There is no evidence that synthetic drugs were produced domestically this year.
Drug Flow/Transit. Among drug abusers in Ireland, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines, Ecstasy (MDMA), and heroin are the drugs of choice. A Council of Europe report on organized crime, published in January 2005, reported that Ireland had the highest rate of Ecstasy and amphetamine use in Europe and the second highest rate of cocaine abuse. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report 2008, published in June, placed Ireland in joint fifth place (out of 32 European countries) for cocaine use and in joint sixth place for Ecstasy use. South American cocaine, available in Ireland, comes primarily from Colombia and other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy, and cannabis are often hidden in cars in either Spain or the Netherlands, and then driven into Ireland, by gang members posing as tourists, for distribution around the country. This distribution network is controlled by 6 to 12 Irish criminal gangs based in Spain and the Netherlands. Herbal cannabis is primarily imported from South Africa.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Irish Demand Reduction Strategy mandates that each area Health Board have in place a number of treatment and rehabilitation options. In January 2005, the ten health boards were replaced by a single entity, the Health Service Executive (HSE), which manages Ireland’s public health sector. Since September 2005, health care is now provided through four HSE regions and 32 local health offices. For heroin addicts, there are 71 methadone treatment locations. The treatment centers treat 9,000 of Ireland’s approximately 15,000 heroin addicts, 13,000 of whom live in Dublin. A total of 1,612 individual prisoners received methadone in Irish prisons, accounting for about 10 percent of the total population sent to prison in 2007.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. In 2009, the United States continued legal and policy cooperation with the GOI, and benefited from Irish cooperation with U.S. law enforcement agencies such as the DEA. In addition, based on a recent MOU between DHS-ICE and DEA, DHS-ICE has begun to develop its investigative coordination role and intelligence sharing capabilities with Irish law enforcement counterparts. Information sharing between U.S. and Irish officials continued to strengthen law enforcement ties between the countries.
The Road Ahead. U.S. support for Ireland’s counternarcotics program, along with U.S. and Irish cooperative efforts, continues to work to prevent Ireland from becoming a transit point for narcotics trafficking to the United States.
Israel is not a significant producer of or trafficking point for illicit narcotics. However, domestic demand fuels a diverse local drug market that relies on smuggling from both neighboring and more distant countries. Imported marijuana, hashish, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, and LSD are all prevalent, as are a growing number of domestically produced “designer” drugs and higher-quality hydroponically-grown marijuana. Israeli officials noted with concern that some “designer” drugs are being marketed and exported to the U.S., Europe, and Australasia via the internet. Israel has also become a transit country for the smuggling of heroin from Jordan to Egypt in exchange for money or hashish. Unlike the U.S., Israel does not have an analog drug law, i.e., a drug law which outlaws classes of illicit drugs, precluding minor chemical changes to an illicit drug producing “designer” drug, which escapes the intent of dangerous drug control. This has facilitated the phenomenon of “pitzutziot,” or, 24-hour convenience stores, selling “designer” drugs—only some of which are specifically prohibited by existing ordinances. Oftentimes, these stores also sell illicit narcotics, surreptitiously, large quantities of common household products used as inhalants, such as glue, and alcohol. They operate near popular clubs and bars. Israel is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Over the past year, Israeli authorities noticed that many segments of the population moved away from abusing traditional illicit narcotics. Instead, the abuse of “designer” drugs—many of which are manufactured to fall within the bounds of technically “legal highs” due to their chemical composition—and counterfeit pharmaceutical prescriptions became more common. Officials seized several large quantities of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) diverted for use in the manufacture of illicit narcotics and “designer” drugs over the past year. These included Paracetamol (used to dilute heroin), Mannitol (a sugar used as an adulterant or cutting agent in various illicit narcotics), pseudoephedrine, cathinone, amphetamines, as well as large quantities of empty pill capsules found in make-shift drug laboratories. Israel has no law requiring pharmaceutical machinery to be registered, which facilitates its use in the manufacture of illicit narcotics.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Since Israel is not a major drug cultivation or manufacturing country, most enforcement efforts were targeted to counter illicit drug trafficking, supply and the small-scale manufacture and use of new “designer” drugs. The Israeli National Police (INP) continued its general policy of interdiction at Israel’s borders and ports of entry.
Israel focused legislative measures to promote the rapid inclusion of new substances into its Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. Over the past year, almost 50 new substances were added. This year’s additions set a new precedent since some of the substances have not yet been detected in Israel, nor determined in practice to be dangerous. Instead these substances were assumed to be dangerous due to their chemical composition, close to an existing dangerous drug. A recent amendment to this Ordinance forbids the manufacturing, importing, exporting, displaying, possessing or selling, without permission, of any drug-related paraphernalia.
Israel also recognized the dangers inherent in the diversion of precursors and substances used in the manufacture of illicit narcotics. To prevent and control the diversion of precursors, a competent national authority was appointed, national legislation requiring permits for import and export of precursors is now being enforced, and good cooperation exists with the industrial sector to prevent diversion.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The police concentrated their efforts on interdicting smuggling from both neighboring and overseas countries. Marijuana and hashish remain the most common drugs smuggled into Israel. The 230-KM peaceful border with Egypt makes it an attractive entry point for smuggling. The Egyptian border has become the main hashish entry point in the country with Moroccan and Afghan hashish finding their way into the Israeli market by this route. In the first three-quarters of 2009, INP seized 930 kilograms of hashish and 186 kilograms of marijuana along the Egyptian border.
In the past year, Israeli law enforcement officials opened 31,419 total drug offence files—a 7.1 percent increase from the previous year. Around three-quarters of these cases (23,259) were for drug use (a 9.5 percent increase on the previous year). There were 4,532 trafficking cases—a 38.3 percent increase, demonstrating the Israeli National Police’s focus on trafficking offenses. Cultivation and production cases (206) fell by 38.5 percent. There was no significant change in possession cases (5,849).
Law enforcement officials engaged in a special initiative to combat the sale of “designer drugs” sold in 24-hour convenience stores, or “pitzutziot.” Israeli police and customs officials conducted over 30 raids on such kiosks this year, with seizures up to 5,000 capsules. The Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit, in coordination with the police, also executed three major raids on capsule producers and suppliers, seizing over one million empty capsules. However, the lack of an analog drug law or law requiring the registration of pharmaceutical processing machinery continues to cause complications for law enforcement. Customs, Police and Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit (PCU) officials also worked together to intercept and investigate shipments of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) diverted for use in the production of illicit narcotics.
Police and customs officials increased efforts to combat the importation of “Yaba” (a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine) from Thailand and Laos, as well as to suppress its use among the local Thai ex-pat population. They conducted over 40 seizures in the second half of 2009.
Operation North Star, a joint effort among local and national police authorities and international partners, broke up cocaine smuggling ring operating from Panama to Israel and Europe. In all, over 100 kilograms of cocaine were seized during this operation.
Police also broke up a major ring of narcotic addicts and psychiatrists in the major cities that was stealing and forging Ritalin prescriptions. Police documented over 100 incidents of counterfeit Ritalin prescriptions. Efforts are also underway to interdict the smuggling of anabolic steroids, another chief concern.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Israel does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Corruption is treated as a serious matter by the government. In 2009, a number of public officials, including a former prime minister, were under investigation for corruption-related offenses. Israel does not have specific legislation for public corruption related to narcotics, but narcotics-related corruption is covered under its generic anticorruption legislation. Israel ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in February 2009.
Agreements and Treaties. Israel is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Israel and the U.S. have a customs mutual assistance agreement and a mutual legal assistance treaty. Israel ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in December 2006 and has been a member of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) since 2003. Israeli companies participate in UN operations Topaz and Purple to avoid the diversion of precursor chemical substances. Israel is one of 36 parties to the COE (Council of Europe) European Treaty on Extradition and has separate extradition treaties with several other countries, including the U.S. Under the umbrella of the UNODC, Israel has restarted bilateral cooperation with the Palestinian Authority on reducing demand and supply of narcotics. Israel also cooperates on a regular basis with the Anti-Narcotics Department in Jordan. This has resulted in increasingly effective control of the Israel-Jordan border area, as reflected in interdiction figures.
In 2007, a new Protocol to the Convention on Extradition between the United States and Israel entered into force. Significantly updating the 1962 convention, the Protocol replaces the outdated list of extraditable offenses with a modern dual criminality approach and permits temporary surrender for trial in the requesting state of fugitives serving a prison sentence in the requested state. In combination with Israeli domestic extradition law, the Protocol also provides for service of a U.S. sentence in Israel for fugitives determined to be Israeli citizens and residents at the time of the commission of the offenses. Israeli domestic statute of limitations in certain circumstances, however, may prohibit extradition of fugitives whose cases are more than ten years old.
This year, Israel was accepted as a member of the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC), which consists of 15 member countries from around the world, including the United States. In 2010, Israel will host the annual PFIPC Conference.
Cultivation/Production. The majority of illicit narcotics consumed in Israel are produced elsewhere. A small amount of high-quality hydroponic marijuana (“hydro”) is grown domestically.
Drug Flow/Transit. The Israeli National Police (INP) believes that Israel has become a transit country for the smuggling of heroin from Jordan to Egypt in return for money or hashish. Routes used to smuggle weaponry, people and tobacco are also utilized for drug smuggling. Much of the smuggling is carried out by Israeli Bedouin drug smugglers who have connections with Egyptian cultivators. In 2009, the INP seized over 150 kilograms of heroin along the Jordanian border and 36.5 kilograms of heroin along the Egyptian border.
The diversion of precursor chemicals to the production of illicit drugs and production of “designer” drugs is becoming increasingly prevalent in Israel. The Pharmaceutical Crime Unit (PCU) reports that some of these drugs have been marketed and exported to the U.S., Europe, and Australasia via the internet. Israeli officials have noted the establishment of an entire network whereby precursor chemicals are smuggled into or diverted once in Israel, immediately used to produce various “designer” drugs, which are in turn shipped for sale in kiosks domestically and small quantities for export. Law enforcement intelligence shows that these domestic drug manufacturing and distribution networks are functioning extremely effectively so as to not keep large quantities of any finished product in any one place.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Israel Anti-Drug Authority (IADA) is the primary agency responsible for designing and implementing domestic programs to reduce the demand for drugs. National efforts to counter the abuse of illicit drugs focus on cultural and gender sensitive policies aimed to prevent drug use among the general, target and high-risk populations. Treatment and rehabilitation of drug abuse victims and their families is a key goal. Israel offers myriad treatment methods, ranging from drug detoxification, therapeutic communities, drug substitution and needle exchange programs, with the overall aim to provide unique solutions for different individuals and minimize the adverse consequences of drug abuse on society. Credible and accurate information on the harmful consequences of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) is provided to the public as part of general national public awareness campaigns. The IADA stresses the importance of community-wide participatory approach to countering drug abuse, and has developed regional and local programs addressing the unique needs of each community. An amendment to Israel’s Municipality Law has made it compulsory for local municipalities to establish treatment services for drug abuse victims, and to offer education and prevention activities in their jurisdiction, as well as establish local committees for combating drugs. In the last year, IADA has worked intensively on the issue of alcohol, especially as it relates to drug abuse.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. There is robust collaboration between Israel and the United States on illicit narcotics. The DEA Country Office in Nicosia, Cyprus and Israeli officials characterize their cooperation as outstanding. The Israeli Tax Authority also maintains direct cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in Rome, and continues to conduct joint antismuggling operations. There is a monthly bilateral exchange on major drug seizures in both countries. The Pharmaceutical Crime Unit also works directly with the DEA.
The Road Ahead. Officials from both the Israeli and U.S. government wish to continue strengthening an already excellent partnership in the area of illicit drug enforcement and rehabilitation efforts. The DEA Country Office in Nicosia, Cyprus will continue its cooperation and coordination with counterparts in the Israeli law enforcement community. The Israeli National Police continues to strengthen relationships with law enforcement agencies in other countries, and works through the Office of International Relations within the IADA to pursue this objective. The IADA has begun to establish relationships with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the U.S. The Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit hopes to engage with U.S. governmental and private researchers on the effects of several “designer” drugs made with Cathinone and amphetamine derivates as it prepares for an Israeli analog drug law. The Israeli Tax Authority would like to bolster collaboration with the U.S. on investigations of narcotics smuggling.
Italy is a consumer country and a major transit point for heroin transiting from the Middle East and Southwest Asia through the Balkans and for cocaine originating from South America en route to western and central Europe. Italian and Italy-based foreign organized crime groups are heavily involved in international drug trafficking. The Government of Italy (GOI) is firmly committed to the fight against drug trafficking domestically and internationally. The Berlusconi government continues Italy’s strong counternarcotics stand with capable Italian law enforcement agencies. GOI cooperation with U.S. law enforcement agencies continues to be exemplary. Italy is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Italy is mainly a narcotics transit and consumption country. Law enforcement officials focus their efforts on heroin, cocaine, hashish and synthetic drugs. Although Italy produces some precursor chemicals, they are well controlled in accordance with international norms and are not known to have been diverted to any significant extent. Law enforcement agencies with a counternarcotics mandate are effective.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Italy continues to combat narcotics aggressively and effectively. In 2006, Italy adopted a tough new drug law that eliminates distinctions between hard and soft drugs, increases penalties for those convicted of trafficking and establishes administrative penalties for lesser offenses. All forms of possession and trafficking are illegal, but punishment depends on the severity of the infraction. Stiff penalties for those convicted of trafficking or possessing drugs include jail sentences from six to 20 years and fines of over $300,000. The law provides alternatives to jail time for minor infractions, including drug therapy, community service hours, and house arrest.
Italy has contributed an average of $12 million to UNODC, over the last several years, making it one of the largest donors to the UNODC budget. However, recent budget cuts will reduce future contributions. Italy has supported key U.S. objectives at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), and chairs the Dublin Group of countries coordinating narcotics sector assistance projects for Central Asia.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The fight against drugs is a major priority for the National Police, Carabinieri, and Guardia di Finanza (GdF) counternarcotics units. The Italian Central Directorate for Anti-Drug Services (DCSA) coordinates the counternarcotics units of the three national police services and directs liaison activities with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other foreign law enforcement agencies. DCSA has 22 drug liaison officers in 20 countries (including the U.S.) that focus on major traffickers and their organizations. In 2006, DCSA stationed liaison officers in Tehran, Iran and Tashkent, Uzbekistan; in 2007 they added liaison officers in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Islamabad, Pakistan.
Investigations of international narcotics organizations often overlap with the investigations of Italy’s traditional organized crime groups (e.g., the Sicilian Mafia, the Calabrian N’drangheta, and the Naples-based Camorra). Additional narcotics trafficking groups include West African, Albanian, and other Balkan organized crime groups responsible for smuggling heroin and cocaine into Italy. In 2009, Italian drug investigations revealed that Serbian groups have begun importing large quantities of cocaine (100-kilogram shipments or greater) into Italy. Colombian, Dominican, and other Latin American trafficking groups are also involved in the importation of cocaine. Italian law enforcement officials employ the same narcotics investigation techniques used by other western countries. Adequate financial resources, money laundering laws, and asset seizure/forfeiture laws help ensure the effectiveness of these efforts.
From January 1 to June 30, 2009, Italian authorities seized 2,473 kilograms of cocaine; 690 kilograms of heroin; 10,264 kilograms of hashish; 2,272 kilograms of marijuana; 27,400 marijuana plants; and 52,958 doses of synthetic drugs. The single largest drug seizures during the same period were: January 2009—28,700 tablets of Ecstasy in Turin; April 2009—180 kilograms of heroin in Milan; April 2009—723 kilograms of marijuana in Ancona; May 2009—2,010 kilograms of hashish in Naples; June 2009—400 kilograms of cocaine in Padua. Also during this period, 14,412 individuals were arrested in Italy on drug-related charges, 1,721 of which were arrested for the more serious drug trafficking / conspiracy violations. 64 percent of those arrested were Italian nationals, while the remaining 36 percent of the arrestees were primarily Moroccan, Tunisian, Albanian and Nigerian nationals.
The DEA Rome Office is coordinating a container flow analysis between Italy and Ecuador at the request of law enforcement authorities in both countries as a result of significant numbers of cocaine seizures in recent months on shipments to Italy originating in Ecuador, including a 400 kilogram cocaine seizure in June 2009 in Padua and another 200 kilograms of cocaine seized at the Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro in October 2009.
Between May and June 2009, the DEA Rome office coordinated multilateral assistance with the Italian Guardia di Finanza in an investigation into a Rome-based Italian organized crime group responsible for the importation of significant quantities of cocaine into Europe utilizing Colombian cocaine brokers resident in Europe with sources of cocaine supply in Colombia and Venezuela. This investigative effort resulted in the maritime seizure of approximately 300 kilograms of cocaine and utilized the modern and sophisticated air and sea assets available to the Guardia di Finanza.
In late 2008, the DEA Milan office and the Italian Carabinieri in Milan initiated a hashish and cocaine trafficking investigation targeting a Moroccan trafficking organization based in Milan, that was smuggling large quantities of hashish from Morocco and multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine from South America, both for distribution in northern Italy. The investigation ultimately yielded the January 2009 seizure of 1,200 kilograms of hashish from a tractor trailer in Italy. Numerous associated arrests and additional hashish, cocaine and money seizures were also conducted throughout the course of the investigation.
In 2009, Italian law enforcement agencies concluded several long-term criminal investigations targeting drug trafficking organizations operating throughout the country. Operation Red Man (Operazione Uomo Rosso) began in 2007 and targeted two West African criminal groups responsible for transporting cocaine and heroin from the Netherlands to Italy. The investigation linked the African groups to members of rival Italian Camorra (Naples-based) organized crime families and resulted in the arrest of 74 individuals and the seizure of cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Operation Como Hills (Operazione Colline Comasche) began in 2006 and targeted a large network of Albanian nationals operating in northern Italy and Tuscany. This organization was responsible for importing cocaine into Italy from the Netherlands and drug distribution throughout Europe. The investigation resulted in the seizure of cocaine and heroin and the arrest of 174 people. In June 2009, Italian police officials in Trento and Genoa concluded Operation Sutka (Operazione Sutka) with the arrest of 49 members of a predominately ethnic Romanian crime group importing cocaine from Spain. Over the course of this two-year investigation, Italian law enforcement seized 36 kilograms of cocaine and 60 kilograms of marijuana.
From 2008 to 2009, the DEA Rome office, in conjunction with Italian law enforcement officials and numerous other DEA domestic and foreign offices, participated in a multinational and multi-jurisdictional enforcement action—dubbed Operation Reckoning—which targeted a significant element of the Mexican based “Gulf Cartel” responsible for importing multi-ton quantities of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana from Mexico for distribution in the U.S. and elsewhere, including Italy. The joint DEA and Italian Carabinieri investigation targeted ‘Ndrangheta organized crime cells operating between Calabria, Italy and New York City as part of the overall operation. In mid-September 2008, ten other subjects were arrested in Italy and six were arrested in New York. This investigation has increased law enforcement attention and focus on drug trafficking links between Italy and Mexico.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Italy does not encourage or facilitate the illicit distribution of narcotics or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The USG has no information that any senior official of the Government of Italy engages in, encourages, or facilitates the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Corruption exists in Italy although in the area of counternarcotics it rarely rises to the national level and it does not compromise investigations. When a corrupt law enforcement officer is discovered, authorities take appropriate action.
Agreements and Treaties. Italy is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol, as well as the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Italy is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in October 2009. Italy has bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties with the U.S. In addition, all 27 EU member states, including Italy, 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 protocol with Italy and they will enter into force on February 1, 2010. Cultivation /Production. There is no known large-scale cultivation of narcotic plants in Italy, although small-scale marijuana production in remote areas does exist mainly for domestic consumption. No heroin laboratories or processing sites have been discovered in Italy since 1992. However, opium poppy grows naturally in the southern part of Italy, including Sicily. It is not commercially viable due to the low alkaloid content. No MDMA-Ecstasy laboratories have been found in Italy.
Drug Flow/Transit. Italy is a consumer country and a major transit point for heroin coming from southwest Asia through the Balkans en route to western and central Europe. A large percentage of all heroin seized in Italy is shipped from Turkey through overland routes in Balkan countries. Balkan heroin traffickers work with Italian criminal organizations as transporters and suppliers of drugs. Heroin is smuggled into Italy via automobiles, ferryboats and commercial cargo. Italy maintains liaison offices in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey to assist counterparts in interdicting narcotics originating there and destined for Italy.
Almost all cocaine found in Italy originates with Colombian and other South American criminal groups and is managed in Italy by Calabria and Campania-based organized crime groups. Multi-hundred kilogram shipments enter Italy via seaports concealed in commercial cargo. Although the traditional Atlantic trafficking route is still in use, stepped-up international scrutiny and cooperation are forcing traffickers to use alternative avenues. In 2009, Italian drug investigations have identified increased activity by Serbian criminal groups involved in the importation of large amounts of cocaine.
Italian officials have detected traffickers using transit ports in West Africa where drugs are off-loaded to smaller fishing vessels that ultimately reach Spain and other Mediterranean destinations. Cocaine shipments off-loaded in Spain, the Netherlands and the Balkan Region are eventually transported to Italy and other European countries by land vehicles. Smaller amounts of cocaine (usually concealed in luggage) enter Italy via express parcels or airline couriers traveling from South America.
Ecstasy found in Italy primarily originates in the Netherlands and is usually smuggled into the country by couriers utilizing commercial airlines, trains or land vehicles. The couriers originating in Amsterdam often conceal thousands of Ecstasy tablets in luggage and travel by train or airline to Italy. The EU’s open borders make this journey somewhat less risky.
Hashish comes predominately from Morocco through Spain, entering the Iberian Peninsula (and the rest of Europe) via sea access points using fast boats. As with cocaine, larger hashish shipments are smuggled into Spain and eventually transported to Italy by vehicle. Hashish is also smuggled into Italy on fishing and pleasure boats from Lebanon.
Catha Edulus (aka Khat) is a shrub grown in the southern part of Arabia and Eastern Africa, primarily in the countries of Yemen, Somalia, and Ethiopia. The leaves of this plant contain the alkaloids cathine and cathinone (chewed for stimulant effects), which are controlled substances in Italy and the U.S. Italy is one of several European countries used by East African trafficking organizations for the transshipment of khat to major urban areas across the U.S. These organizations primarily use international parcel delivery systems and airline passenger luggage to transport multi-kilogram to multi-hundred kilogram quantities of khat. Italian law enforcement officials continue to cooperate with DEA in joint investigations targeting these groups in Italy and the U.S.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The GOI promotes drug prevention programs using abstinence messages and treatment aimed at the full rehabilitation of drug addicts. The Italian Ministry of Health funds 555 public health offices operated at the regional level; the Ministry of Interior identified 726 residential, 210 semi-residential facilities, and 188 walk-in facilities. Of about 500,000 estimated drug addicts and 385,000 estimated eligible for treatment in Italy, 174,000 receive services at public agencies. About 71 percent of the total used heroin. Others either are not receiving treatment or arrange for treatment privately. The government continues to promote more responsible use of methadone at the public treatment facilities. Regional and local governments spent about 32 million Euro for drug prevention programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. and Italy continue to enjoy exemplary counternarcotics cooperation. In January 2007, the Italian Central Directorate for Anti-Drug Services (DCSA) hosted a working group conference of law enforcement counterparts from Europe and Africa as part of the DEA’s annual International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC). At the July 2008 IDEC, the Director of DCSA met with DEA’s Acting Administrator in furtherance of bilateral cooperation and operations. DEA and DCSA personnel continue to conduct intelligence-sharing and coordinate joint criminal investigations on a daily basis. Based on the October 1997 International Conference on Multilateral Reporting in Lisbon, Portugal, the DEA Headquarters Chemical Section and DCSA continue to exchange pre-shipment notifications for dual-use drug precursor chemicals. (Note: Italy has not been identified as a significant international producer or distributor of methamphetamine precursor chemicals.)
In June 2008, the Italian ‘Ndrangheta Organized Crime group was added to the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) Foreign Drug Kingpin list after close coordination between American and Italian counterparts. The designation is aimed at reducing the ability of ‘Ndrangheta members to use the U.S. and international banking systems in furtherance of their drug trafficking operations. The GOI’s stated intention to enforce the provision is an indication of the Italian government’s commitment to target and dismantle ‘Ndrangheta’s financial infrastructure. During 2009, DEA continued the Drug Sample Program with the GOI, which consists of the analysis of seized narcotics to determine purity, cutting agents, and source countries. From October 2008 to September 2009, DEA received approximately 65 samples of heroin, cocaine, and Ecstasy. The sample collection from Italy and other Balkan countries is essential in determining production methods and trafficking trends that ultimately impact Italy. DEA conducted drug awareness programs at international schools in Rome and Milan. DEA also provided training to Italian counterparts on asset forfeiture and drug law enforcement operations. Members from the Italian Coast Guard attended U.S. Coast Guard port security training, with a focus on antiterrorism prevention.
The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to work closely with Italian officials to break up trafficking networks into and through Italy as well as to enhance both countries’ ability to apply effective demand reduction policies. The USG will also continue to work with Italy in multilateral settings such as the Dublin Group of countries that coordinate counternarcotics and UNODC policies.
Jamaica remains the Caribbean’s largest source of marijuana for the United States. It is also a transit point for cocaine trafficked from South America. While cooperation between Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and U.S. Government (USG) law enforcement agencies remained strong, delays in proceeding with the significant extradition request for a major alleged narcotics and firearms trafficker who is reported to have ties to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, and subsequent delays in other extradition requests, have called into question Kingston’s commitment to law enforcement cooperation with the U.S. The GOJ’s ambitious anticorruption and anticrime legislative agendas announced in 2007 remain stalled in parliament. Five anticrime proposals under consideration as part of an extensive agenda to address the widespread crime challenges have yet to be debated by Parliament. Jamaica is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Porous sea and air ports serve as direct export locations of marijuana and cocaine to the United States. Jamaican law stipulates that consumption of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana are illegal, with marijuana being the most frequently abused. The possession and use of MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or Ecstasy) is controlled by Jamaica’s Food and Drug Act and is currently subject to light, non-criminal penalties. Jamaica’s murder rate per capita reached 1,672 in 2009 making it one of the highest in the world. The difficult economic situation has spawned a significant increase in aggravated crime such as larceny, robbery, and rape. This, in turn, has placed a national spotlight on increasingly brazen criminal activity throughout the country which continues to threaten civil society. A particular focus of concern has been the increasing activity of organized crime, which permeates both the legitimate business sector as well as the political sector. The “guns for ganja” trade exacerbates the problem as undocumented handguns continue to flow freely into the country. Recent assessments indicate that approximately 70 percent of the illegal firearms entering Jamaica originated from the U.S.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The Ministry of National Security (MNS) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) held a two-day high level forum to discuss organized crime and its impact on Jamaica’s political and economic stability. The MNS outlined an ambitious set of legislative proposals which included tackling the drugs for guns trade, lottery scams, extortion, and the trafficking of drugs and people. These proposals are currently being reviewed at the Cabinet level with the hopes of being presented to Parliament for ratification. Efforts to reform the police force, as mandated by the GOJ-approved Police Strategic Review in 2007, have yet to yield significant results in a law enforcement system that is plagued by corruption and inefficiencies.
The GOJ took steps to ensure greater accountability in the implementation of the anti-money laundering provisions of the Financial Investigative Division Act enacted in late 2008. Procedural training was provided to judges, prosecutors, and investigators on how to apply the new legislation with further training exercises planned for the next two years. A Code of Practice for investigators has been developed to guide officials in the execution of their powers and is expected to be sent to Parliament. The Bank of Jamaica and the Financial Services Commission regulate compliance with the Proceeds of Crime Act of 2007 by financial sector institutions. As a result of enforcement efforts, 31 persons were charged with money laundering; $86 million (Jamaican Dollars) in property seized; $3 million (U.S. Dollars) seized; and $1,335,724 (U.S. Dollars) forfeited.
Jamaica is not in full compliance with the Egmont Group requirements. The Financial Action Task Force has deemed that Jamaica has complied fully with three of the recommendations, is largely compliant in twenty-seven areas, partially compliant in thirteen, and non-compliant in five areas.
Pervasive corruption at Kingston’s container and bulk terminals continues to undermine the USG Container Security and MegaPorts (CSI) initiatives team’s activities. In an effort to combat corruption, the Commissioner of Jamaican Customs Department has taken measures to crack down on importers who evade customs duties and to dismiss staff complicit in criminal activity.
Accomplishments. Drug-related arrests were relatively stagnant at 6,346 arrests for 2009. Drug seizure levels showed a dramatic decrease with approximately 9 metric tons of marijuana seized compared to nearly 32 metric tons in 2008. The GOJ seized 222 kilograms of cocaine, 2,785 Ecstasy tablets and 3.2 metric tons of hashish.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Two years after the strategic review of the police force, the GOJ has yet to implement the necessary recommended reforms. The slow paced, along with the increasing rate of aggravated crime compelled the Jamaican Executive Office (JEO), MNS, and the Police Services Commission (PSC) to assess the overall effectiveness of Police Commissioner Lewin’s leadership. Shortly after a public statement of no confidence was announced by the Prime Minister, Commissioner Lewin tendered his resignation and left office on November 6, 2009. He provided few details for his resignation but stated that there were numerous problems that he encountered with the authorities that conflicted with the macro management of law and order in Jamaica. The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) senior official, Owen Ellington was appointed Acting Police Commissioner until the PSC formally appoints a permanent replacement in January 2010. While he has taken a strong public stance to eliminate corruption, he could face, as his predecessor did, internal, judicial and political roadblocks that hinder efforts to reform the police. In the past, these battles have paralyzed the Commissioner’s authority and ability to affect change on the force. If this continues, Commissioner Ellington’s fate could be similar to the previous three Police Commissioners who, despite the best of intentions, could not secure the necessary legislative support and political will to underscore their reform efforts at a time when murder and other violent crimes threaten to overwhelm the country.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Attaché office in Kingston currently supports a 41-person JCF Vetted Unit with investigative responsibility over violations of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), weapons smuggling, human trafficking, human smuggling, money laundering, and fraud investigations. Much of the unit’s investigative efforts have been focused primarily on investigating lottery scam cases under the auspices of the Jamaican Operations Linked to Telemarketing (JOLT) Task Force. The task force was established to combat the overwhelming amount of fraudulent monetary schemes perpetrated on United States citizens. Since inception of JOLT in May 2009, the task force has yielded 60 arrests, seized $283,460 (Jamaican Dollars), repatriated $251,892.00 (U.S. Dollars) back to victims in the United States, and contributed to the opening of approximately 140 domestic ICE cases.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, GOJ does not facilitate or encourage illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, pervasive public corruption continues to undermine efforts against drug-related and other crimes, and plays a major role in the safe passage of drugs and drug proceeds through Jamaica. For the first time, corruption ranked first to crime and violence as the area of greatest concern for Jamaicans. It remains the major barrier to improving counternarcotics efforts. Indeed, Jamaica’s delay in processing the U.S. extradition request for a major suspected drug and firearms trafficker with reported ties to the ruling party highlights the potential depth of corruption in the government. The Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) investigates any report of corruption, and takes swift disciplinary action when warranted in furtherance of its zero tolerance policy. Unfortunately, a bill creating an Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor remains stuck in Parliament despite having the requisite legislative majority needed for passage. There has not been legislative action to create a National Anti-corruption Agency (NIIA), which could satisfy the Inter-American Convention against Corruption’s requirements. However, the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), headed by an internationally recruited police officer, continues to have success in identifying and removing corrupt officials which included the dismissal of 59 JCF personnel since March 2009. The Branch’s number one task is to target high-level officers responsible for corruption. The GOJ now requires senior police officers to sign employment contracts to improve accountability and facilitate the speedy dismissal of corrupt police officers.
Agreements and Treaties. Jamaica and the U.S. have a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in place, which assists in evidence sharing. The U.S. and Jamaica have a reciprocal asset sharing agreement, and a bilateral law enforcement agreement governing cooperation on stopping the flow of illegal drugs by maritime means. Jamaica is a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. The GOJ signed, but has not ratified, the Caribbean Regional Maritime Counterdrug Agreement. Jamaica is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Jamaica is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols, as well as the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.
Until August 2009, the extradition treaty between the USG and the GOJ had been actively and successfully used by the United States to extradite suspected criminals from Jamaica. Extradition requests were routinely and timely processed by Jamaican political and judicial authorities. The GOJ’s unusual handling of the August request for the extradition of a high profile Jamaican crime lord with reported ties to the ruling Jamaica Labor Party, which currently holds a majority in parliament, on alleged drug and firearms trafficking charges marked a dramatic change in GOJ’s previous cooperation on extradition, including a temporary suspension in the processing of all other pending requests and raises serious questions about the GOJ’s commitment to combating transnational crime. The high profile suspect resides in and essentially controls the Kingston neighborhood known as Tivoli Gardens, a key constituency for the Jamaica Labour Party. Jamaica’s processing of the extradition request has been subjected to unprecedented delays, unexplained disclosure of law enforcement information to the press, and unfounded allegations questioning U.S. compliance with the MLAT and Jamaican law.
Cultivation/Production. Natural environmental barriers such as swamps, marshes and mountainous terrains make it difficult to conduct marijuana crop surveys. Marijuana is grown in areas generally inaccessible to vehicular traffic on small plots in both rocky terrain and along the tributaries of the Black River in Saint Elizabeth. Eradication of marijuana decreased this year, with 254.9 hectares eliminated compared with 423 hectares eliminated in 2008. Much of this is due to fiscal constraints within the JDF. Jamaican law also prohibits the use of herbicides; therefore only manual eradication is conducted.
The manufacture, sale, transport, and possession of Ecstasy, methamphetamine, or the precursor chemicals used to produce them remains regulated by civil and administrative rather than criminal authorities. Jamaica is not a producer of precursor chemicals or other chemical substances, and therefore relies on the export countries to conform to international standards governing export verification. Jamaica does not import the prime components used in combination with diverted chemical substances for the production of synthetic drugs. Furthermore, the importation and sale of pharmaceutical products and chemical substances are regulated, and reinforced with fines or imprisonment. Additionally, other controls exist to monitor the usage of pharmaceutical products and chemical substances, including register controls, inspections and audits.
Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine smugglers continued to use maritime containers, couriers, checked luggage, and bulk commercial shipments to move cocaine through Jamaica to the United States. There was a noticeable increase by law enforcement in detection of liquid cocaine secreted into consumer goods and luggage. Marijuana traffickers continue to barter for cocaine and illegal weapons. While Operation Kingfish, a multinational a multinational taskforce (GOJ, U.S., United Kingdom and Canada) to target high profile organized crime gangs, continued to successfully operate, it has not been able to exclusively focus on high powered leaders of criminal gangs. This is due to the fact that these leaders are afforded community and, in some cases, police and political protection. Additionally, their activity is often linked with legitimate business holdings.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Jamaica has several demand reduction programs, including the Ministry of Health’s National Council on Drug Abuse. U.S. funding supported the provision of books and teaching staff to an inner-city after school program. The GOJ operates five treatment centers through the Ministry of Health. The GOJ/Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) university-level certificate program in drug addiction and drug prevention remains active. The United Nations Office Drug Control (UNODC) works directly with the GOJ and NGOs on demand reduction; however, due to limited resources these programs have limited impact.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG supports counternarcotics projects in Jamaica designed to increase the capacity of its law enforcement agencies to reduce the trafficking of illicit narcotics through Jamaica and sustain improvements in law enforcement capabilities through modernization and professionalization of the JCF, while maintaining a strong and corruption-free law enforcement institution. The pressures of narcotics trafficking, money laundering, corruption and crime undermine the rule of law and democratic governance. Supporting Jamaica’s transformation into a more secure, democratic, prosperous and stable partner represents a major U.S. policy goal. This included enhancing the abilities of Jamaica’s law enforcement agencies to detect and intercept shipments and detain traffickers.
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, the USG provided training and material support to elements of the JCF and JDF to strengthen their counternarcotics, and anticorruption capabilities and improve the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of organized crime, including assisting the GOJ with vetting of specialized units within the JCF. The Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team (JFAT) received specialized training, equipment, guidance and operational support from the U.S. Marshals permanently stationed in Kingston. The U.S. Marshals opened 71 new cases and closed 198 cases involving U.S. fugitives. Jamaican authorities made 14 arrests, 15 extraditions and eight deportations during the year.
The JDF Coast Guard participated in joint deployments with the USG in Jamaican waters during 2009 under the auspices of “Operation Riptide,” which allow both nations to conduct law enforcement operations within each other’s maritime zones and is authorized under the Joint Jamaica-United States Maritime Cooperation Agreement Concerning Cooperation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime Trafficking. In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard provided JDF Coast Guard resident, mobile and on –the-job training in maritime law enforcement, engineering and maintenance, search and rescue, port security, and leadership and management, while a three phase training exercise was conducted which covered land navigation, port security, and search and rescue boat maintenance and repair and leadership principles.
Multilateral Cooperation. While multi-nationals (United States, United Kingdom and Canada) continue to provide assistance to the GOJ for the implementation of 124 recommendations cited in the Police Strategic Review, a parallel strategy to enhance judicial operations has gained support from all partners The priority to assist the Anti-Corruption Branch with tackling corruption among senior police officers while, in tandem, strengthening the judiciary infrastructure so it can adequately process all forms of criminality remains high. Recognizing the abysmal five percent conviction rate for murders, the U.S. sponsored a comprehensive training which focused on defining the role of the prosecutor, developing broader analytical tools, and applying their skills via mock case studies in concert with the United Kingdom Crown Prosecution Service, the United Kingdom’s High Commission and the GOJ . The Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ Narcotics Affairs Section in Kingston also brought the Governments of Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic together to define, discuss, and formulate a multilateral strategy to reduce transnational crimes in the region organized crime activity between the three countries. As a result, the GOJ and Government of Haiti were in the final stages of drafting a security agreement covering a wide range of issues including joint operations, personnel exchanges, joint training, intelligence sharing, immigration, drugs and narcotics interdiction, transnational crime and gang reduction.
A two day meeting comprising of representatives from the Jamaican, American, British and Canadian law enforcement agencies, several major international airline companies, and the Montego Bay Airport Authority took place in Montego Bay December to discuss airport operations. The purpose of the meeting was to review current airport operations, identify airport assets and challenges, determine operational gaps, develop a measurable strategic response to combat previously defined roadblocks, and enhance cooperation between international law enforcement partners, the airlines and the airport authority. Over the course of the two day meeting all objectives were met including a short list of immediately actionable items for all players. Future meetings and task force groups have been established for the purpose of resource de-confliction, information sharing and strategic planning development.
The Road Ahead. The rise of gang-led violent crime and corruption will continue to pose a significant threat to social stability in Jamaica. As trust in the government to provide peace and security wanes daily, some communities are resorting to the use of “vigilante style” law and order by forming community policing units to target criminals who threaten their families and businesses. We encourage the GOJ to enhance its collaboration with the USG, and other regional partners, to develop a comprehensive gang reduction strategy and pass legislation to criminalize participation in organized criminal gangs which is currently under review by Parliament. The GOJ is encouraged to demonstrate its political will to address corruption by successfully investigating, prosecuting, and convicting corrupt officials at all levels of government service and by the timely extradition of fugitives in accordance with the provisions of the bilateral extradition treaty, without regard to political influence or party affiliation. We encourage the GOJ to maintain the independence of the Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor, the JCF’s ACB, the Police Civilian Oversight Authority and the Financial Investigative Division, and provide them with the resources and political backing to undertake their tasks. We also encourage the GOJ to support the Commissioner of Police to implement the reform recommendations of the Ministry of National Security’s Strategic Review of the JCF to ensure a professional non-corrupt organization.
Methamphetamine and stimulant abuse remains the biggest challenge to Japanese counternarcotics efforts. Marijuana continues to become more popular and other drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy), cocaine, and heroin are available, but less prevalent. According to Japanese authorities, all illegal drugs consumed in Japan are imported from overseas, usually by Japanese or foreign organized crime syndicates. Japanese law enforcement officers are well-trained and equipped, but proactive law enforcement efforts are hindered by legal hurdles (both real and perceived) and bureaucratic obstacles. Despite these problems, Japanese authorities continue to conduct complex drug investigations both independently and in cooperation with international counterparts such as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Japan is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Japan is one of the largest markets for methamphetamine in Asia. A significant source of income for Japanese organized crime syndicates, over 80 percent of all drug arrests in Japan involve methamphetamine or Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS). MDMA (Ecstasy) is also a significant problem in Japan and MDMA abuse is increasing. Marijuana is the second most commonly used drug in Japan and is readily available. Although there is limited domestic cannabis cultivation, most marijuana available in Japan is imported. Japan is not a significant producer of narcotics. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) strictly controls some licit cultivation of opium poppies, coca plants, and cannabis for research. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the National Police Agency (NPA), there is no conclusive evidence that methamphetamine or any other synthetic drug is manufactured domestically. There is, however, some anecdotal evidence that small quantities of MDMA may be being produced in Japan. Recent seizures of liquid methamphetamine solution at some of Japan’s international airports indicate that some refining of the final product is occurring in Japan.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The Headquarters for the Promotion of Measures to Prevent Drug Abuse, which is part of the Prime Minister’s Office (Kantei), supervises the implementation of Japan’s Five-Year Drug Abuse Prevention Strategy. The “Third Five-Year Drug Abuse Prevention Strategy” was announced in August 2008 and includes measures to “strengthen coordination between administrative agencies and other organizations such as private sector groups in efforts to prevent relapse into drug abuse, among other activities; effective promotion of measures against organized crimes; and adequate countermeasures in response to illicit drug trafficking trends and other factors.”
In 2007, the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law was revised to give the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) more control over the legislation, manufacture, import and sale of “designated substances.” The revised law allows the MHLW to quickly control emerging drugs of abuse and analogs of other controlled substances. Since the revision of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law, 33 substances have been “designated” by the MHLW.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Japanese police are effective at gathering intelligence. Investigations, however, are largely reactive in nature, and normally only disrupt drug operations at lower levels, that of couriers and street dealers. Prosecutors do not have the plea-bargaining tools to motivate the assistance of co-defendants and co-conspirators in furthering investigations. Japan does not have laws explicitly permitting the proactive use of informants, undercover operations, and controlled deliveries using a human courier. After the 2009 election, members of Japan’s new government made statements supportive of the idea of giving Japanese authorities these basic law enforcement tools. Japan’s heavy reliance on confessions in criminal prosecutions has come under increased scrutiny with the 2009 implementation of a jury system in Japan and new requirements for the video taping of police interviews with suspects. Negative publicity surrounding a few high-profile instances of alleged coerced confessions has highlighted the need to give Japanese police additional tools to help them further their investigations.
Police are increasingly making use of legislation authorizing the use of telephone intercepts. In addition, officials maintain detailed records of drug trafficking and organized crime organizations. Japanese agencies involved in drug law enforcement fiercely protect their turf and investigative and intelligence gathering efforts can be hindered by poor inter- and intra-agency cooperation. Concerns about the privacy of criminal suspects and real and perceived legal and bureaucratic constraints can also restrict Japanese authorities from passing useful and timely information of real assistance in international drug-trafficking investigations. These same obstacles make it very difficult for police authorities to pro-actively investigate members of international drug cartels which operate in Japan.
In February 2009, Japanese authorities seized approximately 8.4 tons of Acetic Anhydride (AA) being shipped to Afghanistan concealed in shipping containers at the ports of Yokohama and Nagoya. This was the first seizure of AA in Japan and was significant in that it showed that international drug trafficking organizations are actively attempting to obtain chemicals required for narcotics production from Japan’s well-developed chemical industry.
In 2009, Japanese authorities have made several seizures of methamphetamine from couriers originating in Mexico and Iran. These seizures indicate that foreign trafficking organizations are actively looking to profit from Japan’s lucrative methamphetamine market.
According to NPA statistics, total seizures for the January through October 2009 period were: Methamphetamine: 325.1 kilograms; MDMA: 57,438 tablets; Cocaine: 3.4 kilograms; Marijuana: 174.8 kilograms; Hashish: 11.9 kilograms; Heroin: 1.2 kilograms. Of note is the fact that Narita Airport arrested a record number of drug couriers this year. From January to October 2009, Japanese authorities at Narita arrested 59 couriers, almost three times the number arrested during the same period in 2008. The previous annual record of courier arrests was set in 2004 when 48 couriers were arrested. So far in 2009, officials at Narita have seized 72 kilograms of methamphetamine from couriers, more than three times the amount of methamphetamine they seized from couriers during the same period in 2008.
Japanese agencies involved in drug law enforcement (the NPA; Japan Customs; Japan Coast Guard; the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare; Narcotics Control Department; and the Ministry of Justice) routinely host and attend conferences and meetings aimed at improving communication between Japanese and foreign agencies involved in targeting trans-national organized crime and drug trafficking.
Corruption. There were no reported cases of Japanese officials being involved in drug-related corruption in Japan in 2009. The government does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Japan’s parliament has failed to implement an anticonspiracy bill. As a result, Japan still cannot ratify the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), although it has signed the UNTOC and its three protocols. Japan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and has signed, but not yet ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. An extradition treaty is in force between the U.S. and Japan, and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) went into effect in August 2006, Japan’s first MLAT with any country. The MLAT allows Japan’s Ministry of Justice to share information and cooperate directly with the Department of Justice in connection with investigations, prosecutions and other proceedings in criminal matters and is used with some regularity between Japanese and U.S. law enforcement.
Cultivation/Production. Japan is not a significant cultivator or producer of controlled substances. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare’s research cultivation program produces a negligible amount of narcotic substances purely for research purposes. Some clandestine marijuana grow operations have been discovered in 2009. Most of these operations are small and most cannabis consumed in Japan is imported from other countries.
Drug Flow/Transit. Instances of narcotics transiting Japan en route to other locations are extremely rare. Japanese authorities believe that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) remains the primary source of methamphetamine smuggled into Japan with bulk quantities often shipped via maritime vessels. Mexico and Iran have recently emerged as source countries for smaller quantities of methamphetamine with arrests of drug couriers originating from these locations reported in 2009. In recent years Canada has emerged as a significant source of methamphetamine, MDMA, and marijuana, although most MDMA encountered in Japan still originates in Europe.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Most drug treatment programs are small and are run by private organizations, but the government also supports the rehabilitation of addicts at prefectural (regional) centers. There are a number of government-funded drug awareness campaigns designed to inform the public about the dangers of stimulant use, especially among junior and senior high school students. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, along with prefectural governments and private organizations, continues to administer national publicity campaigns and to promote drug education programs at the community level.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. U.S. goals and objectives include strengthening law enforcement cooperation related to controlled deliveries and drug-related money-laundering investigations; supporting increased use of existing anticrime legislation and advanced investigative tools against drug traffickers; and promoting substantive involvement from government agencies responsible for financial transaction oversight and control of money-laundering operations.
The Road Ahead. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Tokyo and ICE Attaché will continue to work closely with its Japanese counterparts to offer support in conducting investigations on international drug trafficking, money-laundering, and other crimes. Law enforcement efforts alone however, without political backing to change restrictive Japanese laws, will not succeed in making Japan an equal partner in international counternarcotics efforts.
Jordan’s geographical location between drug producing countries to the north and east, and drug consuming countries to the south and west, continues to make it primarily a transit point for illicit drugs. This being the case, the Public Security Directorate (PSD) believes that the amount of drugs transiting through Jordan continues to grow. Historically, Jordanians do not consume significant quantities of illegal drugs, and according to the PSD there are no known production operations in the country. Enforcement statistics for the first nine months of 2009 show a slight increase in total drug cases compared to 2008. The number of persons involved and the number of drug abusers are also slightly higher than 2008. The PSD attributes the lack of any substantial increases to Jordan’s enhanced rehabilitation programs, increased border interdiction operations, better intelligence gathering, and stronger cooperation between Jordan and neighboring countries. Of note are the cooperative efforts between the PSD and the Israeli National Police on narcotic related matters. The drugs of choice among users arrested for drug possession in Jordan continue to be cannabis and heroin and, to a lesser degree, captagon. The age range for people arrested for drug related crimes is predominantly between 18 and 35 years old. The PSD continues to see an increase in drug trafficking through its border regions, especially with Iraq, and drugs transiting through the Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA). During the first nine months of 2009 there was a large increase in the amount of cocaine and heroin seized by the PSD compared to 2008. However, when compared to historical figures for the past five years the increase does not seem so substantial. For the moment, this increase should not be considered a notable trend in trafficking through Jordan. Jordan is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention.
II: Status of Country
There are currently no indications that Jordan will move from a predominantly drug transit country to a drug producing country. Statistics produced by the Public Security Directorate-Anti-Narcotics Department (PSD-AND) confirm this assessment. Jordan’s vast desert borders make it vulnerable to illicit drug smuggling operations. Jordanian authorities do not believe that internal drug distribution is substantial; they believe most drugs entering Jordan are moving to markets elsewhere.
III: Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Jordan continues its drug awareness campaign focused on educating people to the dangers of drug use. This includes providing educational presentations in schools and universities throughout the country. The PSD-AND created the program “Friends of the AND”, which sends volunteer civilians into the schools, universities, and other community centers to speak out against drug usage. Jordan has also implemented an outreach program for the country’s religious institutions whereby some Imams are trained and given literature on drug prevention topics for inclusion in religious services. Jordan publishes a number of brochures and other materials aimed at educating Jordan’s youth on the dangers of drug abuse. In 2008, members of the PSD-AND participated in their first Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-sponsored International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC), representing Jordan as an observer nation. n 2009, Jordan was admitted as a fulltime member of IDEC and it is anticipated the government of Jordan will send two members of the PSD-AND to IDEC in 2010.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Jordan’s PSD maintains an active counternarcotics bureau, and established excellent relations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Nicosia Country Office in Cyprus. PSD-AND has seen an increase in cocaine and other drug trafficking through QAIA and has increased interdiction efforts there. Government of Jordan (GOJ) authorities continue utilizing x-ray equipment on larger vehicles at its major border crossings between Syria and Iraq. This practice netted numerous drug seizures in past years and continues to do so in 2009. Seizures of captagon tablets have increased substantially during 2009. However, PSD claims the vast majority of captagon is destined for the Gulf States, primarily Saudi Arabia.
The PSD reports that 85 percent of all seized illicit drugs coming into Jordan are bound for export to other countries in the region. Drugs moving through Jordan include cannabis entering from Lebanon and more now from Iraq, Afghan heroin entering through Syria on its way to Israel and captagon tablets from Bulgaria and Turkey entering through Syria on the way to the Gulf. The majority of Jordan’s drug seizures take place at the Jaber border crossing point between Jordan and Syria. Cooperative efforts between the PSD-AND and the Israeli National Police have resulted in positive outcomes in regard to heroin seizures along the Israeli border.
Corruption. Jordanian officials report no narcotics-related corruption investigations during 2009. There is currently no evidence to suggest that senior level officials are involved in narcotics trafficking. As a matter of government policy, Jordan does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Jordan 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. Jordan is a party the UN Convention against Corruption and has signed but not ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Jordan continues to remain committed to existing bilateral agreements providing for counternarcotics cooperation with Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, and Hungary. Jordan and the United States signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement in 2004.
Cultivation and Production. Existing laws prohibit the cultivation and production of narcotics in Jordan. These laws have been effectively enforced. The majority of Jordan’s territory is also not suitable for the cultivation of narcotic drug plants such as marijuana and opium poppy.
Drug Flow/Transit. Jordan remains primarily a narcotics transit country. Jordan’s main challenge in stemming the flow of illicit drugs through the country remains its vast and open desert borders. PSD-AND reports, however, that drug detection at QAIA is on the rise due to increased levels of training and new drug detection methods. While law enforcement contacts confirm continued excellent cooperation with Jordan’s neighbors, the desolate border regions and the various tribes, with centuries-old traditions of smuggling as a principle source of income, make interdiction outside of the ports of entry difficult. None of the narcotics transiting Jordan are believed to be destined for the United States. Jordan is bordered by Israel and the West Bank on the west, Syria on the north, and Iraq and Saudi Arabia to the east. Most of Jordan’s borders are difficult to effectively patrol. The stationary posts along these areas lack the equipment and infrastructure to effectively patrol and monitor border traffic.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Jordan has continued its programs on drug abuse awareness, education, and rehabilitation in 2009. Education programs target high schools, colleges, prison inmates, and religious institutions. Authorities continue to provide educational presentations in schools and universities throughout the country. As noted above, Jordan created the “Friends of the AND” Program to increase access to at risk youth. Jordan also publishes a number of brochures and other materials aimed at educating the country’s youth. Jordan’s counternarcotics cartoon program aimed at younger children and designed to dissuade youngsters from trying drugs has continued to flourish. Cultural and religious norms also help to control drug use. In conjunction with the Untied Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Jordan has again strengthened its treatment and rehabilitation services for drug abusers in the country.
The national treatment and rehabilitation strategy and coordination mechanism has proven effective, and Jordan looks to continued successes in this strategy. The PSD-AND takes great pride in its efforts to assist in the rehabilitation of narcotic abusers. The PSD-AND has implemented a strategy of utilizing law enforcement as an important role in the rehabilitation process. Officers take part in the entire rehabilitation process and work to actively involve family members in the process as well.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The DEA Nicosia Country Office, Regional Security Office Amman, and the PSD have an excellent working relationship. There are several miles of Jordan’s borders that are patrolled only by the PSD’s Anti-Narcotics Department. In October 2007, the Export Control and Related Border Security Program (EXBS) provided PSD with a portable x-ray van for use in screening containers and vehicles at the Port of Aqaba. This equipment primarily screens for weapons, but can detect density anomalies that may indicate the presence of drugs and/or other contraband, and did in fact detect narcotics during 2009. Other ongoing GOJ and United States Government (USG) efforts to strengthen border security measures following the Iraq-based terrorist attacks in Amman and Aqaba in 2005 have served to enhance Jordan’s detection capabilities for narcotics and to disrupt the flow of illegal drugs transiting through Jordan. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has supported USG efforts to strengthen Jordan’s border security capabilities through the EXBS program and customs capacity building. Though both the EXBS program and capacity building support the implementation of international standards to secure and facilitate global trade, they also include training and technical assistance focused on border enforcement techniques and methods. In January of 2009 the DEA provided narcotic related training to approximately 35 members of the PSD in Amman, Jordan. Also during 2009, the DEA Nicosia Country Office funded the travel of two high ranking members of the PSD-AND to New York in order to observe the daily activities of a DEA enforcement group. This training was extremely well received by the PSD-AND and efforts will be made in 2010 to expand on this program. DEA international training anticipates more training in Jordan during 2010.
The Road Ahead. The USG expects continued strong cooperation with the Jordanian government in counternarcotics efforts and related issues.
Kazakhstan is primarily a transit country for drug trafficking and is located on the northern route from Afghanistan to Western Europe. Unfortunately, the citizens of Kazakhstan and its Central Asian neighbors are increasingly becoming active consumers of Afghan opiates transiting through their countries. In 2009, the government of Kazakhstan focused its attention on drug abuse prevention programs and strengthening of the control regime along its southern border. Kazakhstan is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and the Convention against Corruption.
II. Status of Country
Kazakhstan’s geographic location, transportation infrastructure, and hard-to-control borders have made it a major transit zone for narcotics. In addition, vast areas of marijuana and opium poppy grow wild in certain parts of Kazakhstan adding to the challenge from dangerous drugs. The combination of regular transit of illicit drugs from Afghanistan and the additional threat of locally available marijuana and opium poppy have led to growing drug abuse among Kazakhstan’s population. The main drugs consumed in Kazakhstan are marijuana and heroin. Heroin from Afghanistan has rapidly overtaken opium, the traditional drug of choice in Kazakhstan.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Three law enforcement agencies combat drug trafficking in Kazakhstan—the Committee for National Security (KNB), the Customs Control Committee (CCC) and the Ministry of Interior (MVD). Of these three organizations, the MVD , through its Committee on Combating Drugs and Control over the Circulation of Drugs (KBN), plays the lead role in the domestic market, while the KNB and CCC focus their efforts on Kazakhstan’s borders. In addition, the KBN coordinates the counternarcotics work of ministries, agencies, and NGOs. It also works with international organizations and conducts counternarcotics information campaigns and other demand-reduction activities.
The Kazakh government continues to work within the framework of its 2006-2014 overall drug strategy. On the demand reduction front, government agencies plan to implement computer-based training programs in schools and increase the number of projects with NGOs to keep young people from ever exploring dangerous drugs. Currently, 1,400 police officers are working in city schools on drug education programs. Kazakh authorities will expand the number of police officers working in schools and will add police to large schools in rural areas. The government also intends to strengthen treatment and rehabilitation for drug addicts.
Kazakhstan has notably stepped up its participation in controlled deliveries, which have been conducted with neighboring countries including China to very positive effect on dismantling whole drug trafficking organizations (DTOs).
Based on UN recommendations and positive results in some European countries, the KBN is developing a draft law to provide treatment instead of imprisonment for drug-addicted criminals. The law would permit a suspended sentence and mandated treatment.
The Criminal Procedural Code was also amended to allow for the retention of only the amount of seized narcotics required for forensic testing and use as evidence in court. The rest of the seized drugs will be destroyed immediately to avoid the serious problem of resale of seized heroin by corrupt police.
In June 2008, the Kazakh government amended the Criminal, Criminal Procedural, and Administrative Codes to strengthen punishment for drug-related crimes. The new laws provide for life imprisonment for serious drug-related crimes, including trafficking in large quantities of illicit drugs, participation in drug-related crimes as part of a criminal organization, sale of drugs in educational institutions and/or to minors, and sale or distribution of drugs resulting in death.
An Article of the Administrative Code penalizes owners of entertainment facilities, such as bars and clubs, who do not take measures to stop the sales or consumption of drugs or psychotropic substances on their premises. During 2009, the government carried out operations and raids to stop distribution and consumption of drugs in entertainment centers. As a result, 12 criminal cases were opened and the owners of four entertainment centers were fined.
The issue of border security came to the forefront this year during the negotiations among Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus to enter into a customs union. As part of the agreement, Kazakhstan may withdraw customs officers from its border with Russia as soon as July 2011, which has led Russia to express concerns about the security of its border with Kazakhstan.
As a partial response to this concern, the Government of Kazakhstan approved the 2009-2011 Program on Combating Drug Addiction and Narco-Business with a total budget of 39.7 billion tenge (approximately $260 million). The program prioritizes strengthening the southern border with radar, patrol vehicles, and communications equipment. Customs checkpoints will be equipped with X-ray, automated cargo control systems, and other modern inspection equipment. The government will provide counternarcotics divisions of the Ministry of Interior (MVD) with three mobile scanning machines for inspection of trucks in the South-Kazakhstan, Kyzylorda, Almaty and Zhambyl Oblasts. The Border Guard Service, which has aviation units, plans to increase its use of helicopters to search for narco-traffickers, with emphasis along the southern border.
The Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC) was created to facilitate information exchange and analysis, and to assist in the coordination of operational activities of regional law-enforcement agencies. Members include Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The CARICC agreement entered into force on March 2. The President of the Russian Federation signed the agreement on September 4, 2009, joining the other participants.
The government of Kazakhstan allocated $2.7 million for the renovation of the CARICC building. Canada, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Turkey, and the United States have contributed to CARICC’s creation. The total budget through 2011 is $15.4 million.
Law-Enforcement Efforts. During the first nine months of 2009, law-enforcement agencies registered 7,840 drug-related crimes, a 0.5 percent decrease from last year. Of the total, the overwhelming majority (7,389) were registered by the MVD, 279 by the KNB, and 172 by Customs. Of the total drug-related crimes, 2,047 were sales-related cases, an increase from last year’s 1,849. During the same time period, drug trafficking cases (206 cases) dropped 30.6 percent. Of those cases, 88 were registered by the MVD, 23 by the KNB, and 92 by Customs. During the time period, the government shut down 29 drug houses and seized 24.2 tons of drugs and psychotropic substances (a 4.5 percent increase from last year’s 23.2 tons). There was a 57.6 percent decrease in heroin seizures (641.3 kilos), a 92.9 percent increase in opium seizures (95.3 kilos), a 33 percent increase in hashish seizures (432.6 kilos), and an 8.2 percent increase in marijuana seizures (22.9 metric tons). This year, Georgian, Nigerian, Mongolian, Afghan, Ghanaian, and Russian citizens have been arrested for narco-trafficking along with citizens from throughout Central Asia.
During the past year, Kazakhstani law-enforcement agencies have increased their focus on operations against entire cartels, using controlled deliveries. They tried to get away from the past practice of arresting as many low-level couriers as possible. The KNB conducted 20 international counternarcotics operations, and dismantled 57 drug trafficking groups. The MVD dismantled eight organized criminal groups, members of which had committed 40 drug-related crimes throughout the country. The MVD conducted 21 controlled delivery operations, including operations with Kyrgyzstan and Russia. As a result of these operations, it seized 555.7 kilos of drugs, including 21 kilos of heroin.
During the first nine months of 2009, the number of people charged with administrative drug offenses has increased 93.3 percent (4,816). Of the total, 2,739 people were arrested for driving while under the influence of narcotics.
Corruption. The government of Kazakhstan does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances. It also does not support the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug trafficking. There have been no cases this year of senior government officials charged with involvement in the illicit production or distribution of drugs. But alluding to possible corruption within enforcement units, Prime Minister Masimov stated that traffickers would not attempt to transport large quantities across the border without protection from law-enforcement officers. Masimov then called for the creation of a special unit to root out government officials cooperating with traffickers. However, no such unit appears to have been formed.
The MVD actively fights narco-corruption in its ranks. Recruits are vetted, and a special internal affairs unit investigates crimes committed by police. Ten police officers were arrested this year for drug-related crimes. The average police salary is approximately $200-$266 a month. A new anticorruption plan includes bonuses for police officers of $200-$333 to encourage them not to take bribes. Some corruption-related cases discovered in 2009 follow:
Agreements and Treaties. Kazakhstan 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 against Psychotropic Substances. Kazakhstan plans to sign an agreement with Afghanistan on cooperation in the fight against trafficking and abuse of drugs, psychotropic substances, and precursors. Kazakhstan is also working on new narcotics enforcement cooperation agreements with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Kazakhstan is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols.
Cultivation/Production. Wild marijuana, ephedra, and opium poppies grow naturally in Kazakhstan. These three drugs grow intermittently in certain parts of a large area of over 1.2 million hectares in the Almaty, Zhambyl, South Kazakhstan, Kyzylorda, and East Kazakhstan Oblasts. The largest source of marijuana is the Chu Valley in the Zhambyl Oblast, in which wild marijuana with a high THC content grows on an estimated 138,000 hectares. Experts estimate that 145,000 metric tons of marijuana or as much as 6,000 tons of hashish could be produced from this wild marijuana annually
The KBN established two special divisions in 2008 to combat marijuana trafficking. The Ontustik (South) Special Division focuses on organized crime in South Kazakhstan, and Delta-Dolina specifically focuses on illicit activities in the Chu Valley. The work of these divisions is believed to have contributed to the recent 17 percent increase in marijuana and hashish prices. The divisions still require additional staffing, vehicles, and satellite communications equipment.
Operation Mak (Poppy) is conducted annually from June 1 through October 20 to combat the marijuana and poppy harvests and dismantle drug cartels in the Chu Valley. Despite the name, most of the focus is on marijuana. During the operation, the KBN closely cooperates with the BGS and Customs to create a security belt around the valley to prevent the traffic of marijuana while Delta-Dolina patrols the valley. As a result, law-enforcement agencies seized 16.1 tons of drugs. The MVD registered 3,300 drug–related crimes, including 32 cases of trafficking.
Drug Flow/Transit. The main types of drugs trafficked through Kazakhstan are Afghani opiates (heroin and opium), marijuana, and hashish. There was no manufacture of synthetic drugs in Kazakhstan in 2009.
The primary trafficking route through Kazakhstan to Russia and on to Western Europe transits Almaty, Karaganda, Semey, Novosibirsk, Barnaul, and Omsk. Drugs travel over land by rail, bus, and vehicle. Trafficking on the border with Kyrgyzstan is increasing as the border with Uzbekistan is better patrolled. The MVD believes that drug traffickers cross the mountains on foot or horse.
The number of human “drug mules” swallowing drugs has increased on the border with Kyrgyzstan. In June 2009, a passenger on a train from Bishkek to Novokuznezk was transported to the hospital after suffering intestinal problems. After his death, it was discovered that he had swallowed 45 packets of heroin, totaling 284 grams. Another drug mule traveling by bus from Pavlodar to Novosibirsk survived after seven of the nine packets of heroin dissolved in his stomach. The two remaining capsules contained 13.6 grams of heroin.
With the transit of narcotics through Kazakhstan, the drug addiction rate in the country continues to increase. Experts estimate that 10-15 percent of the opiates trafficked through Kazakhstan remain in the domestic market. Narcotics are primarily trafficked over land on trains and in trucks with fruits and vegetables. Law-enforcement agencies continue to complain about the use of International Road Transport Convention (TIR) carnets by drug traffickers. The TIR system calls for Customs inspection at the point of original shipment. The truck is then sealed, and transits other countries along its route expeditiously without inspection, unless intelligence causes an unscheduled inspection en route. The 2009-2011 Program on Combating Drug Addiction and Narco-Business provides for the purchase of scanners for border checkpoints and inside the country in order to detect contraband in sealed trucks.
According to the MVD, one kilo of heroin costs $1,000-$1,500 on the Afghan-Tajik border, $4,000 upon entry into Kazakhstan, and $20,000 when it enters Russia from Kazakhstan. The wholesale price of heroin is $30,000 per kilo in Europe.
In July, the Head of the KNB Division on Combating International Drug Trafficking stated that the use of serious dangerous drugs (refined opiates) has decreased since the beginning of the financial crisis, because drug users no longer have cash. However, the barter of vehicles and other property for drugs has increased. The KNB reported a corresponding increase in the production and traffic of less expensive drugs such as hashish and marijuana.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The total number of registered drug addicts in Kazakhstan has decreased by 1.6 percent to 53,883, while the number of drug addicts under the age of 18 has increased by 2.1 percent to 3,839. In general, registered drug addicts are thought to represent a minor share of all drug addicts because of the disincentives to formal registration with the government.
National television stations and newspapers distribute information on the fight against drug trafficking. They regularly publish articles about police operations and drug-demand reduction campaigns. The MVD publishes the magazines “Narkopost” and “Future Without Drugs”. The Ministry of Education and Science introduced special demand-reduction curricula at schools, which include lectures by Treatment experts, psychologists, and police.
Civil society and human-rights activists opposed last year’s proposal to drug test all students. The Ministry of Health proposed testing only high-risk groups after only 0.5 percent of 5,300 students in Almaty tested positive during a 2006 pilot project. Alexandr Katkov, Acting Head of the Pavlodar Republican Scientific and Practical Center of Medical and Social Problems believes simple drug testing is not the answer to solving childhood addiction. He has pushed for psychological testing to determine whether a student has a risk of becoming a drug user.
A government counternarcotics program provides for counternarcotics education for school psychologists and social workers. The staff of 500 schools will be trained over three years.
A pilot project to test methadone therapy was launched in Pavlodar and Temirtau and 29 heroin addicts, including 11 that were HIV-positive, took part. Funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the project provides patients with medical and psychological treatment. So far, the project appears to have helped four participants to abandon drug use. Despite these results, the project’s funding is due to end soon.
Kazakhstan’s 2006-2010 AIDS Program provides for contraceptives, information, educational materials, needle exchanges, and free, confidential treatment. Help-lines and clinics provide services.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives And Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. To increase the capacity of the canine services of law-enforcement agencies, INL funded a series of events that included extensive train-the-trainer courses in Austria, participation for trainers and dog handlers in an International Canine Conference in Kazakhstan and other countries, and training events in Kazakhstan itself.
The KNB’s Military Institute, which trains border guards, has adopted the Austrian methods to select and train canines and has trained one group of cadets in the new curriculum. Three instructors trained in Austria have trained approximately 60 canine officers from the MVD and BGS. The Military Institute’s training program has lead to a number of successful seizures on the border.
Through UNODC, INL continues to provide support to the MVD’s internal narcotics checkpoints. UNODC has purchased and installed satellite-communication, radio-communications, and office equipment. In 2008, over 10 metric tons of drugs, including heroin, marijuana, hashish, and opium, were seized at internal checkpoints.
INL provided the MVD with 17 mini-vans and four jeeps to strengthen its capacity to conduct special operations and patrol vulnerable areas. In order to support better data handling by the MVD, INL purchased a server to allow for the safe and secure storage of law enforcement data. INL also supported a two-week counternarcotics training course for counternarcotics officers at the Turkish Academy on Combating Organized Crime and Drugs (TADOC). INL is funding the purchase of office equipment and furniture for the MVD’s Interagency Counter-Narcotics Training Center.
INL continues to cooperate with the Military Institute and the BGS. INL funded the renovation of and provided equipment to an additional Border Guard Field Training Center in Uralsk, Western Kazakhstan and a classroom at the Military Institute of the Committee for National Security. INL equipped the Aviation Border Guard Training Center in Astana. In response to a request from the Military Institute, a study tour for five law-enforcement training academies was combined with a train-the-trainer course at TADOC. The study tour provided ideas for the curriculum at the MVD’s Interagency Counter-Narcotics Training Center. The study tour also introduced various computer-based training systems (CBT) that the UNODC program has now installed in some law-enforcement training centers. INL also provided a language laboratory to the Military Institute
The Road Ahead. INL will continue cooperation with the government of Kazakhstan to increase its counternarcotics enforcement capacity. Embassy Astana will continue to organize training seminars on drug-courier profiling, use of newly-provided equipment, and new operations techniques. INL will continue its cooperation with the BGS and provide technical assistance to border checkpoints.
Kenya remains a significant transit country for cocaine, heroin, and khat. Quantities of heroin and hashish transiting Kenya, mostly from Southwest Asia bound for Europe and the United States have markedly increased in recent years. There is a growing domestic heroin and cocaine market and use of cannabis or marijuana is widespread, particularly on the coast and in Nairobi. Opiates are trafficked from Kenya to the Indian Ocean islands of Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and Comoros. Although government officials profess strong support for counternarcotics efforts, the overall program suffers from a lack of resources and corruption at various levels. Drug seizures were relatively insignificant for 2008, but have increased dramatically in 2009 following installation of a new Officer-in-Charge of the Kenya Police Force’s Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU). Kenya is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Kenya is a significant transit country for cocaine and heroin and a minor producer of cannabis for the domestic market. The production of khat, legal in Kenya, is an important source of foreign revenue for Kenya. Though there is some local demand for the product, particularly in North Eastern and Coast provinces, the majority of khat grown is for export to Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen, and increasingly, to the U.K. and the Netherlands, where its use is legal. Kenya also serves as a transit country for large shipments of cocaine from South America destined for Europe. Kenya’s sea and air transportation infrastructure, and the network of commercial and family ties that link some Kenyans to Southwest Asia, make Kenya a significant transit country for Southwest Asian heroin and hashish. Cannabis is produced in commercial quantities primarily for the domestic market (including use by some elements among the large number of tourists vacationing in Kenya), with additional quantities arriving from Uganda and Tanzania. Kenya does not produce significant quantities of precursor chemicals; the Pharmacy and Poisons Board monitors imports and exports of precursor and licit drugs.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Counternarcotics agencies, notably the Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) within the Kenyan Police Service, depend on the 1994 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (Narcotics Act) for enforcement authorities and interdiction guidelines. Revisions to the Narcotics Act on the seizure, analysis, and disposal of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances drafted by the government of Kenya with the advice of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2005 were implemented in March 2006. The National Agency for the Campaign against Drug Abuse Authority (NACADAA) is the governmental organization charged with combating drug abuse in Kenya. In 2009, NACADAA finalized the National Strategy on Prevention, Control and Mitigation of Drug and Substance Abuse, 2009-2014. It has subsequently developed a National Action Plan on Drugs and Substance Abuse, based on the National Strategy. Both the National Strategy and the National Action Plan are before the Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security for final approval. Though the National Strategy Plan has not yet been approved, NACADAA has moved forward on implementing certain elements, such as requiring all public institutions to include alcohol and drug abuse prevention in their employee performance contracts.
As a result of UNODC and bilateral training programs, the ANU and the Kenyan Customs Service now have a cadre of officers proficient in profiling and searching suspected drug couriers and containers at airports and seaports. Airport profiling has yielded good results in arrests for couriers, but not major traffickers. Seaport profiling has proven difficult. Despite the official estimate that a significant portion of the narcotics trafficked through Kenya originates on international sea vessels. ANU maritime interdiction capabilities are limited. Personnel turnover at the ports is high, contributing to Kenya’s limited capability for maritime interdiction. The ANU remains the focus of Kenyan counternarcotics efforts. Corruption continues to thwart the success of long-term port security training. Lack of resources, a problem throughout the Kenyan police force, significantly reduces the ANU’s operational effectiveness. . Malindi, an important coastal tourism destination and major narcotics transit site, has but one ANU officer.
Law Enforcement Efforts. 2008 annual drug seizures were dismal. Only sixty-seven individuals were arrested for trafficking, and only a total of 5.7 kilograms of heroin and cocaine (3.7 and 2 kilograms respectively) were seized. 2009 seizure results were significantly improved, with 194 persons arrested and 18 kilograms of heroin and cocaine seized (8.5 and 9.5 kilograms respectively). In 2008, law enforcement elements seized 800 gm and 253 tabs of non-designated psychotropic substances while in 2009, the ANU seized more than 9000 tabs of mandrax (3197), rohypnol (1714), diazepam (243) and valium (2554).
Corruption. Corruption remains a significant barrier to effective narcotics enforcement at both the prosecutorial and law enforcement level. Despite Kenya’s strict narcotics laws that encompass most forms of narcotics-related corruption, reports continue to link public officials with narcotics trafficking. 2009 has seen many religious and civil society groups demanding that the government address the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse. Some consider the drug abuse problem significant enough to request a declaration of national emergency. As a matter of policy, the Government of Kenya does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Kenya is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty remains in force between the United States and Kenya through a 1965 exchange of notes. Kenya is a party to the UN Corruption Convention and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols.
Cultivation and Production. A significant number of Kenyan farmers illegally grow cannabis on a commercial basis for the domestic market. Fairly large-scale cannabis cultivation occurs in the Lake Victoria basin, in the central highlands around Mt. Kenya, and along the coast. ANU officials conduct aerial surveys to identify significant cannabis-producing areas in cooperation with the Kenya Wildlife Service. However, according to ANU officials, farmers are increasingly savvy about how to shield their crops from aerial detection and difficult terrain hampers eradication efforts. In late 2009, the ANU was conducting field surveys to determine the extent of cannabis production. Routinely, when fields are found, the crops are uprooted and burned.
Khat, categorized as a Schedule 1 narcotic in the U.S, but legal in Kenya, is a major generator of foreign exchange revenues. Khat’s active ingredient is cathinone, a naturally occurring chemical similar to amphetamine which is best chewed within 48 hours of being picked, when the leaves are still fresh. Grown primarily near the town of Meru on the slopes of Mt. Kenya, khat is primarily exported through Somali networks to countries in the Horn of Africa, particularly Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen. Tanzania has banned the sale of khat, and Uganda has drafted legislation to ban sales as well, but bans in these countries have had little impact on the massive khat trade to Somalia. Exports to U.K. and Netherlands, where the drug is legal, have increased in recent years to satisfy the demands of immigrants from the Horn of Africa residing in those countries. The U.S. market is not immune to khat trafficking, as khat cultivated in East Africa is shipped through European nations to the U.S. In 2006, a major Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operation dismantled an organization responsible for importing over 25 metric tons of khat into the U.S.
Drug Flow/Transit. Kenya is strategically located along a major transit route between Southwest Asian producers of heroin and markets in Europe and North America. Heroin normally transits Kenya by air, carried by individual couriers. A string of cocaine and heroin seizures at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in 2009 highlights the continuing drug trafficking problem in Kenya. While the arrests of drug “mules” may alert trafficking syndicates that enhanced profiling measures and counternarcotics efforts make JKIA an increasingly inconvenient entry/exit point for drugs, the arrests have achieved little in the way of assisting authorities to identify the individuals behind the drug trafficking networks.
ANU officials also continued to intercept couriers transiting land routes from Uganda and Tanzania, where it is believed the drugs arrive via air. The increased use of land routes demonstrates, in the minds of ANU officials, that traffickers have noted the increase in security and narcotics checks at JKIA. Postal and commercial courier services are also used for narcotics shipments through Kenya, particularly shipments of khat to the U.K. and United States. Reports indicate that poor policing along the East African coast makes this region attractive to maritime smugglers.
A recently emerged pattern is that of opiates shipped from Kenya to the islands of the Indian Ocean: Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and Comoros. In June 2008, a Kenyan woman was arrested in Mauritius in a $1.8 million drug bust. She appeared to be the contact in Mauritius for two Tanzanian boxers and four officials who had arrived for the African boxing championships with the heroin. The majority of drug couriers arrested in Kenya in 2008 and 2009 were Kenyans trafficking in cannabis. Nationalities arrested for trafficking of heroin and cocaine in 2008 and 2009 included Tanzanian, Ugandan, German, Ghanaian, Pakistani, American, Congolese, Saudi, Seychellois, and Somali.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Kenya continues to make progress in efforts to institute programs for demand reduction. Illegal cannabis and legal khat remain the domestic drugs of choice. Cocaine abuse is generally limited to urban centers and members of the economic elite with a broader range of users using heroin on the coast. Solvent abuse is widespread among street children in Nairobi and other urban centers. NACADAA actively combats drug abuse, although the organization’s budget remains inadequate to the challenge. In 2009, NACADAA finalized its National Strategy on Prevention, Control and Mitigation of Drug and Substance Abuse which is presently before the Ministry for Provincial Administration and Internal Security for signature. In an effort to offset the dearth of reliable statistics on drug abuse in Kenya, NACADAA developed a comprehensive survey of the problem in 2007. It has also done an assessment of drug counseling and treatment centers in Kenya. NACADAA and a number of communities sponsored programs to commemorate International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26, 2009 with public fora and speeches. NACADAA is presently engaged in developing certification standards for drug treatment centers and implementing a licensing service to formalize the process. NACADAA continues to be actively engaged at the community level, distributing public information brochures and leaflets through schools, religious organizations, and community-based organizations and centers. NACADAA also makes liberal use of the media to air its counternarcotics abuse message. Community associations and local activists promote peer counseling and provide training to volunteers. Of particular note is that all Kenyan civil servants have clauses in their performance contracts relating to what they will do to counternarcotics abuse.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The principal U.S. counternarcotics objective in Kenya is to interdict the flow of narcotics to the United States. A related objective is to limit the corrosive effects of narcotics-related corruption in law enforcement, the judiciary, and political institutions, which has created an environment of impunity for well-connected traffickers. The United States seeks to accomplish this objective through law enforcement cooperation, the encouragement of a strong Kenyan government commitment to narcotics interdiction, and strengthening Kenyan counternarcotics and overall judicial capabilities.
Bilateral Cooperation and Accomplishments. U.S. bilateral cooperation with Kenya on counternarcotics matters is ongoing. The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Antiterrorism (ATA) continued to train multi-agency maritime security patrol units. Graduates of this training are credited with a number of interdictions of boats which were transporting illegal narcotics. At least one of the boardings was under hostile circumstances. In the Manda Bay/Lamu area cocaine, large rolls of marijuana and rohypnol tablets were seized and arrests made in the course of multiple interdictions. ATA also delivered cyber and cellular forensics laboratories to investigators at the Criminal Investigations Division and the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit. Graduates of ATA cyber courses are successfully retrieving and analyzing digital evidence linking suspects to trafficking in narcotics, weapons, humans and other criminal activities. The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency is assisting the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Customs Services Department in meeting the World Customs Organization (WCO) Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade and addressing export border control issues. CBP has provided multi-agency training through workshops, seminars, and courses covering airport, seaport, land border, and export control issues and previously provided $450,760 worth of inspection equipment to customs and other agencies in Kenya engaged in port/border security issues. CBP has also assisted the KRA in improving and expanding its Customs Canine Enforcement Program. KRA procured four additional canines from the United States for its program in the first quarter of 2009. In May 2008, July 2009, and October 2009 GOK delegations traveled to the United States to witness CBP best practices pertaining to airport, seaport, land border, headquarters operations programs, and training facilities which they have adapted to enhance programs, operations and training in Kenya. The DEA continues to partner with Kenyan law enforcement on bilateral narcotics investigations.
USAID/Kenya provides support to projects offering addiction treatment services to substance abuse addicts in Nairobi and on the Kenyan coast. The Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs provided training to Kenyan drug addiction counselors and administrators in the therapeutic communities model beginning in January 2009 and is assisting the GOK in establishing a three-year training program to train drug addiction counselors throughout the country in Level 1 certification and prepare them for an independently-administered examination by the U.S.-based Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC)
The Road Ahead. The ANU is looking forward to working with the United States to enhance its operational capacity and to share information. The United States will actively seek ways to maximize counternarcotics efforts both in Kenya and throughout East Africa. Local, regional, and international partners have indicated their desire to work with the United States to combat the flow of international narcotics through Kenya. The United States will also continue to work with and support NACADAA to provide training and to expand public awareness outreach in demand reduction efforts in Kenya.
Though Kosovo is primarily a transit country for Afghan drugs destined for Europe, anecdotal evidence from the Kosovo Police (KP) suggests a growing domestic narcotics market. Kosovo faces challenges in its battle against narcotics trafficking since its borders are porous and there is corruption among the Kosovo Border Police (KBP) and Customs officers. The KP continues its efforts to combat the drug trade, but suffers from limited resources and the low priority of its counternarcotics branch. The Kosovo Government, led by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) adopted its national counternarcotics strategy in July 2009, but has yet to find the resources to implement it fully.
Kosovo has not yet become a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008 and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) began to transfer competencies to the Kosovo Government starting on June 15, 2008 when Kosovo’s constitution came into force. Kosovo now possesses the authority to sign treaties and agreements and is currently reviewing and prioritizing the most important treaties for future ratification. The European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) was declared operational December 9, 2008, replacing most of UNMIK’s civilian police, prosecutors and judges, but with a significantly different mandate. EULEX, unlike UNMIK, has very limited executive authority, focusing on the roles of mentoring, monitoring, and advising. The United States and the European Union continue to provide rule of law technical assistance, including training and equipment that will help Kosovo combat narcotics trafficking more effectively over time.
II. Status of Country
The Kosovo Border Police (KBP), an element of the KP, lacks basic equipment, and narcotics traffickers capitalize on weak border controls in Kosovo. The KBP patrol all border crossing points, except two entry points in northern Kosovo, which are staffed by EULEX and the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR). EULEX provides police and customs advisors to the KBP at all other border crossings. The KBP and KFOR jointly patrol the “Green Border,” the area where there are no official manned borders or administrative boundary line gates, along the borders with Albania (112 km), Macedonia (159 km) and Montenegro (79 km). At this time, KFOR alone patrols the 352 km border with Serbia. This patrolling along the “Green Border” extends up to the actual border, but traffickers nevertheless take advantage of numerous roads leading into Kosovo that lack border controls. Narcotics interdiction is not part of KFOR’s mandate. KFOR soldiers seize narcotics they happen to encounter while performing their duties, but they do not actively investigate narcotics trafficking. A proposed drawdown of KFOR troops would place additional border management responsibilities on the KBP.
Information on domestic narcotics consumption is gathered by UNICEF and “NGO Labyrinth”, who agree that there is a growing local market and that illegal drug use is on the rise. They add that the levels of narcotics consumption among teenagers and university-aged young adults, the primary users, are close to those in most Western European countries. There are no reliable estimates of the number of drug users, but UNICEF places the figure around 20,000, mostly heroin users, although cocaine seems to be gaining popularity. The vast majority of addicts referred for treatment are heroin users.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Kosovo has made limited progress on counternarcotics policy initiatives in 2009. The country’s national counternarcotics strategy, developed by the MOIA, was released in July 2009 but has yet to be implemented, in part due to financial constraints. The new national strategy calls for better coordination with other organizations such as the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Education, and for better communication within the KP. For instance, street-level drug enforcement is managed by the KP Department of Order while higher-level drug crimes are investigated by their Department of Crime. Although these two departments do not communicate well now, a proposed reorganization of the KP should address that problem.
The MOH, in its strategic plan and budget for 2008-2013, included the goals of accurately assessing the extent of the drug problem in Kosovo, developing a national strategy for preventing drug use among adolescents and youths, creating regular mechanisms for monitoring drug use levels among adolescents and youths, and increasing services to drug addicts. In December 2007, the MOH compiled the National Strategy on Mental Health, which includes treatment and services for drug addicts, but implementation has been slow due to lack of funding.
The MOIA reported that it is working to increase Kosovo’s narcotics investigative capacity and plans to meet European Partnership Agreement Program goals by training counternarcotics officials, procuring technical equipment, and strengthening interagency cooperation.
Law Enforcement Efforts. KP counternarcotics officers face many challenges. Their resources are limited and counternarcotics is not a top priority for the GOK. Furthermore, statistics on seizures, arrests and prosecutions are largely unreliable and inconsistent.
From January through September 2009, according to a report published by the KP Unit for Planning and Development, the KP confiscated 27.7 kilograms of heroin, 2.4 kilograms of cocaine, 19.5 kilograms of marijuana, 2.2 kilograms of hashish and 7278 individual marijuana plants. The KP has found no evidence of synthetic drug production in Kosovo.
In the first nine months of 2009, the KP arrested 275 people on narcotics charges and filed 169 narcotics-related cases, 122 of which were sent to the Prosecutor’s Office. The remaining cases are still under investigation.
The KP uses a wide range of investigative techniques, from information collection to interception and surveillance. “Intelligence-led policing” is an approach being used by the KP to find traffickers and learn of their activities. It is a logical extension of community policing and relies on good relationships formed between the police and local communities. However, in contrast to other countries, this strategy is difficult to implement in Kosovo because of the tight-knit family and clan structures.
While UNMIK focused its counternarcotics efforts on intercepting drugs smuggled into Kosovo and preventing them from departing to third countries, EULEX provides mentoring, monitoring and advising services to the KP.
Corruption. It is difficult to estimate the extent to which corruption in Kosovo influences drug trafficking. Kosovo has taken legal and law enforcement measures to prevent and punish public corruption that facilitates the production, processing, or shipment of narcotic and psychotropic drugs and other controlled substances, or that discourages the investigation or prosecution of such offenses, especially by senior government officials. However, results so far have been mixed.
The “Suppression of Corruption” law, passed in April 2005, is the prevailing legislation that directs anticorruption activities. There are no laws that specifically address narcotics-related public corruption. The Suppression of Corruption law created the Kosovo Anti-Corruption Agency, an independent agency that began operations in July 2006. In early 2009, the Government of Kosovo drafted an amendment to the Suppression of Corruption law and also an official strategy against corruption for 2009 to 2011. As of November, 2009, neither measure had been approved by the Kosovo Assembly.
While there is no evidence of systemic corruption in the KP or Customs, there are reports of individual corruption, which officials are attempting to address. Cases reportedly involve officers turning a blind eye to narcotics trafficking or accepting bribes to allow narcotics to pass through borders. KP officials see the potential for problems due to the officers’ low salaries and lack of benefits, and they believe corruption exists in the regional counternarcotics offices.
The Police Inspectorate of Kosovo (PIK) is an independent body under the MOIA designed to promote police efficiency and effectiveness and investigate and punish serious misconduct. In May 2009, 47 kilograms of heroin and a large quantity of money and other evidence were stolen from a police evidence room. While there are at least 15 suspects, so far no charges have been brought, nor has any of the stolen property been recovered. The case is being investigated by the PIK, while a government official is being investigated by the EULEX Police Executive Department.
There is no information indicating that the Kosovo Government or its senior officials encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or launder the proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. The 1902 extradition treaty with the Kingdom of Serbia is now recognized as being in force by both the United States and the Government of Kosovo. However, Kosovo will not extradite its nationals.
Due to its unique history as a UN-administered entity, Kosovo was not previously party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention or any other international convention or protocol. Since declaring independence in February 2008 and adopting a new state constitution in June 2008, Kosovo has gained the authority to sign international treaties as well as bilateral and multilateral agreements; however, this authority is for practical purposes limited to agreements with the 63 countries which have recognized Kosovo. Kosovo is not yet a UN member-state.
Kosovo cooperates and exchanges information with countries in the region through informal bilateral and multilateral meetings. For example, the Director of Organized Crime in the KP regularly meets with his Albanian counterpart. The KP reports that data sharing with Macedonia and Montenegro on drug investigations is poor, while data sharing with Albania, with whom a data sharing agreement was signed in 2008, is reported to be excellent. Data sharing agreements with Macedonia and Montenegro are being negotiated. The effectiveness of EULEX advisors assigned to the narcotics department has not yet been reflected in increased arrests and prosecutions. Data sharing between EULEX and the KP could improve due to recently signed data sharing agreements between EULEX and Serbia and EULEX and the KP. Additionally, Kosovo Customs has memoranda of understanding with both Albania and Macedonia.
Cultivation/Production. Kosovo is not a significant narcotics producer. The KP has found some evidence of small-scale marijuana cultivation in rural areas, mostly in the form of plants mixed in with corn crops or cultivated in back yards. The police have also found some uncultivated marijuana plants growing in rural areas. The KPS determine crop yield by counting individual plants, and the number of plants grown by any one producer is small enough to make this feasible. There have been a few reports of seizures of small quantities of precursor chemicals in Kosovo, but KP officials have found no evidence of narcotics refining or production labs.
Drug Flow/Transit. Though Kosovo is primarily a transit country for Afghan drugs destined for Europe, anecdotal evidence from the KP suggests a growing domestic narcotics market. Data on drugs entering the country is weak, but data on drugs leaving the country is virtually non-existent. The KP reported a sharp drop in heroin coming from Bulgaria and transiting Macedonia after Bulgaria entered the EU, while drug flow from Albania has increased. Most of the drug traffic entering Kosovo is carried in small quantities across rugged borders on foot or by mule. Most drug seizures do not occur at a border crossing.
While the most prevalent drug in Kosovo is heroin, synthetic drugs manufactured in Serbia have been intercepted enroute to Albania while marijuana grown in Albania has been intercepted heading for Serbia. Several years ago most of the drug traffic was coming from Macedonia but now much of it comes from Albania. The street value of heroin is from 10,000 to 15,000 Euro per kilogram uncut while cocaine is between 50,000 and 60,000 Euro per kilogram. Despite the much higher cost of cocaine, the KP reports that the amount of cocaine entering Kosovo from Albania, Montenegro and other sources has been growing. In fact the KP recently seized a shipment of cocaine coming from Belgium.
EULEX and KP officials report many small movements of narcotics, such as two to five kilograms on one person or 10 to 20 kilograms in a bag on a bus. EULEX advisors have observed the KBP allowing buses to pass without search, and in some cases, without checking passports of the passengers.
The Kosovo Government continues its efforts to interdict and seize drugs transiting Kosovo. However, there have been no significant changes in the methodology or tactics used by the Kosovo Police or customs agencies. The KBP are attempting to acquire drug detection dogs but have not yet secured funding.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. According to NGO Labyrinth, the use of marijuana in schools has been increasing. Only 18 percent of 15 to 24-year-olds understand the dangers of drug use according to recent surveys by UNICEF. Even more alarming is that the age of first injection has dropped to 14 years. While there are no reliable estimates of the number of drug users in Kosovo, UNICEF believes that there are now 20,000, up from 10,000 to 15,000 in 2001. One problem in obtaining data is that parents in Kosovo’s culture are deeply ashamed if their children use drugs and try to deny and hide the addiction rather than seek help. Also, wealthier parents are able to send their children to Slovenia and Croatia for rehabilitation. One initiative sponsored by UNICEF is called the Peer Education Network which so far has recruited 1500 young people in 22 municipalities to provide training and awareness to other young people on drug prevention, the risks of HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and the risks of smoking. In addition, UNICEF is pioneering a life skills-based education program for eighth graders which will be expanded to other grades. The program, already in 500 schools, focuses on health, nutrition, sexuality, and HIV as well as drug prevention.
Both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education run domestic prevention programs, and community police officers visit schools throughout Kosovo to educate students about the risks associated with drug use. NGOs such as Labyrinth assist with both education and treatment.
Labyrinth says that based on the number of people asking for treatment for cocaine addiction, usage of cocaine has increased considerably in the last five years, an opinion supported by the KP. Labyrinth currently has about 600 clients in various stages of treatment. The number of new clients is ten to eleven per month, up from seven to eight per month two years ago. In addition only about 3 percent of Labyrinth’s clients remain drug-free compared to about 25 percent in the European Union. Labyrinth attributes this to lack of follow-up and social services, cultural norms according to which a child can be disowned from his or her family for using drugs, and lack of economic or educational opportunities for young people.
The Pristina University Hospital Psychiatry Department, which also provides drug treatment, reports that on average two to four people are receiving in-patient treatment at any given time. The overwhelming majority of the patients are heroin addicts. Approximately 120-140 addicts receive out-patient treatment each year. The staff at Pristina University Hospital is limited, with only one doctor and one nurse devoted to treating drug addicts. Other regional medical centers’ psychiatry wards reportedly do what they can to assist drug addicts, but they do not devote staff exclusively to their treatment.
The Hospital notes that the number of patients is increasing and sees an urgent need for a better drug treatment program that includes more and better trained staff, individual and group therapy, and separation from the psychiatric ward. Hospital officials consider the construction of a separate drug treatment facility a priority. They believe that the current arrangement that places drug addicts alongside psychiatric patients in the same ward creates a social stigma that prevents all but the most severe cases of drug addiction from seeking treatment.
Methadone has not been prescribed by public health services due to a technicality in the law, although NGO Labyrinth has been using it as part of its rehabilitation program. Last year the Global Fund awarded Kosovo $5.6 million for a five-year methadone treatment program. The methadone, taken orally, will be administered and tracked by Labyrinth and other clinics under this program beginning in December 2009. Labyrinth reports a success rate of only 12 percent using methadone to treat heroin addiction, and it attributes this low rate of success to the absence of a long-term maintenance and follow-up program.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Kosovo cooperates with the United States on counternarcotics issues.
Kosovo officials seek out and enthusiastically receive technical assistance and training provided through robust Department of Justice programs in country, the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development and Training (OPDAT) and International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), both funded through the State Department. In 2009, the OPDAT program, conducted a series of training seminars focused on prosecutors in Kosovo, including those in the Special Prosecutors Office, which handles narcotics trafficking and other complex crimes. Depending on the course subject-matter, many of the programs also welcomed judges and police as participants. Programs included narcotics investigations and trial preparation, organized crime, money laundering, trafficking in persons, terrorism, and other crime-related topics. A separate OPDAT initiative provided training and technical assistance for Kosovar and EULEX prosecutors in implementing the new law on negotiated guilty pleas (plea bargaining). In cooperation with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), OPDAT has provided intensive trial advocacy training for prosecutors in Kosovo and the United States to assist Kosovo in implementing a justice system that incorporates more elements of the adversarial trial system. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina has begun an active partnership with Kosovo narcotics investigators and prosecutors, which has yielded some early success. The USG’s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program donated a large amount of border security equipment, including x-ray machines, density measuring kits, and other equipment. The USG funded and contributed 80 police officers, one judge, and three prosecutors to EULEX’s rule of law mission.
In partnership with the North Carolina U.S. Attorney General’s office, OPDAT has led a series of trainings in both Kosovo and the United States aimed at teaching the KP and Kosovar prosecutors U.S. methods of drug detection, investigation and prosecution. OPDAT will also provide the KP with much-needed equipment including field test kits and specialized communications and tracking gear.
ICITAP also manages an ambitious State Department (INL)-funded police training program in Kosovo, which provides training and technical assistance to police, border control officials and other law enforcement.
The Road Ahead. The United States will continue to provide rule of law assistance to Kosovo. USG-funded police, prosecutors, and judges will continue working in Kosovo as part of the EULEX deployment. The USG is coordinating its rule of law assistance goals and priorities for Kosovo with the EU, and it will continue to provide training, technical assistance and equipment to the KP and Kosovo’s criminal justice sector that directly and indirectly support counternarcotics work. Among the USG’s contribution of police officers to the EULEX police mission in Kosovo, some officers will possess special organized crime and counternarcotics skills. One issue facing Kosovo is the planned drawdown of KFOR and its impact on border crossing control. Kosovo Police will have to take over KFOR’s duties in this area.
The Kyrgyz Republic continues to have minimal internal production of illicit narcotics or precursor chemicals, but it is a major transit country for drugs originating in Afghanistan and destined for markets in Russia, Western Europe, and the United States. As in past years, experts still estimate that 20 metric tons (20,000 kilograms) of narcotics transit through the Kyrgyz Republic each year. The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic attempts to combat drug trafficking and prosecute offenders, but is constrained by limited resources. The government has been supportive of international and regional efforts to limit drug trafficking and has supported major initiatives to address its own domestic drug use problems.
In September 2009, the government implemented a series of reforms that shifted counternarcotics responsibilities to the Ministry of Internal Affairs from the Drug Control Agency. The Ministry of Internal Affairs is reviewing plans for integrating Drug Control Agency personnel and equipment into the ministry.
II. Status of Country
The Kyrgyz Republic borders China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Mountainous terrain, poor road conditions, and an inhospitable climate for much of the year make detection and apprehension of drug traffickers difficult. Border stations located on mountain passes on the Chinese and Tajik borders are snow covered and unstaffed for up to four months of the year. These isolated passes are open to drug traffickers during this period. Government outposts and interdiction forces rarely have electricity, running water or modern amenities to support their counternarcotics efforts. The Kyrgyz Republic is one of the poorest countries in Central Asia and does not have major natural resources or significant industry. The south and southwest regions—the Osh and Batken districts—are important trafficking routes used for drug shipments from Afghanistan. The city of Osh, in particular, is the main crossroads for road and air traffic and a primary transfer point for narcotics into Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and on to markets in Russia and Western Europe. The Kyrgyz Republic is not a major producer of narcotics; however, cannabis, ephedra and poppy grow wild in some areas. As of July 2009, there were no active eradication activities planned for the plants that grow wild.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. In September 2009, the government reorganized key government agencies and ministries, including the Drug Control Agency, in an attempt to streamline government operations. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the government are reviewing plans to integrate Drug Control Agency operations, equipment and personnel into the ministry. However, the elimination of the Drug Control Agency is a significant blow to regional counternarcotics efforts, as the agency had the advantage of having vetted officers, international funding, and a higher degree of professionalism.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Over the past year, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic has made a series of high profile drug seizures, culminating in the single largest seizure (38 kilograms) of liquid heroin in the region. During the first half of 2009, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic increased the amount of seizures of major drugs (heroin, opium and hashish) compared to the same period in 2008. During the first six months of 2009, authorities seized 179 kilograms of heroin, 118 kilograms of opium, and 285 kilograms of hashish. Seizure data for the rest of 2009 are not yet available.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, corruption remains a serious problem and a deterrent to effective law enforcement efforts. In 2008, four Kyrgyz law enforcement (Ministry of Internal Affairs) officials were identified as participants in narcotics the drug trade. Criminal cases against these individuals are still pending. The Drug Control Agency possesses a relatively good reputation, and its staff went through a thorough vetting procedure and receives substantial salary supplements from the UN/U.S. counternarcotics project. The MobITs (Mobile Interdiction Teams) were also vetted and received polygraph tests, as did all Drug Control Agency agents.
Agreements and Treaties. The Kyrgyz Republic is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The Kyrgyz Republic is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Crime and its Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants.
Cultivation/Production. While there is no significant commercial production of drugs in the Kyrgyz Republic, cannabis and ephedra grow wild over wide areas, especially in the Chui valley region, and around Lake Issyk-Kul. In 2009, there was at least one substantial seizure of locally-produced marijuana, which resulted in the destruction of approximately 1,400 kilograms of marijuana. During 2009, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic did not carry out eradication campaigns against illicit crops.
Drug Flow/Transit. Most of the opiates smuggled through Central Asia in 2009 entered the region through Tajikistan. The Kyrgyz Republic represents the main conduit for onward smuggling. Over the last few years, trafficking activities have remained steady on the long and mountainous border between the Tajik Garm region and Batken in Kyrgyz Republic. Onward smuggling through the Kyrgyz Republic takes drugs mainly to the Uzbek part of the Fergana valley, and across the Northern border into Kazakhstan.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. According to the 2009 national annual report on the “Situation of Narcotics” published by the Kyrgyz National Narcotics Center, the number of illegal drug users increased from 83.4 per 100,000population in 1998 to 172.5 per 100,000 population in 2008. The report’s data only includes illegal drug users that register with the National Narcotics Center at the Ministry of Health and the real number of addicts is almost certainly higher, considering the disincentive to register.
The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic lacks the resources to address effectively drug abuse and the related HIV/AIDS problems. In addition, insufficient funding is hampering prevention and treatment programs and training of professional staff. Programs providing treatment for drug users in the Kyrgyz Republic are conducted by state institutions in partnership with civil sector organizations. UNODC also has a number of drug treatment assistance programs in the Kyrgyz Republic.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
The Road Ahead. The Ministry of Interior is reviewing plans for integrating Drug Control Agency personnel and equipment into the ministry. As of January 31, 2010, the U.S. will end funding of a U.S. Drug Enforcement agent on temporary duty at the Drug Control Agency in Bishkek.
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) made tremendous progress in reducing opium poppy cultivation between 2000 and 2008. Poppy cultivation gains remain precarious, however. Estimates by the 2009 UNODC helicopter survey, funded by the USG and with the participation of U.S. Embassy staff, estimated that about 1,900 hectares (range between 1,100 to 2,700 hectares, with 90 percent confidence interval) of poppy were cultivated This is an increase from the previous year by some 300 ha or 19 percent. The USG completed a partial survey in Laos of the Phongsali growing area—which is the main poppy growing region in Laos—and estimated that 1,000 hectares of poppy were cultivated in 2009, which was similar to the amount there the previous year.
Remaining opium poppy planting is generally in areas near borders with China, Vietnam, and Burma. There is reason to believe that part of the production in these border areas is for export sales or even “contract opium farming” by traffickers in adjacent countries where enforcement measures are stronger. The recently expanded planting reflects higher opium prices, convenient trafficking routes, and the extreme poverty and food shortages in these areas. Most poppy is grown in areas that have received little or no development assistance.
Both awareness programs and treatment capacity targeting abuse of methamphetamines increased during 2009, but remain insufficient and ineffective in responding to the rapidly rising level of methamphetamine abuse which now affects every socio-economic group in Lao society. Law enforcement capacity is inadequate to establish an effective deterrent to regional and international trafficking organizations. This, in addition to its central geographic location, makes Laos an important transit route for Southeast Asian heroin, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), and precursor chemicals en route to other nations in the region. This transit drug trade includes criminal gangs with links in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the United States, as well as in other parts of Asia. Laos also continues to be a major source for raw opium being sent to the United States; conservative estimates are that in 2009 over 1,000 pounds of opium originating from Laos was sent to the United States, mostly via small parcels.
Engagement between Lao law enforcement and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has increased over the past two years. The Lao government, however, has placed limitations on cooperation with DEA and other regional law enforcement partners. The Lao are receptive to training opportunities, but restrict the timely exchange of actionable information on drug trafficking. Counternarcotics law enforcement in Laos continues to be weak. Laos is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
While the Lao Government is seeking additional international support for tackling drug control problems, few donors show significant interest in reducing illegal poppy cultivation or drug addiction, preferring to focus assistance on rural poverty alleviation and food security in general. Higher prices for unprocessed opium (up from $900 in 2007 to $1,600–$2,500/kilogram in 2009) are driven by a reduction in supply, regional demand, and a residual number of opium addicts. The opium addict population in Laos is now estimated at nearly 16,000, including some 8,000 relapsed addicts. Many former poppy growers, finding themselves without the assistance they expected, continue to face severe staple food shortages (rice), a prime cause of a return to opium planting. Rice purchase prices have decreased somewhat (12 percent) from 2008, but remain higher in most areas than in earlier years, which means former opium growers are often hard pressed to purchase rice to make up for food deficits. Only sustainable rural development in the mountainous north, with alternative livelihood programs for former poppy cultivators, will enable the Laotian authorities to sustainably eliminate opium cultivation.
Amphetamine-Type Substances (ATS), primarily methamphetamine, constitute the greatest current and expanding drug abuse problem in Laos. There are currently an estimated 50,000-60,000 ATS addicts, with about 200,000 occasional users, though the last UNODC survey was conducted in 2004. ATS abuse, once confined primarily to urban youth, is now more common among rural peoples, especially in towns and villages along major roadways. The scope of this problem has overwhelmed the country’s limited capacity to enforce laws against sale and abuse of illegal drugs, and to provide effective treatment to addicts. Petty crime in Lao cities and towns, some involving violence, has increased significantly in recent years, with much of the cause for the increase attributed by the Lao Government to ATS abuse. ATS in Laos is largely consumed in tablet form, but drug abuse treatment centers and hospitals report admission of a growing number of users who have injected ATS. Continued emphasis on drug abuse prevention, comprehensive drug awareness programs, increased capacity to provide treatment to addicts, and post-detox follow-up are all essential to control the growth in domestic demand for ATS. There are no effective drug addiction education and prevention programs for young people, either students or school leavers in Laos. Government health services are relatively competent at opium addict treatment after 20 years of experience, but treatment of ATS addicts is just beginning and is sorely inadequate. Relapse prevention is also lacking and there is little or no follow up post treatment.
Heroin abuse in Laos, once limited to foreign workers and tourists, has emerged as a growing problem in highland areas bordering Vietnam, with some heroin abuse also being reported in cities. Heroin is trafficked through Laos and on to such countries as China and Vietnam. Injected heroin is competing with smoked opium as the favored method for drug abuse in some ethnic minority communities, bringing with it an attendant potential for increased transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases. The Lao government is working to develop a treatment capacity to address this new problem, but at present there is only one facility in Laos which has even a marginal capability to address heroin abuse.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Laos finalized and officially disseminated a significant new drug control policy initiative in 2009, the “National Drug Control Master Plan (2009-2013): A Five Year Strategy to Address the Illicit Drug Control Problem in the Lao P.D.R.” It is posted in English translation on the UNODC Laos website.
The Master Plan is a document that summarizes activities and proposed budgets for comprehensively addressing the challenges of drug crop control, demand reduction and law enforcement. The assistance requested from the international donor community to implement the Master Plan totals some $72 million over five years, with $44 million requested for crop control, $16 million for demand reduction (including the threat of HIV/AIDS infection) and $9 million for improvements to the criminal justice system and law enforcement. Some donor support has been forthcoming, with new alternative development projects valued at several million dollars each announced by the German Government and the European Union, working in association with UNODC. The Australian Government announced funding for a multi-year, $4 million program to address the risks of injectible drug use and the spread of HIV/AIDs.
But without stronger international donor support, Laos could revert to being a major opium producer, and risks becoming an even more important transit point for regional and international drug trafficking, given its weak law enforcement capacity and a high corruption rating (see Transparency International 2009 report).
Law Enforcement Efforts. The economic value of drug trafficking in Laos, both domestic-oriented and international, is estimated in the National Drug Control Plan of 2009 to be between $350–$700 million, or about 10 percent of the country’s estimated $4 billion GDP. In contrast, the relative contribution to 2008 GDP of mining was about $252 million, tourism was estimated at $234 million, and hydropower/electricity production was about $147 million. Increasing property crime, the growth of youth gangs, drug trafficking gangsters, the increased presence of West African drug gangs and dealers, growing methamphetamine addiction and the emergence of heroin addiction among Lao and ethnic minority groups all suggest that trafficking in drugs for internal sale and abuse in Laos is increasing. Individuals or small-scale merchants undertake the majority of street-level methamphetamine sales. Criminal gangs involved in drug trafficking across border areas adjacent to Vietnam, China, Thailand and Burma, including ethnic minority groups operating on both sides of those borders, constitute a particular problem for Lao law enforcement. Such cross-border gangs now reportedly play a leading role in the expansion of injected heroin use in northern Laos, and in the cultivation of marijuana for export from central and southern provinces to neighboring countries.
Laos’ law enforcement and criminal justice institutions remain inadequate to deal effectively with the problems created by domestic sale and abuse of illegal drugs and international trafficking in drugs, chemical precursors and other contraband. Laos does not currently possess the means to accurately assess the extent of production, transport or distribution of ATS or its precursors. There was a significant increase in seizures of ATS transiting through Laos to neighboring countries in 2008 and early 2009. The number of reported drug arrest cases rose in 2008 by 63 percent.
Laos’ principal narcotics law enforcement office is the Department of Drug Control (DCD) within the Ministry of Public Security. At the provincial level, DCD’s counterparts are the Counter Narcotics Units (CNUs), the first of which was created in 1994 and which now exist as elements of provincial police in most provinces. The CNUs, however, remain generally under-staffed, poorly equipped, under-resourced, and with personnel inadequately trained and experienced to deal with the drug law enforcement environment in Laos. CNUs in most provinces are generally staffed by fewer than 15 officials. The average annual budget of a typical provincial CNU (excluding salaries) is only about $3,000. Shortages of office supplies and operational (non-lethal) equipment are endemic. Given other priorities, CNUs are given only marginal budget support by provincial governments.
This limited law enforcement presence in rural areas creates an obvious vulnerability to establishment of clandestine drug production or processing activities. There are persistent but unconfirmed reports of some methamphetamine laboratories operating in northwest Laos. Assistance provided by the U.S., UNODC, Luxembourg, South Korea, Australia, and China has mitigated equipment, training, and skills deficiencies of the CNUs to some extent. Lao drug enforcement and criminal justice institutions have demonstrated an inability to investigate and develop prosecutable cases against significant drug traffickers. Prosecutions that do occur almost exclusively involve street-level drug pushers or couriers. Following a major Lao interagency seminar in June 2009 regarding the regional problems of West African drug trafficking, the Lao government did act to curb the number of West African drug gang members operating in Laos by ending the practice of granting “visas upon arrival” to holders of African passports. This policy measure alone greatly reduced the number of Africans visibly present in the country, although the impact on the volume of African-related drug trafficking cannot be verified. Other measures taken included a tighter scrutiny of work permits issued to Africans, and instructions for hotels and guest houses to scrutinize registration documents of foreign guests. The seminar clearly prompted the Lao government to take these policy actions. In 2009, Lao Police also arrested West Africans and other foreigners with significant quantities of cocaine and heroin in their possession.
In December 2007, the Lao National Assembly passed a drug law (Law on Drugs and Article 46 of the Penal Law), signed by the Prime Minister in early 2008, that defines what substances are prohibited and which pharmaceuticals are permissible for medical use. The law also outlines criminal penalties for possession and contains provisions for asset seizure. Prosecutors still lack legal means to seize assets of convicted drug traffickers except for those assets that were clearly involved in the drug trafficking offense. Extrajudicial asset seizures reportedly occur in some cases. In March 2009, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a “Decree” pursuant to the revised drug law to clarify criminal liability, which specified the types of prohibited drugs (38), the types of controlled drugs and chemical substances (92), types of drugs which could be used or mixed for both medicinal and illicit purposes (68), and a list of chemical precursors which could be used for illicit purposes (32 including caffeine). Other provisions of the decree detail the specific roles of Lao government agencies, including the LCDC and its provincial counterparts, in counternarcotics efforts. The extent to which these implementing regulations have been distributed and understood in the provinces is unknown.
Corruption. There continue to be credible allegations of corruption in the ranks of the Lao police and criminal justice system, as elsewhere in Lao society. In late 2009, a Lao police major was arrested by Thai police after he was found to be transporting over six kilos of methamphetamine into Thailand. It is commonly understood within Lao society that police, customs officers, and prosecutors can be paid to not perform their duties. Assessing fines, whether formal or informal, is often preferred by law enforcement authorities to going through the process of prosecuting and sentencing drug traffickers.
In 2008, the Government’s “Anti Corruption Committee” was moved from the party organization to the Prime Minister’s Office, and designated the “State Inspection Authority,” UNODC, UNDP and the French government have assistance programs for “good governance” which are intended to build the capacity and legal basis for this new Authority. However, corruption in Laos is at serious risk of increasing as the flow of illicit drugs and precursors through Laos grows. Lao civil service pay is inadequate, and those able to exploit their official positions, particularly police and customs officials, can augment their salaries through corruption. Lao law explicitly prohibits official corruption, and some officials have been removed from office and/or prosecuted for corrupt acts. The Lao PDR has made fighting corruption one of its declared policy priorities although enforcement of such policies remains weak and not well publicized. The 2009 international corruption ratings issued by Transparency International continued to indicate a deteriorating situation in Laos. In 2006, the first year that Laos was rated by TI, Laos ranked 111 on a global list of 179 countries with a “corruption index” of 2.6 (on a scale from 10 to 1, from least corrupt to most corrupt). Laos has since then steadily fallen to its current 2009 rating of 168 on a global list of 180 countries, with an index of 2.0
As a matter of government policy, Laos strongly opposes the illicit production or distribution of narcotic drugs, psychotropic or other controlled substances, and the laundering of the proceeds of illegal drug transactions. No senior official of the Lao PDR has been shown to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of illegal drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds of illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. The USG signed initial agreements to provide international narcotics control assistance in Laos in 1990, and has signed further Letters of Agreement (LOAs) to provide additional assistance to projects for Crop Control, Drug Demand Reduction, and Law Enforcement Cooperation annually since then. Laos has no bilateral extradition or mutual legal assistance agreements with the United States. During 2009, the U.S. made no requests to Laos to deliver suspects or fugitives on drug offenses to the United States under any formal or informal arrangement. Laos is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. It has made substantial progress in the control of opium cultivation, production and addiction, but has not yet achieved all objectives of the 1988 UN Convention. Laos is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention and in 2009 ratified and acceded to the 1972 Amending Protocol to the Single Convention. Laos is a party to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Laos is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its three protocols. In September 2009, Laos ratified and became a full member of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). Laos had first signed this Convention in December 2003. Laos has declared its support for the ASEAN initiative to promote a drug-free region by 2015. Laos has extradition treaties with China, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. The Lao PDR has assisted in the arrest and delivery of individuals to some of those nations, but does not use formal extradition procedures in all cases.
Cultivation/Production. The 2009 UNODC aerial survey of opium poppy production in Laos, funded by INL, estimated cultivation at 1,900 hectares (with a range of 1,100—2,700 ha), an increase of 19 percent over 2008. Most of the remaining poppy cultivation observed in the survey was encountered in remote areas of three Northern provinces: Phongsaly, Luang Namtha and Houaphan. The greatest opium poppy cultivation was observed in Phongsaly and Houaphan provinces, which also have the largest numbers of opium addicts. Unlike in 2008, the survey showed that opium planting areas had increased significantly in border areas to a commercial scale far beyond the local requirements of Lao opium addicts. UNODC estimated 2009 opium production at around 11.4 metric tons, up from some 9.6 metric tons in 2008. Estimated yields continued to be low at about 6 kilograms/ha. The USG conducted a partial satellite survey in Laos in 2009 and estimates that 1,000 hectares of poppy were grown in the Phongsali growing area, which could potentially produce 10.6 metric tons of opium. UNODC reported an average price for opium in Laos of $2,000/kilogram, nearly four times the $550/kilogram reported in 2006. Some border areas reported prices as high as $2,500 per kilogram. Most opium produced in Laos is consumed domestically in northern areas, where raw and cooked opium is smoked or eaten. The share of the opium product in Laos that is refined into heroin is thought to be very small. UNODC surveys show that about 5 percent of opium smokers are now converting to heroin or otherwise becoming “poly drug users,” adding ATS type drugs to their choice of drugs, with the numbers rising especially among younger persons.
The USG crop control projects implemented in Laos from 1990 to 2006 did not employ chemical herbicides or any other form of compulsory eradication of opium poppy. The government of Laos began forced eradication in 2003, and since 2006, USG crop control assistance has supported the limited use of involuntary eradication (by hand) by Lao authorities. Only when individual farmers are found attempting to repeatedly cultivate poppy are their crops eradicated. Since declaring Laos to be formally opium-free in 2006 (a policy assertion it justifies by arguing that eradication reduces harvestable cultivation to insignificant levels), the Lao PDR has stated that compulsory poppy eradication may be carried out in selected areas where alternative development programs are not available, or have not by themselves sufficed to reduce and eliminate poppy cultivation. Following release of the results of the 2008-9 opium survey in December 2009, the UNODC Resident Representative in Laos stated that the situation of the farm population that had depended primarily on poppy cultivation for cash income remains “precarious” and that “the current reduction in cultivation is dependent on the existence and creation of appropriate and sustainable livelihood opportunities.” However, UNODC asserts that international donor support for such alternative development programs continues to diminish. UNODC has reported that many former opium growers have survived the loss of income from opium only by consuming their savings, generally in the form of livestock and depleting local non-timber forest products.
In 2008, the World Food Program published its “Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis Report (CFSVA)” for Laos. The report notes that on average 13 percent of the rural population is chronically short of staple food (3-6 months per year), 20 percent of all children are seriously malnourished, and 60 percent of the population are vulnerable to slipping back into serious food shortages if natural calamities destroy or reduce food crop production. Recognizing the particular vulnerability of remote mountain areas, WFP in 2008 began a two-year “protracted food emergency program” in three northern provinces. The program targets areas where opium was once grown that have developed no income alternatives as yet. WFP provides an emergency food (rice) ration of three months to over 200 such villages. This program continued in 2009.
Illicit drug seizures indicate continuing “contract” cannabis cultivation in central Laos. Use of cannabis as a traditional food seasoning in some Lao localities complicates attempts to eradicate this crop.
Drug Flow/Transit. The Mekong River and remote mountainous regions dominate Laos’ highly porous borders, over 5,000 kilometers in length. This terrain is notoriously difficult to control, and is permeable to trafficking of illicit drugs or other contraband, although there are no reliable estimates of the volume of such flows. An increase in the number and size of seizures in neighboring countries of drugs that reportedly passed in transit through Laos indicate a rapidly growing transit problem. Illegal drug flows include methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, precursor chemicals, and even cocaine (originating from Latin America) destined for other countries in the region, some of which is diverted for consumption in Laos. Opium from Laos is shipped regularly to the U.S. via parcel post and commercial express packages. New regional transportation infrastructure, trade agreements, and special economic zones intended to facilitate regional trade and development may inadvertently also benefit transnational criminal trafficking organizations. Border checkpoints are few and far between.
The opening of two new transit arteries in Southeast Asia that pass through Laos, one a continuous east–west paved highway running from Danang in central Vietnam to ports in Burma or near Bangkok, and the other a north to south all weather road from Kunming (Yunnan, China) to Bangkok, have further complicated the already difficult challenge posed by illicit transit of drugs or other contraband for Lao law enforcement and border control agencies. Laos is not a principal destination for the majority of cargo that transits its territory, but the volume of traffic overwhelms Laos’ limited capacity for border control. In addition to increased trade volume, new bilateral and regional trade agreements will also likely result in proportionally fewer cargo inspections and a greater reliance on intelligence to identify suspect shipments of drugs or other contraband. Laos, which has very limited capabilities in this area, will have to rely substantially on regional cooperation with its neighbors to effectively impede trafficking in illegal drugs or other contraband. In addition, three major gambling casinos have opened in the past year along these new international road networks, with principal investors from Mainland China and Macau.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Laos made some limited advances during 2009 in reducing the demand for and consumption of illicit drugs. Four new provincial drug addiction treatment facilities were constructed in 2007, but only two of these began offering any effective services in 2009. The operational costs and staffing of such provincial treatment centers are provided (or frequently, not provided) from limited provincial budgets, so their capacity and effectiveness has been very limited.
In general, the operating capacity of existing facilities remains well short of the reported numbers of drug addicts in Laos. Available evidence suggests that many untreated addicts turn to crime as a means to support their addiction. Most existing treatment facilities are notably deficient in staff proficiency, systematic operations, counseling, effective occupational therapy or training, post-discharge follow-up and relapse prevention. The U.S. is providing assistance to several treatment facilities in Laos to enhance their capabilities to offer some worthwhile occupational therapy and skills training prior to release. A new U.S.-supported program to develop modern media materials for use in national drug awareness efforts was implemented in early 2009 using hip hop music and youth-oriented materials; there has been strong demand for the music and materials.
Estimates by the Lao PDR in 2009 indicate that the number of remaining opium addicts has plateaued at approximately 16,000 persons, after years of steady declines. Many opium addicts may remain unreported living in distant areas. Recidivism after attempted treatment and rehabilitation is estimated at approximately 40 percent but there has been no systematic survey. Information about follow-on rehabilitation is scanty, with some good results reported by UNODC alternative development projects. The LCDC reported that some 1,770 opium addicts in 8 northern provinces were provided with detox treatment in 2009 under an INL-funded program with the UNODC and the LCDC.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation. Most U.S. counternarcotics assistance to Laos over the past two decades has supported the successful effort to reduce poppy cultivation in Laos to a historically low level. U.S. crop control assistance continued at a diminished level in 2009, focusing on a large number of former opium growing communities that had not yet received assistance in identifying alternative income sources. The Law Enforcement and Narcotics Affairs Section (LENS) in Vientiane focused its efforts with the LCDC on administering village-based alternative livelihood programs (mainly crops and livestock) in three northern provinces, working in six districts with some 40 villages. LENS also provided funding support for UNODC rural development programs in areas of Houaphan Province where poppy cultivation remains high.
As poppy cultivation has declined, a greater proportion of U.S. counternarcotics assistance has been devoted to demand reduction and law enforcement activities. During 2009, the LENS in Vientiane worked closely with the LCDC and the Ministry of Health on enhancements to methamphetamine abuse treatment centers in Laos’ two largest cities, such as basic psychiatric care training for treatment center staff, as well as on a variety of national drug awareness and prevention programs. One of the more successful efforts using INL funding has been an innovative occupational therapy program at the Somsanga Drug Treatment Center operated in cooperation with UNODC. Several hundred previously idle youth in the rehabilitation section are now busy with a variety of training activities. The groundwork was also laid this year for a school-based addiction prevention program and a “half-way house” program for long term opium addicts. U.S. law enforcement assistance funds supported operational costs, training and equipment for DCD, provincial CNUs and the Lao Customs Department. Training was also provided to the Lao Prosecutors Office under the INL-funded U.S. Department of Justice Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) program, and an anti-money laundering seminar delivered to Ministry of Finance and MOPS personnel by the U.S. Treasury Department. This was complemented by continuing regular Lao participation (over 100 persons in 2009) in INL-funded regional training opportunities offered by the U.S. and Thailand at the International Law Enforcement Academies in Bangkok and Roswell, New Mexico. The LENS office also funded a Lao interagency workshop on West African drug traffickers that featured a DEA presentation on this regional problem.
The Road Ahead. Laos’ two-decade effort to sustainably eliminate opium poppy cultivation has made great progress, but the task is by no means complete. Further economic development is necessary in the northern highlands to achieve food security, integration with the legal national economy, and higher human development indicators generally. Most of this will come from broader rural development planning and assistance, but assistance targeted at former poppy growers and opium addicts remains necessary to ensure that poppy is completely abandoned. Providing alternative incomes to opium poppy cultivation and market access for remote areas remain key roles for continuing U.S. crop control assistance. The Lao PDR is working to develop greater capacity for dealing with growing addiction to methamphetamines, as well as to other illegal drugs. Existing programs to educate youth and other vulnerable groups on the dangers of methamphetamine addiction are important to success. Drug abuse treatment availability is also crucial to reducing the demand for illicit drugs.
Increased law enforcement cooperation with neighbors and other partners, including the United States, will be necessary for Laos to respond effectively to domestic and international drug trafficking activity. INL law enforcement funds will be used to increase capacity for effective cooperation, while DEA continues to provide operational expertise and help tie Lao law enforcement into broader channels of counternarcotics information. Lao authorities, however, remain cautious about engaging with other countries on law enforcement, and prefer to focus on crop control and demand reduction. The new Lao National Drug Control Master Plan (2009-2013) aims to address many of the problems noted here, but implementation would seem to require both greater exertion of Lao political will and substantial and sustained support from development partners. Laos has made considerable progress in some areas of its counternarcotics efforts, but great challenges remain.
As in previous years, drug use in Latvia is characterized by the continued prevalence of cannabis and synthetics. Although relatively few drugs are produced in Latvia, criminals involved in the illegal drug trade use Latvia as a transit country. Unfortunately, budget constraints caused by the severe national economic crisis have decreased Latvia’s ability to provide drug rehabilitation and prevention services. Latvia is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
The number of drug-related crimes recorded by the Latvian government in the first nine months of 2009 was almost 11 percent higher than in the corresponding time period in 2008. The total number of drug seizures in the same time period was also slightly higher. However, the volumes of seized drugs fluctuated widely due to the relatively small volumes of drugs seized overall, with large increases in the volume of heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines seized but decreases in the volume of cocaine, Ecstasy and amphetamines seized. Drugs are distributed in venues that attract youth, such as nightclubs, discotheques, gambling centers and “rave” parties, but Latvian police have made a concerted effort to combat drug sales in those locations. Latvia itself is not a significant producer of synthetic drugs or their precursor chemicals, but officials believe that a significant quantity of diverted synthetics and their pre-precursors originate in neighboring countries and transit Latvia en route to other countries. Control of some cocaine smuggling through the Baltic region is directed by Latvian organized crime groups in coordination with other organized crime groups. Russia is the most likely final market for this cocaine. Due to reductions in the health services budget, the government has closed some drug treatment programs and reduced the services offered in others. The government has also decreased funding for drug prevention programs
III. Country Action Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Latvia completed an evaluation of its State Program for the Restriction and Control of Addiction and the Spread of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances for the years 2005 to 2008. The report concluded that the program was successful and authorities have managed to maintain stable control over drug use and trade, given the fact that the Latvian authorities could not influence external factors, such as the effects of joining the Schengen zone.
Government ministries prepared an Action Plan for the Restriction and Control of Addiction and the Spread of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances for 2009, which had the same priorities as the State Program and was intended to guide Latvia’s efforts until a new State Program could be adopted, but this short term plan was not adopted by the government. The government is currently developing a new State Program for 2010 to 2013, which the government plans to formally consider and accept next year.
In 2006 a program called “HIV/AIDS prevention and care among injecting drug users and in prison settings in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania” was initiated with UN funding. The goal of the project is to establish a favorable environment in all project countries to better implement HIV/AIDS prevention and care activities among injection drug users and in prisons. The program is scheduled to last from 2006 to 2010.
Peperzine, a new synthetic drug from Western Europe was added to the Latvian list of controlled substances in 2009.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Due to the economic crisis, the Latvian government cut the State Police budget, and significantly reduced the salaries of police officers. However, the number of personnel at the Latvian Central Criminal Police’s Narcotics Combating Office has not changed.
Latvian law enforcement targets both street level drug dealers, through traffic stops and raids in nightclubs, and large international drug trafficking organizations through cooperation with the United States DEA and other nations. For example, in 2009 the Central Criminal Police concluded a 20-month investigation in which they worked in close concert with other European countries and Ecuador to target a drug smuggling conspiracy led by a major Latvian organized crime figure. In addition, in November of 2008 the State Police discovered the largest cannabis growing farm ever in Latvia, containing 1,905 cannabis plants.
The total number of drug seizures in Latvia in the first nine months of 2009 was slightly higher than the corresponding time period in 2008, but the volumes of various drugs fluctuated widely. In the first nine months of 2009, the weight of heroin confiscated by the Latvian police increased by 112 percent compared to the first nine months of 2008, although the number of confiscations was up only 9.7 percent in the same time period. The weight of marijuana confiscated was 124.4 percent higher in the same time period, but the number of confiscations was only 7 percent higher. Methamphetamines seizures, the most frequently seized drug, were up 66 percent by volume and 3 percent by the number of seizures. Latvian police seized 84 percent less cocaine in the same time period but the number of seizures increased by almost 23 percent. Ecstasy and amphetamines seizures decreased both in volume (94 percent and 45 percent respectively) and number (78 percent and 21 percent respectively). The number of drug-related crimes recorded by the Latvian government in the first nine months of 2009 was almost 11 percent higher than in the corresponding time period in 2008. (1597 in 2008 to 1769 in 2009).
Corruption. Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) was established in 2002 to help combat and prevent public corruption. According to a KNAB official, the bureau has not uncovered any evidence of narcotics-related-corruption connected to high-ranking officials.
However, corruption generally remains a problem in Latvia and there have been cases involving relatively low-ranking government officials that have implications for narcotics control. For example, in 2009 KNAB asked prosecutors to bring criminal charges against a fellow prosecutor for accepting bribes from a person involved in narcotics distribution. KNAB also asked prosecutors to bring criminal charges against a customs official at the Riga port for attempting to accept a bribe in return for not inspecting a container
As a matter of government policy, Latvia does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Latvia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol. A 1923 extradition and a 1934 supplementary extradition treaty between the U.S. and Latvia have been replaced by a comprehensive new extradition treaty which entered into force in April 15, 2009. The United States and Latvia are parties to a mutual legal assistance agreement (MLAT) which entered into force on September 17, 1999, and both governments have also ratified and exchanged instruments regarding a Protocol to the MLAT, which will come into force when the MLAT between the European Union and the United States comes into force, February 1, 2010. Latvia is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling and illegal manufacturing and trafficking in firearms.
Cultivation/Production. Latvia is not a major drug producing country, but relatively small amounts of drugs are produced in Latvia. For example, local police have discovered a few marijuana growing operations in the last few years. Criminal groups in Latvia also produce quantities of amphetamines, as well as methamphetamine, primarily for export to markets in Scandinavia.
Drug Flow/Transit. The drug transit situation in Latvia did not significantly change in the past year. Latvia is not a transit route for drugs destined for the United States. Most drugs transiting Latvia are destined for the Nordic countries, Russia or Western Europe. Criminals transport precursor chemicals for synthetic drugs,, such as ecstasy and amphetamines, and other drugs through Latvia. Heroin transiting Latvia is predominantly Afghan in origin and comes via the “Northern Route” through former Soviet Central Asia. Cocaine in small amounts also transits Latvia, typically arriving via maritime routes from South America and transported onward to Russia
Criminals commonly drive synthetic drugs produced in Lithuania to Riga and then transport the drugs by ferry to Sweden. Benzyl Methyl Ketone (BMK), a chemical precursor for the production of amphetamines, is produced in Russia and also transported through Latvia en route to other European destinations.
Local and foreign organized crime groups smuggle cocaine through the Baltic region, and some of it goes through Latvian route to Russia. Latvian organized crime groups send cocaine hidden in commercial vessels from Guayaquil, Ecuador to St. Petersburg, and some groups drive vehicles with concealed cocaine overland from the Benelux countries to Latvia and Lithuania.
Latvia became a Schengen country on December 21, 2007, thus opening its borders to other Schengen Treaty states of the European Union. The Latvian State Police reported that the greatest rise in narcotics trafficking in Latvia occurred when it became an EU country in 2004. Police do not believe the change after Schengen accession has been significant.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The 2005-2008 national strategy addressed demand reduction, education, and drug treatment programs. Under that strategy the following objectives were achieved: establishment of a co-ordination mechanism for institutions involved in combating drug addiction (involving eight ministries); holding educational events for teachers and parents, as well as updated educational materials and informative booklets; inclusion of information on drug addiction in school curriculums; establishment of a pilot program for teaching prevention of drug addiction, alcohol abuse and smoking; pilot programs on drug addiction for local governments; education programs for members of the armed forces; and mechanisms for information exchange amongst relevant institutions.
Budget cuts threaten to reduce some of these programs. For example, in 2009 the national government stopped funding the Riga Addiction Prevention Center, which organizes drug education programs in Riga. The Riga City Council now funds the center, although at a reduced level.
Due to the economic crisis and the accompanying budget cuts, the Latvian government reduced the services offered by publicly funded drug treatment and rehabilitation programs. The government closed the drug treatment program in Rindzele. The Riga Centre of Psychiatry and Addictions, the name of the State Narcotics Center since 2007, continues to offer a drug rehabilitation program, but the government reduced funding from a level that supported the care of 15 patients at a time to a level that only supports the care of two patients. Additional patients must pay 150 LVL ($318) per month, a significant amount in Latvia. Government funded regional narcotics addiction treatment centers in Jelgava, Daugavpils, Liepaja, and Straupe continue to operate. Private rehabilitation centers in Riga and publicly funded youth rehabilitation centers in Jaunpiebalga, Gailezers and Straupe also continue to operate.
2008 data on drug treatment clients show a modest increase in the number of patients treated at publicly funded in-or out-patient treatment programs. The number of those treated for the first time at out-patient treatment centers in 2008 increased by 5 percent compared to 2007 (659 in 2008 and 627 in 2007). Data show that approximately every fifth problem drug or injection drug user sought treatment in 2008. Preliminary analysis indicates that the number of those treated at in-patient programs has increased by the same percentage as out-patient programs. The number of patients treated in 2009 will probably decrease, given the reduced services offered by the publicly funded health care system.
In December 2006, a four-year UNODC project called “HIV/AIDS prevention and care among injection drug and in-prison settings in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania” was initiated. The programs focus includes substitution treatment and other support services. A local NGO manages syringe exchange centers, including a mobile exchange center, and provides psychological and social counseling to addicts.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The United States offers assistance on investigating and prosecuting drug offenses and organized crime to Latvian enforcement officials. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Latvia Central Criminal Police continue to conduct joint investigations in an effort to disrupt and dismantle Latvian-based organized crime groups that operate both regionally and internationally. In 2009 a USCG Mobile Training Team visited Latvia in 2009 to provide a course on advanced boarding of suspect vessels.
The Road Ahead. The United States will continue to aggressively pursue and deepen law enforcement cooperation with Latvia, especially in the area of money laundering and border control. The United States will also encourage Latvia to work with regional partners to advance the mutual fight against narcotics trafficking.
Lebanon is not a major illicit drug producing or drug-transit country. The Lebanese government reported ongoing cannabis cultivation in 2009, and increased drug use particularly among the young, due to greater availability and reduced price of most drugs sold in Lebanon. During 2009, Lebanon undertook eradication efforts in the Bekaa Valley and claimed to have destroyed nearly all cannabis and opium production. This is significant since between 2005 and 2007, the Drug Enforcement Bureau (DEB) of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) of Lebanon undertook almost no crop destruction operations due to ongoing political crises and overstretched security commitments on the part of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which provide security for the police involved in crop destruction. However, illicit crop cultivation remains an attractive option for some farmers due to a lack of economically viable alternate crops. There is practically no illicit drug refining in Lebanon. The majority of drug refining labs are very small in scale and incapable of producing large amounts of illicit narcotics. There is minimal production, trading or transit of precursor chemicals.
Drug trafficking across the Lebanese-Syrian border continued in 2009, in large part due to the absence of effective border controls along the two countries’ long common border. The UN peacekeeping force on the Lebanese-Israeli border, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon(UNIFL), also reported continued drug smuggling across the Lebanese-Israeli border in 2009. Lebanon is a transit country for cocaine and heroin, with Lebanese nationals operating in concert with drug traffickers from Colombia and South America. The government of Lebanon continued its ongoing drug demand reduction efforts through public service messages and awareness campaigns. Lebanon is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
At least five types of drugs are available in Lebanon: hashish, heroin, cocaine, amphetamine, and other synthetics such as MDMA (Ecstasy). The use of hashish and heroin continues to rise. Although eradication efforts have diminished the supply of marijuana and hashish, the drugs are still relatively easy to obtain and readily available to the growing number of young users. According to local officials, heroin use is limited but increasing. They also reported an increase in heroin smuggling from Lebanon to Africa. It is believed the heroin is smuggled into Lebanon from Afghanistan via Turkey and Syria and transported by individuals via commercial airlines to Africa. The government also reported increased abuse of synthetic drugs. Lebanon is not considered a major transit country for illicit drugs. There is growing evidence that drug trafficking in Lebanon is in part controlled or facilitated by large scale criminal groups. Lebanese citizens with links to these organizations are a major presence among international drug trafficking and money laundering organizations in South America, and are tied into the highest levels of Colombian traffickers moving cocaine throughout the world. Cannabis and opium derivatives are trafficked to a modest extent in the region, but there is no evidence that the illicit narcotics that transit Lebanon reach the U.S. in significant amounts. South American cocaine, primarily from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, is smuggled into Lebanon via air and sea routes from Europe, Jordan, and Syria, or directly to Lebanon. Lebanese nationals living in South America, in concert with resident Lebanese traffickers, often finance these operations. Synthetic drugs are visible in the market, and Lebanese officials report that they are smuggled into Lebanon primarily from Eastern Europe for sale to high-income recreational users both within Lebanon and for transit to the Gulf States.
The stagnant economic situation in rural Lebanon makes illicit crop cultivation appealing to farmers in the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. Lebanese officials hope that renewed eradication efforts during 2009 will help deter further cultivation. There is no significant illicit drug refining in Lebanon. However, small amounts of precursor chemicals, being shipped from Lebanon to Turkey via Syria, were thought to be diverted for illicit use in Lebanon. Lebanese officials reported an increase in misuse/overuse of prescribed medications. The ISF is working with the Ministry of Health to tighten regulations on the sale of drugs without prescription to lessen the increased consumption and overuse of pain killers such as Tramadol and a codeine-based cough medicine referred to as “Simo.” Legislation passed in 1998 authorized seizure of assets if a drug trafficking nexus is established in court proceedings.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The Ministry of Interior considers counternarcotics a priority. The government has continued a vigorous campaign to discourage drug use by expanding public awareness programs on high school and university campuses, through media campaigns and in advertisements.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Over the last few years, only small quantities of cocaine and heroin arrived in Lebanon to meet local demand. Through September 2009, Lebanese officials seized 6.6 kilograms of cocaine, compared to 61 kilograms in 2008 and 3.5 kilograms in 2007. However, there was a significant increase in the seizure of heroin, with over 68 kilograms seized though September 2009 compared to 14.5 kilograms in 2008 and 2.7 kilograms in 2007. Given the variance in seizures from year to year, it is too early to tell if the increase in heroin seizures constitutes a trend.
Between 2005 and 2007 there were almost no eradication efforts in Lebanon. In both 2006 and 2007, the LAF was unable to provide the requisite security for the ISF because of its commitments in internal conflicts (the Israel/Lebanon war in 2006 and battle against Islamic militants in a northern Palestinian camp in summer 2007). In early 2008 internal sectarian conflicts and political tensions precluded a decision approving eradication. After political tensions eased, the ISF mounted a large policing operation in October 2008, supported by the LAF, in the cannabis growing region of the Bekaa. In a one-week period in October 2008, the ISF arrested over 350 drug dealers and traffickers and seized 83 tons of cannabis plants, 7.5 kilograms of processed hashish, and 1,700 kilograms of cannabis seeds. These aggressive efforts continued into 2009, when the ISF claims to have eradicated 51 acres of opium and 3,237 acres of cannabis. The ISF continues to face the possibility of armed and violent resistance by local farmers when attempting to eradicate crops or when attempting to undertake drug enforcement operations.
Lebanese officials report increased trafficking of Captagon into the domestic market, with 1.3 million tablets seized through September 2009. The vast majority of Captagon seized in Lebanon is destined for the Gulf States, primarily Saudi Arabia. In October 2008, DEA and Colombian authorities arrested three Lebanese nationals suspected of being part of a large-scale international drug trafficking and money-laundering ring that operates globally, from Colombia to the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Middle East.
Lebanese law enforcement officers cooperated with foreign officials bilaterally and through Interpol in 2009. Several European and Persian Gulf countries have drug enforcement liaison offices in Beirut with which local law enforcement authorities cooperate. The ISF stated that from January to October 2009 they arrested a total of 2,059 people for drug use, dealing, distribution, and smuggling.
Corruption. Corruption remains endemic in Lebanon in all levels of government, but the U.S. has no information that government corruption is systematically connected to drug production or trafficking or the protection of persons who deal in illicit drugs. The government of Lebanon does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of controlled substances. While low-level corruption in the counternarcotics forces is possible, there is no evidence of wide-scale corruption within the Judiciary Police or the ISF, who appear to be genuinely dedicated to combating drugs. Lebanon is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption
Agreements and Treaties. Lebanon is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Lebanon is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons.
Cultivation and Production. Lebanon is no longer a significant drug producing country, though there had been an increase in cannabis cultivation for hashish production since 2005, when many farmers appeared to be resuming planting illicit crops because they believed the crops would not be destroyed. In remote areas in the north of the country where few other viable economic options exist, illicit crop production remains an attractive option. Lebanese police claim that they destroyed nearly all of the cannabis and opium cultivation in Lebanon during 2009.
Drug Flow/Transit. Joint Syrian-Lebanese antitrafficking operations, coordinated through Interpol, have continued since the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanese territory in 2005. Lebanon’s eastern border remains porous, and border policing efforts remain ineffective due to political constraints and lack of resources and manpower. UNIFIL and press reports indicate increased drug smuggling incidents on the Blue Line (Lebanese/Israeli border) since the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) and particularly since 2008. The primary route for smuggling hashish from Lebanon during 2009 was overland through Syria to Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and via sea routes to Europe. According to the ISF, large exports of hashish from Lebanon to Europe are more and more difficult for smugglers due to increased seashore patrols and airport control.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Lebanese government and NGOs are actively involved in programs and campaigns to address the problems of illicit drug use in Lebanon. The current (but unimplemented) law on drugs dictates that a National Council on Drugs (NCD) be established to provide substance abuse treatment, prevention and awareness, and to formulate a national action plan. The NCD has not yet been established. Since 2002 the government has sponsored public awareness campaigns to discourage drug use. Textbooks approved for public schools contain a chapter on narcotics awareness. The ISF undertakes demand reduction programs in the schools and community. DEB officers personally speak to youth at high schools and universities on a regular basis.
There are several detoxification and rehabilitation programs, the most comprehensive of which is run by Oum al-Nour (ON), a Beirut-based NGO funded in part by the Ministries of Social Affairs and Public Health. ON operates two drug treatment centers with a maximum capacity of 120 patients and offers a year-long residential program, in addition to its wide range of prevention programs, parents’ and family guidance programs, outpatient follow-up programs, media campaigns, and training and conferences.
Several other organizations also provide prevention and treatment services. A drug rehabilitation center in Zahleh is run by the Saint Charles Hospital and the Ministry of Health. The center holds drug prevention conferences, assemblies and talks throughout the municipality every two weeks, and runs weekly counternarcotics use campaigns in the schools. Skoun, an outpatient facility, has broadened its drug treatment, prevention, awareness, and counseling to drug users and their families throughout Lebanon, including in Sidon, Tripoli and the southern suburbs of Beirut. Skoun is the first treatment center in the Middle East to prescribe buprenorphine maintenance for opiate addicts and continues to lobby with the Ministry of Health for buprenorphine’s formal legalization for use in heroin maintenance during withdrawal. With the aim of better implementing the 1998 law decriminalizing addiction and educating the criminal justice system on the benefits of treatment centers over imprisonment of drug addicts, Skoun has been working since August 2007 to ensure the legal rights of drug addicts through a series of roundtable discussions and workshops designed to sensitize judges, police investigators, heads of police, police recruits, and other public officials on the condition of drug addicts and the laws that govern them. This project is sponsored by the European Union and administered by the office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform. Jeunesse Anti-Drogue (JAD) offers rehabilitation centers, educational programs, medical treatment, and outpatient counseling. Jeunesse Contre la Drogue raises awareness of substance abuse and AIDS. The Association Justice et Misericorde was established to assist incarcerated drug abusers.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. In meetings with Lebanese officials, U.S. officials continued to stress the U.S. commitment to support law enforcement sector development by strengthening the capacity of the ISF to enforce the rule of law in Lebanon, and to punish violators by increasing the capacity of the ISF to combat criminal activities in all forms, including drug trafficking, production and use. The USG also stressed the importance of anticorruption efforts. High-level ISF officials state drug trafficking is the second highest priority of the ISF, second only to antiterrorism efforts.
Bilateral Cooperation. Bilateral law enforcement cooperation has continued to increase during FY 2009. The INL Office at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut has been the major force in furthering these cooperative efforts. The INL Director manages the U.S. Lebanon Police Reform Program with a goal to strengthen the capacity of the ISF to enforce the rule of law in Lebanon through provision of police training and equipment. The excellent working relations between the DEA Country Office in Nicosia, Cyprus, and the DEB were strengthened when 35 DEB officers participated in DEA’s Basic Counter-Narcotics course in December 2008. During 2009, INL funded donations of computers and investigative equipment to the DEB. USAID continued its programs to empower Lebanese municipal governments and civil society to promote transparency, accountability and good governance. The U.S. Coast Guard provided diesel engine maintenance training to enable maritime patrolling, as well as professional military education (PME) to enhance leadership and management skills.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. Embassy in Beirut and DEA Country Office in Nicosia will continue to enhance cooperation and coordination with the Lebanese government and the ISF. Using increased USG assistance funding in support of the security forces of Lebanon, the Embassy and DEA intend to increase in-country training and investigative cooperation and provide necessary equipment for the underfunded ISF counternarcotics unit. To ensure that all Lebanese security agencies with a counternarcotics role are capable of carrying out their mandate, the Embassy and DEA will explore extending U.S. training in counternarcotics strategies to Lebanese customs officers.
Synthetic drugs and cannabis are the most popular illicit narcotics in Lithuania. Lithuania remains a source country for synthetic drugs, as well as a transit route for heroin and other illicit drugs. The Government of Lithuania continued to strengthen efforts to deal with drug trafficking. Seizures of cocaine and heroin significantly increased. The number of people who tried drugs at least once in their lives increased by 67 percent (From 7.5 percent to 11.5 percent) compared to 2004. The number of drug-related crimes increased by 11 percent. Lithuania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
According to the 2008 general population survey on the prevalence of drug use in Lithuania, carried out by the Narcotics Control Department (NCD) every four years, about 12.5 percent of Lithuanians of 15-64 years of age said they had tried drugs at least once in their lifetime compared to 7.5 percent in 2004. While the same percentage (11.9 percent) of Lithuanians said they tried cannabis at least once in their lifetime in 2008 as in 2004, consumption of Ecstasy has increased—in 2008, 2.1 percent of Lithuanians said they had tried Ecstasy at least once in their lives in comparison to one percent in 2004. The relatively low price of these synthetic drugs is one of the main reasons for their popularity. Most drug abuse takes place in nightclubs and discos. Lithuanian enforcement officers also consider prescription tranquilizers a problem—the NCD estimates that about 20 percent of the adult population is misusing or abusing them.
According to the Lithuanian Statistics Department, 60 people died of narcotic or psychotropic substances in 2008, down from 72 people in 2007. Two thirds of the casualties were accidental overdoses. Nearly all drug victims (92 percent) were male.
In 2008, 273 persons applied to medical institutions for treatment of drug problems. The number of patients overall was 5,800 at the end of 2008 (compared to 5,700 in 2007), and approximately 80 percent of these patients were men. Of those getting treatment, 80 percent had been abusing opiates.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Lithuania’s Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Security and Labor, NCD, police, and other institutions implemented a National Program on Drug Control and Prevention of Drug Addiction for 2004-2008. In July, the Government submitted to the Parliament a new National Programme on Drug Control and Prevention of Drug Abuse for 2009-2016, but as of November 1 it had not been approved nor had any budget been allocated. Lithuania has tightened the control of precursors, chemical substances that can be used in the production of narcotics. In July, the Parliament amended the Code of Administrative Violations to impose fines on persons or organizations that do not cooperate with state-authorized officials checking on proper use and handling of precursors. Lithuania did increase funding to the National Drug Prevention and Control Program from 14.6 million LTL ($5.4 million) in 2007 to 19.1 million LTL ($7 million) in 2008.
Law Enforcement Efforts. As of October 2009, Lithuanian law enforcement officials had recorded 1,557 drug-related crimes, compared to 1,391 in 2008, 1,198 in 2007 and 1,393 in 2006. As of October 2009, police and customs in cooperation with other countries’ law enforcement agencies had seized 57.3 kilograms of cannabis seeds, 1.2 kilograms of heroin, 5.8 kilograms of Ecstasy, 10.2 kilograms of hashish, 5.8 kilograms of cocaine and 64.7 kilograms of methamphetamines. Lithuanian authorities also seized small quantities (less than five kilograms each) of LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, various psychotropic drugs, and various precursors.
Lithuania worked effectively with international partners to break up drug smuggling operations in 2009, making important seizures in cooperation with Belarusian, French, Norwegian, Swedish, Estonian, Latvian, Russian and Polish law enforcement partners. For example:
In 2009, police seized 14 kilograms of methamphetamines in Norway and 32 kilograms in Sweden, resulting in the arrest of six Lithuanians and three Norwegian citizens who had been trafficking drugs into Lithuania. In cooperation with Russian counterparts, police seized 27 kilograms of hashish in Russia and arrested four Lithuanians. In 2009, police shut down one laboratory producing high-quality methamphetamines, confiscating 50 kilograms of the drug in the process.
As of October 1, 2009, the Lithuanian court system adjudicated 866 drug-related cases and convicted 904 persons. Sentences for trafficking or distribution of drugs range from fines to 12 years of imprisonment.
Corruption. The Special Investigation Service (STT) established in 1997, has coordinated the Government of Lithuania’s national anticorruption program since 2002. The task of the STT is to collect and use intelligence about criminal associations and corrupt public officials as well as carry out anticorruption prevention activities. There were no reports of drug-related corruption involving Lithuanian government officials. The Government of Lithuania does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior official is known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate narcotics production or trafficking, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Treaties and Agreements. Lithuania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention against Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Lithuania also is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. An extradition treaty and mutual legal assistance treaty are in force between the United States and Lithuania. In addition, Lithuania and the United States have concluded, pursuant to the 2003 U.S.-EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements, protocols to the extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties. The protocols will enter into force on February 1, 2010.
Cultivation/Production. Laboratories in Lithuania illegally produce amphetamines for both domestic use and export, according to the Lithuanian Ministry of Interior. Law enforcement agencies regularly find and destroy small plots of cannabis and opium poppies used to produce opium straw extract for local consumption.
Drug Flow/Transit. According to Lithuanian law enforcement agencies, Lithuanian-produced synthetic drugs have been intercepted in Germany, Poland, and Denmark and also en route to Sweden and Norway. Customs agents have seized drugs entering Lithuania from all frontiers—cocaine and Ecstasy enter the country via Western Europe; amphetamines and other synthetic drugs are produced in country, in the neighboring Baltic States, or in Poland; and heroin typically arrives from Central Asia via Russia and Belarus. Domestically grown poppy straw satisfies local demand and is also exported to Russia’s Kaliningrad region and to Latvia.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Lithuania operates five national drug dependence centers and ten regional public health centers. In 2008 the Government allocated to NGOs approximately $220,000 (521,000 Litas) for implementation of 78 prevention and supply-and-demand reduction projects targeted toward “at risk” youth and their parents. The Government has also continued implementation of a drug prevention teaching program for parents and the prevention project “Entertainment Without Narcotics,” targeted at public discos and nightclubs. The Government continued implementing demand-reduction programs and developed a classified information database about persons who received these services. In 2008-2009, about 3,000 persons used the services of 11 Government-financed harm-reduction centers that provided needle exchanges, methadone, medical exams and other services.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Law enforcement cooperation continues to be an area of great success, a result of several years of legal reform and law enforcement training. In 2008 and 2009, four Lithuanian police officers participated in U.S. Government-sponsored training in the United States, geared toward criminal investigation. In October 2008 the United States and Lithuania signed a cooperation agreement on crime prevention. In 2008 Lithuania was accepted into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which required a USG determination that Lithuania’s admission would not compromise the law enforcement and security interests of the United States. The United States has successfully cooperated with the Lithuanian authorities in numerous investigations involving fraud, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and other crimes. In 2009, members from the Lithuanian Navy attended two U. S. Coast Guard training courses: maritime law enforcement and leadership and management.
The Road Ahead. The United States will continue cooperating with Lithuanian institutions to support drug prevention activities and the fight against narcotics trafficking.
Macedonia is neither a major producer nor a major regional transit point for illicit drugs. The Government of Macedonia (GOM) continues to make progress in combating drug trafficking, evidenced by the fact that illicit drug seizures in Macedonia increased during the first nine months of 2009. Macedonian law enforcement authorities cooperated on narcotics issues with regional counterparts, including Serbia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. The lack of a more capable drug enforcement agency in Kosovo has somewhat hindered Macedonia’s cooperation with its newest neighbor, but the Macedonian Ministry of Interior (MOI) works with third-country representatives in Kosovo on counternarcotics operations. There have been significant improvements in interagency coordination compared to the previous year, resulting in only a small number of operational problems due to lack of coordination. Macedonia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Macedonia is one of several Balkan drug routes used to deliver Afghan heroin (through Turkey and Bulgaria) to Western Europe. Hashish and marijuana produced in Albania travel along the same Macedonian routes to Turkey and Greece. Synthetic drugs on the Macedonian market are smuggled in from neighboring Bulgaria and Serbia and also from the Netherlands. Illegal commercial marijuana is cultivated in fields in northwest Macedonia, while small amounts of marijuana are cultivated for personal use in southern Macedonia, where the climate is favorable. According to government sources, there was no production of precursor chemicals or synthetic drugs, nor illicit drug production facilities of significance in Macedonia. According to MOI sources, trafficking in synthetic drugs remained at a similarly low level to 2008. Seizures, however, were significantly higher this year. Macedonia produced licit poppy straw and poppy straw concentrate on approximately 1000 hectares of its territory, but in quantities insufficient for the country’s pharmaceuticals industry. As a result, some poppy straw was imported under license.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Macedonia’s National Anti-drug Strategy, approved in 2006, was followed in May 2007 by a National Action Plan for implementing that strategy, which in turn was succeeded by the current 2008–2012 Action plan for Implementation. A 2008 Law on Control of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances improved drug enforcement efforts and interagency cooperation, which resulted in an increase in seizures and better cooperation between Customs officials and other agencies.
Law Enforcement Efforts. According to MOI statistics, in the first nine months of 2009, criminal narcotics-related charges were brought against 359 persons (268 for Jan-Sept 2008)—a total of 91 more cases then in the same period of 2008. Of these persons charged, 288 were cases of illicit drug trafficking, including 21 cases in the largest prison in the country. In 2009, police seizures of illicit drugs increased significantly compared to the previous year. MOI sources claim that Macedonia, especially the northwestern areas, continues to be used as a wholesale drug depot. The Macedonian MOI has significantly improved cooperation and communication with its counterparts in Austria, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Turkey. MOI sources and intelligence contributed to the seizure of 111 kilograms of heroin in Bulgaria, resulting in the arrests of three people, and the seizure of 16 kilograms of heroin in Serbia. The Macedonian MOI has cooperated on two successful controlled deliveries in Turkey, and a Macedonian-led initiative resulted in the bust of a group of dealers in Austria and a conviction of 14 people.
Customs Administration continued to strengthen its intelligence units and mobile teams. Police officials pointed to cooperation with their Customs colleagues as being significantly improved compared to past years.
Corruption. Corruption is widespread in Macedonia, with low salaries fostering graft among law enforcement officials and the judiciary.
Macedonia’s judiciary remains weak. As a matter of policy and practice, however, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Macedonia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. A 1902 Extradition Treaty between the United States and Serbia, applies to Macedonia as a successor state of the former Yugoslavia. Macedonia is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols.
Cultivation/Production. Macedonia is neither a major cultivator nor producer of illicit narcotics. There are no reports of local illicit production or refining of heroin or illegal synthetic drugs. Only one pharmaceutical company in the country was authorized to licitly cultivate and process poppy for medicines. Authorized poppy production for licit pharmaceutical raw materials, some 1000 hectares in 2009, is monitored by the Ministry of Health, which shares production data regularly with the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board. Illicit marijuana cultivation in southeast Macedonia continued mostly for personal consumption. However, in 2009, MOI officials noted a new trend in northwest Macedonia, where the illicit cultivation of marijuana is occurring in greenhouses and fields for sale on both the domestic and foreign markets.
Drug Flow/Transit. Macedonia is on the southern branch of the Balkan Route used to ship Afghan heroin to the western European consumer market. The quantity of synthetic narcotics trafficked to Macedonia in 2009 probably remained the same, judging by the stability of the street price. Most synthetic drugs aimed at the Macedonian market originated in Bulgaria, Serbia, and the Netherlands, and arrived in small amounts by vehicle.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Official Macedonian statistics regarding drug abuse and addiction are unreliable, but they are improving with the opening of the National Center, triggered by efforts to reach European standards in narcotics control policies. Ministry of Health officials estimated there were some 9,000 drug users in the country. The most frequently used drug was marijuana, followed by heroin. There were an estimated 600 or fewer cocaine users in the country in 2009, according to official sources. Treatment and rehabilitation activities are carried out in eleven state-run outpatient medical clinics for drug users. These clinics supervise methadone maintenance therapy for registered heroin addicts. One of the eleven centers is located in the largest prison in the country (with over 60 percent of the country’s total prisoner population). Of the 1,500 prisoners in the country’s main prison, an estimated 380 were identified as drug addicts, mainly addicted to heroin. Macedonian health officials acknowledged that rehabilitation centers were overcrowded. In-patient treatment in specialized facilities consisted of detoxification accompanied by medicinal/vitamin therapy, as well as limited family therapy, counseling, and social work. Follow-up services after detoxification, or social reintegration programs for treated drug abusers were inadequate. There were only three centers for social reintegration and rehabilitation.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. During 2009, DEA agents worked with the Macedonian police to support coordination of regional counternarcotics efforts. Financial police, Customs officers, prosecutors, and judges continued to receive USG-funded training in anti-organized crime operations and techniques. USG representatives continued to provide training, technical advice, equipment, and other assistance to Macedonian Customs and MOI Border Police units.
The Road Ahead. Macedonia’s porous borders, and the influence of regional narcotics trafficking groups, will continue to make the country an attractive secondary route for the transit of illegal drugs. The United States Government, through State Department-funded law enforcement training programs administered by DOJ, will continue to work to strengthen the ability of Macedonian police, prosecutors, and judges to monitor, arrest, prosecute, and sanction narcotics traffickers. In cooperation with EU and other international community partners, the U.S. will press for continued successful implementation of the national counternarcotics action plan. USG law enforcement training agencies in Macedonia will encourage the preparation of new laws to strengthen the ability of prosecutors to successfully pursue counternarcotics cases. The USG will continue to work with the GOM and international partners to strengthen Macedonia’s criminal intelligence system, and to improve the government’s ability to provide reliable statistics on drug use, arrests, prosecutions, and convictions of traffickers.
Malaysia is not a significant source country or transit point for U.S.-bound illegal drugs; however, domestic drug abuse in Malaysia remains on the rise, and Malaysia is increasingly being used as a regional hub for methamphetamine production. The government continues promoting its “drug-free by 2015” policy. Malaysia’s counternarcotics officials and police officers have the full support of senior government officials, but basic problems with the legal system hinder the overall effectiveness of enforcement and interdiction efforts. Malaysia has a low conviction rate for arrested drug traffickers, and the country relies heavily on preventive detention under the Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventive Measures 1985) rather than active prosecution. The extensive use of preventive detention in narcotics cases in lieu of prosecution is due in large part to an extremely high burden of proof required for narcotics trafficking cases, which is a disincentive to prosecute such cases, as many would result in a death sentence in the case of a guilty verdict.. As there are no alternative sentences, authorities rely on preventive detention without trial. Malaysia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Malaysia is not a significant source country or transit point for U.S.-bound illegal drugs. Nevertheless, regional and domestic drug-trafficking remains a problem and international drug syndicates are increasingly turning to Malaysia as a regional production hub for crystal methamphetamine and Ecstasy (MDMA). Narcotics imported to Malaysia include heroin and marijuana from the Golden Triangle area (Thailand, Burma, Laos), and other drugs such as amphetamine type stimulants (ATS). Small quantities of cocaine are smuggled into and through Malaysia from South America. Local demand and consumption of drugs is very limited in Malaysia; however, crystal methamphetamine, Ecstasy, and Ketamine, mostly from India, are smuggled through Malaysia en route to consumers in Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, China, and Australia. Ketamine from India continues to be an increasingly popular drug in Malaysia. Since 2006, Malaysia has also been a location where significant quantities of crystal methamphetamine are produced. This trend continued in 2009, with methamphetamine laboratories seized in Kuala Lumpur and in Southern Malaysia, and frequent police reports of ethnic Chinese traffickers setting up labs in Malaysia. Nigerian and Iranian drug trafficking organizations are increasingly using Kuala Lumpur as a hub for their illegal activities. As of September 2009, the government had identified 1,560 new addicts and an additional 1,192 relapsed addicts. Since 1988 the Malaysian Government cumulatively has identified more than 300,000 drug addicts, and the government-linked Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation and other NGO’s estimate that there are currently some 900,000 to 1.2 million drug addicts in Malaysia. Statistics continue to show that the majority of the nation’s drug addicts are between 19 and 39 years of age and have not completed high school.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Malaysia continues a long-term effort launched in 2003 to reduce domestic drug use to negligible levels by 2015. Senior officials, including the Prime Minister, speak out strongly and frequently against drug abuse. The Prime Minister chairs the Cabinet Committee on Eradication of Drugs, composed of 20 government ministers. The National Anti-Drugs Agency (NADA) is the policy arm of Malaysia’s counternarcotics strategy, coordinating demand reduction efforts with various cabinet ministries. Malaysian law stipulates a mandatory death penalty for major drug traffickers, with harsh mandatory sentences also applied for possession and use of smaller quantities. In practice however, many minor offenders are placed into treatment programs instead of prison. Convictions for trafficking are rare, as such a conviction would require the defendant to receive a death sentence. Consequently, most major traffickers are placed in preventive detention. Subjects convicted of drug trafficking frequently have their sentences commuted.
Accomplishments. Malaysia authorities seized several operational methamphetamine laboratories in 2009, and had numerous other successful investigations, confiscating large quantities of methamphetamine, Ketamine, and Ecstasy (MDMA). Police corruption was not a serious problem during the reporting period. However, in 2009 there was at least one case of corruption among Customs officers who were facilitating smuggling of drugs into Malaysia.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Police and Customs Officers arrested 56,205 people for drug-related offenses between January and September 2009, an increase of 10.5 percent from the same period the previous year. Enforcement officials continued to show successes in ATS-related seizures and have also recorded a higher level of heroin, MDMA and methamphetamine seizures over the same period last year. The RMP (Royal Malaysian Police) aggressively seize the assets of narcotics criminals. The Police reported they seized RM 40.6 million (approximately $11.6 million) in drug-related property in the first half of 2009, versus RM 38.3 million (approximately $10.9 million) in all of 2008. Between May and July 2009 RMP confiscated RM 22 million (approximately $6.2 million) in assets from one drug trafficking organization. Malaysian police are generally effective in arresting small-time drug offenders but have shown limited success in arresting upper level syndicate members. The Royal Malaysian Police have acknowledged these short comings and have begun implementing training plans to improve their investigations and procedures. Prosecutorial successes in presenting narcotics cases in court are generally about as successful as the RMP: conviction rates are higher on simple, straight-forward cases.. Malaysian prosecutors have shown only limited success in prosecuting and convicting drug traffickers. Prosecutors are limited in their ability to charge and prosecute regular drug trafficking cases as Malaysia does not have an effective drug conspiracy law, thus limiting charging options when considering charging decisions against major traffickers. In addition, there are limited sentencing alternatives if a subject is charged and convicted of drug trafficking-in many cases the sentence required by Malaysia’s laws seems excessive, even to prosecutors. Consequently, Malaysia police almost always use the Special Preventive Measures Act (SPMA) to arrest and detain drug traffickers. The SPMA allows for the detention without trial of suspects who pose a threat to public order or national security. The systemic use of the SPMA to arrest drug traffickers stems from the extremely high burden of proof required for a drug trafficking conviction, which would then require a mandatory death sentence. Police and prosecutors are limited in their ability to prosecute such cases and preventive detention is therefore common. There is very limited judicial oversight for subjects arrested under preventive detention.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Malaysia does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. While Malaysian and foreign media organizations continued to highlight cases of government corruption both specifically and in general, no senior officials were arrested for drug-related corruption in 2008-2009.
Agreements and Treaties. Malaysia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol, and to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Malaysia is also party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and on February 26, 2009, acceded to its Protocol on Migrant Smuggling. Malaysia signed an MLAT with the U.S. in July 2006 which went into effect in January 2009. Malaysia also has a multilateral MLAT with seven Southeast Asian nations, and an MLAT with Australia. Malaysia is a party to the ASEAN MLAT. The U.S.-Malaysia Extradition Treaty has been in effect since 1997.
Cultivation/Production. While there is no notable cultivation of U.S.-listed drugs in Malaysia, local officials report significant cultivation/presence of a local plant known as ketum (Mitragyna speciosa) with known psychoactive properties and used for its narcotic effects throughout the region. ATS production has shown a marked increase since 2006 and Malaysian authorities admit that international drug syndicates are using Malaysia as a base of operations. Most methamphetamine and MDMA labs seized in Malaysia since 2006 were financed by ethnic Chinese traffickers from Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, or other countries. In 2008, a lab was seized in Malaysia in which the chemists were from Mexico. In October 2009, a clandestine methamphetamine lab operated by Iranians was seized in Kuala Lumpur, and separately police seized two MDMA labs controlled by Indonesian traffickers.
Drug Flow/Transit. Drugs transiting Malaysia do not appear to make a significant impact on the U.S. market. However, Malaysia’s proximity to the heroin production areas and methamphetamine labs of the Golden Triangle (Thailand, Burma, Laos) leads to smuggling across Malaysian borders, destined for Australia and other markets. Ecstasy from Amsterdam is flown clandestinely into Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for domestic use and distribution to Thailand, Singapore, and Australia. Ketamine comes from Tamil Nadu State, in southern India and is exported to several countries in the region. There is evidence of increased transit of cocaine from South America. In 2008, several Peruvian couriers and one Bolivian courier were arrested with cocaine upon arrival in Malaysia. In nearly every case the cocaine was destined for Thailand. Nigerian trafficking organizations continue to mail small quantities of cocaine from South American to Kuala Lumpur. Large scale production of ATS in Malaysia remains a significant problem. There were three large labs seized in 2007, one large lab seized in 2008, and several small labs seized in 2009. There are other cases in which traffickers sought chemicals to set up methamphetamine labs in Malaysia. In May 2009, Malaysian police seized 960 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine smuggled into the East coast of Malaysia en route to the southern part of the country.
Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). The NADA targets its demand reduction efforts toward youth, parents, students, teachers, and workers, with extensive efforts to engage schools, student leaders, parent-teacher associations, community leaders, religious institutions, and workplaces. Statistics from the NADA indicate that as of September 2009 6,510 people, were undergoing treatment at Malaysia’s 23 public rehabilitation facilities. Of these, 126 were women. Another 34,652 persons, including more than 1,000 women, were undergoing “in community” treatment and rehabilitation and as part of their therapy participate as role models for relapse cases.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Overall cooperation with DEA on drug investigations is quite good. DEA sponsored a chemical diversion and clandestine lab seminar in July 2009 and an airport interdiction seminar in December 2009. U.S. counternarcotics training continued in 2009 via the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok and the “Baker-Mint” program sponsored by the DEA and U.S. Department of Defense. Baker-Mint aims to raise the operational skill level of local counternarcotics law enforcement officers. In 2009, U.S. officials from the Department of Justice, DEA, and FBI presented a training workshop for Malaysian counternarcotics investigators on intelligence analysis and other drug investigative techniques. In addition, in 2008 senior Malaysian counternarcotics officials traveled to the United States and visited DEA Headquarters and DEA’s New York Field Division in an effort to expand U.S-Malaysian cooperation. The U.S. Coast Guard is working closely with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA; Malay: Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia; APMM) to develop “coast guard like” capabilities.
The Road Ahead. United States goals and objectives for the year 2010 are to improve coordination and communication between Malaysian and U.S. law enforcement authorities in counternarcotics efforts. United States law enforcement agencies will continue to coordinate with Malaysian authorities to assist Malaysian enforcement agencies to interdict drugs transiting Malaysia and to investigate international drug trafficking organizations operating in Malaysia and in the region., U.S.-funded counternarcotics training for Malaysian law enforcement officers will continue, and U.S. agencies will continue working with Malaysian authorities to further develop Malaysia’s investigative and prosecutorial capabilities.
The Government of the Maldives (GOM) estimates that as much as ten percent of its population of 350,000 uses illicit drugs regularly. The GOM is committed to targeting drugs traffickers and implementing nation-wide demand reduction programs. It is working with international donors to tackle the nation’s drug problem.
II. Status of Country
The Maldives is not a producer of narcotics or precursor chemicals; however the drug problem is quite dramatic. Some GOM officials estimate that as much as ten percent of the population (about 35,000 persons) is addicted to or abuses drugs. Drug use has been noted in all regions of the Maldives. While the previous government generally ignored the growing drug problem, the current government—elected in late 2008—has made tackling the issue a major policy initiative. Despite the fact that the country is located near major illicit opium producing countries in Asia, it is not known to serve as a major transshipment route. Narcotics are generally smuggled via small craft into the country from South India for domestic use.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Law Enforcement. The lead agency for counternarcotics efforts is the Drug Enforcement Department—part of the Maldives Police—headquartered in the capital city of Male’. In 2009, the Drug Enforcement Department arrested two of the large scale drug dealers (out of the six known major dealers) and carried on over 200 drug sting operations across many of the Atolls. The Customs Department works closely with the police on interdiction cases, with customs narcotics enforcement officials stationed at the ports. Customs also uses a small number of speed boats to monitor the country’s considerable coastline. In 2009, Maldivian Officials arrested 2363 persons for possession of narcotics. In part due to the GOM’s stepped-up efforts (including UN-funded public information campaigns), Maldivian Police state that the number of new drug users this year declined by 43 percent compared to previous years. In 2009, Customs and the Police seized a total of 12.56 kilograms of heroin, cannabis, benzodiazepine, ketamine and small amounts of cocaine. Cannabis was the major drug seized by weight. The drugs seized were valued at Maldivian Rufiyaa 11 million ($830,000)
In December, the Maldivian Customs intercepted over 5 kilograms of ketamine (and small amounts of cocaine) at the Male’ International Airport. An Indian national, with an onward flight bound for Indonesia, was arrested on the spot. Another flight from India earlier in 2009 was found to contain 1.04 kilograms of cannabis and 0.7 kilogram of heroin in a vegetable consignment bound for Male.
The present Maldivian Government established a Narcotics Control Council within the President’s Office and has submitted legislation to the Parliament to curb drug use and trafficking. The Health Ministry is tasked with treatment and prevention programs and the Ministry of Education is currently developing—with the assistance of the United Nations and the Colombo Plan—an in-school counternarcotics curriculum. The Maldives also continues to work with the Colombo Plan’s Drug Advisory Program, as well as with the United Nations, the European Union, and the USG to combat drug use in the country. A rehabilitation program has been in existence since 1977; however the country has limited after-care treatment programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
The USG remained committed to helping GOM officials develop increased capacity to enforce narcotics laws. The USG is also ready for cooperation on other counternarcotics issues, such as demand reduction. The USG also continued its support of a regional counternarcotics program through the Colombo Plan, which conducts regional and country-specific training seminars, fostering better communication and cooperation on drug issues throughout the countries of South and East Asia. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration attaché based in New Delhi visited Male’ in November 2009 to coordinate counternarcotics trafficking activities with the local police and Customs.
The Republic of Malta does not play a significant role in the transit, processing or production of narcotics and psychotropic drugs and other controlled substances. Surveys indicate that illicit drug use is confined to a small segment of the population. The Maltese Government dedicated significant time and effort over the past decade updating Malta’s laws and criminal codes in preparation for joining the European Union in 2004. As a result, Malta’s criminal code is in alignment with the goals and objectives of the 1988 United Nations Drug convention. The Malta Police Drug Unit and the National Drug Intelligence Unit (NDIU) continue to improve their capabilities. Their success is perhaps best illustrated by the general upward trend in seizures of controlled substances over the last five years. This trend is the result of improved coordination and communications among all agencies involved in controlling drugs.
II. Status of Country
Malta, an island nation of some 413,000 population between Sicily and North Africa, is a minor player in global production, processing, and transshipment of narcotics and other controlled substances. There is no evidence to indicate that Malta’s role in the worldwide drug trade will change significantly in the near future. There is some evidence to suggest that on a small scale Malta serves as a transshipment point for drugs from Africa to Europe. Malta is not isolated, with daily flights, numerous ship calls, a large commercial port, the presence of numerous irregular migrants, and frequent international travel by a large percentage of Maltese, the island has myriad connections with Europe and Africa. The drug problem is generally limited to the sale and use of consumer quantities of illegal drugs. Consumption is generally not high, although there has been over the past decade an increase in the proliferation of recreational drugs such as Ecstasy and also an increased use and trafficking of illicit drugs by persons under eighteen. Police have recently seized quantities of the drug khat, which is frequently seen in countries surrounding the Horn of Africa, from which a number of asylum seekers have arrived in recent years. Cultivation activity in-country appears to be limited to the growing of less than a few hundred cannabis plants per year for local consumption. Malta is not a precursor or essential chemical source country. There are a number of generic pharmaceutical firms operating in Malta, but no evidence of diversion from the licit production side. There are stringent legislative controls of the pharmaceutical sector and the Maltese Health Department conducts inspections and review of company records.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. In 2004, the Government of Malta and the United States successfully negotiated a Maritime Counter-Narcotics Cooperation Agreement. This agreement concerns “cooperation to suppress illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances by sea” and is intended to assist the interdiction of the flow of drugs via Maltese flagged shipping. Parliament passed the legislation necessary to implement the Counter Narcotics Cooperation Agreement in November 2007. The agreement entered into force after the exchange of notes in December 2007, and Malta is prepared to execute the provisions of the Agreement.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Since the drug problem in Malta is not widespread, enforcement agencies are able to focus a substantial percentage of their resources on preventing the smuggling of drugs into Malta. The Police Drug Squad and Customs personnel have had significant success through the profiling and targeting of suspected passengers transiting the airport. The Police and the Armed Forces of Malta work together to monitor, intercept and interrupt sea borne smuggling of illegal drugs. Maltese Custom officials have worked to become more adept at detecting and preventing the movement of drugs through the Malta Freeport. Port authorities have shown the ability to respond quickly when notified by foreign law enforcement of intelligence-related to transshipment attempts. Maltese law provides the necessary provisions for asset forfeiture of those accused of drug related crimes. In 2009, the Courts handed down several prison sentences and fines related to drug offences and ordered the freezing and/or seizure of cash and movable or immovable property of several persons found guilty of drug trafficking.
Corruption. The Government of Malta does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior official is known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate narcotics production or trafficking, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Maltese law contains the necessary provisions to deal effectively with official corruption. In 2002 the country’s Chief Justice and a fellow judge, both of whom thereafter voluntarily resigned their positions, were arraigned on corruption charges for taking bribes from inmates convicted on drug charges. Investigative agencies used wiretapping authority to identify the judges involved and gather evidence that they were planning to accept bribes in exchange for reducing the sentences of several individuals appealing the terms of their drug convictions. In 2007, one of the accused pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to two years imprisonment. The case against the former chief justice is still pending. In connection with the case, in 2008 an inmate and two accomplices were sentenced to four and three year imprisonment, respectively.
Agreements and Treaties. Malta is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. A mutual legal assistance treaty between the U.S. and Malta was signed in 2006. On July 1, 2009, a new extradition treaty entered into force between the U.S. and Malta.. 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. The protocols and the bilateral MLAT will enter into force on February 1, 2010.
Drug Flow Transit. There is no indication that Malta is a major trafficking location. The Malta Freeport container port is a continuing source of concern due to the high volume of containers passing through its vast container terminal. The USG has provided equipment and training as part of non-proliferation and border security initiatives that also have enhanced Malta’s ability to monitor illicit narcotics trafficking through the Freeport. This has improved detection and should act as a deterrent to narco-traffickers seeking to use container-shipping activity at the Freeport as a platform for drug movements internationally. Malta serves as a transfer point for travelers between North Africa and Europe. In 2009, there were several cases involving heroin and cocaine being smuggled into Malta carried by visitors from African, western hemisphere and European countries, mostly from Eastern Europe and South America. Traditionally, Malta’s drug problems involved the importation and distribution of small quantities of illegal drugs for individual use. Arrests in 2009 included, a Slovak national—apprehended at the Malta International Airport with a kilo of heroin in the form of 100 capsules in his stomach; a Bulgarian woman resident in the Netherlands—860g of cocaine and heroin in capsules; a Romanian living in Germany—one kilo of cocaine and heroin in two large packages; a Ghanaian man and a woman from the Dominican Republic both holding Spanish identity cards—one kilo of heroin and 3,000 Ecstasy pills; a Bulgarian national—one kilo of cocaine and heroin hidden in a suitcase; a Panamanian national—two kilos of cocaine in a suitcase; a British national—60g of cocaine seized aboard a yacht in Malta; and a man from the Dominican Republic who had admitted to importing a kilo of cocaine that was found in his hotel room. Malta has the world’s eighth largest shipping flag registry, which makes it a likely player in future ship interdiction scenarios.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. A National Drug Policy was adopted in January 2008 to “streamline the practices to be adopted by the various bodies, governmental and non-governmental involved in the provision of services related to drug use.”
There are five main drug-treatment providers. Three are managed and funded by the government: Sedqa, Agency Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse, which falls under the Ministry of Social Policy; the prison-based unit SATU (Substance Abuse Therapeutic Unit), which falls under the Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs; and the DDU (Dual Diagnosis Unit) within Mount Carmel Psychiatric Hospital, which falls under the Ministry for Social Policy. Caritas and OASI are non-governmental voluntary treatment agencies, which receive partial support from the government.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. law enforcement and security agencies and their Maltese counterparts continue to cooperate closely on drug-related crime. U.S. Customs has provided several training courses in Malta over the last two years. Under the Export Control and Border Security assistance program (EXBS) at Embassy Valletta, the U.S. continues to work closely with port officials to improve their ability to monitor and detect illegal shipments. In 2005, a Coast Guard Attaché was assigned to Embassy Valletta to improve coordination and training with the Maltese Maritime Enforcement Squadron. Training focuses on maritime search and seizure techniques as well as on the proper utilization and operation of two state-of the-art patrol boats. The Embassy’s Regional Security Officer (RSO) works closely with the DEA Country Attaché and the FBI Legal Attaché based in Rome to foster cooperative efforts to strengthen law enforcement.
In 2009, members from the Maltese Armed Forces attended two U. S. Coast Guard training courses: maritime law enforcement and small boat engineering and maintenance. Malta was also the first foreign recipient of SAROPS, which is a software program designed to assist in the planning and execution of search and rescue cases. This is noteworthy in that funding for this was provided by EUCOM’s Counter-Narco Terrorism (CNT) monies. While SAROPS is a search and rescue tool, it will help improve Malta’s maritime domain awareness in the region.
The Road Ahead. The joint effort to provide training, support and assistance to GOM law enforcement agencies has clearly improved the Maltese enforcement ability to profile individuals possibly involved with trafficking and/or in possession of dangerous drugs. The number of arrests and seizures for drug related offenses has steadily increased, indicating that Maltese authorities are battling the drug problem within their own country and have benefited from close USG cooperation.
Mexico’s aggressive campaign to combat drugs and confront major drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) continued at an ambitious pace in 2009. The Mexican government reaffirmed its commitment to limit the flow of drugs and combat DTOs by dedicating more resources and personnel to the effort. The results are clear: a number of significant DTO leaders and key associates were captured; and the government continued to dismiss officials co-opted by the traffickers. In addition, Mexico received the first tranche of Merida Initiative assistance that provided U.S.-funded equipment, technical advice, and training.
Though these efforts disrupted some operations of major DTOs, the cartels responded by unleashing a wave of violence that led to a record number of drug-related murders that included numerous police and public officials. Even with the removal of tainted officials, the DTOs maintain a cadre of suborned officials on their payroll to undermine law enforcement operations. Mexico is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Mexico is both a major transit and source country for illicit drugs reaching the United States. Approximately 90 percent of cocaine destined for the U.S. flows through Mexico from its origins in South America. It continues to be a major supplier of heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine to the U.S. In general, these drugs are produced in remote areas of the country where detection and eradication are difficult and the federal government has a minimal presence.
Mexico also remains a hub for money laundering. It is estimated that DTOs’ annual gross revenue ranges between $15-30 billion from illicit drug sales in the U.S. Most of these proceeds are returned from the U.S. primarily through bulk currency shipments and laundered through legitimate Mexican businesses.
The cross-border flow of money and guns into Mexico from the United States has enabled well-armed and well-funded cartels to engage in violent activities. They employ advanced military tactics and utilize sophisticated weaponry such as sniper rifles, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and even mortars in attacks on security personnel. DTOs have openly challenged the GOM through conflict and intimidation and have fought amongst themselves to control drug distribution routes. The results led to unprecedented violence and a general sense of insecurity in certain areas of the country, particularly near the U.S. border. Between January and September 2009, there were 5,874 drug-related murders in Mexico, an almost 5 percent increase over 2008 (5,600).
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The government of Felipe Calderon continued its campaign to confront trafficking across Mexico using a multi-pronged approach. It has actively sought to disrupt the production and distribution of drugs throughout Mexico, prosecute individuals and organizations involved in the drug trade and reform those institutions whose job it is to uphold the rule of law in the country.
Police Reform: Federal police functions were restructured through the creation of the Federal Police (FP), an organization housed within the SSP. The FP was given new investigative powers by Congress, which will greatly increase the ability of federal law enforcement to confront Mexico’s security challenges. The new force is being hired from a pool of vetted college graduates and trained in police procedure by U.S. and international instructors in San Luis Potosi. The preventive investigation function will be complemented by a national investigative police force in the reorganized Ministerial Federal Police belonging to the PGR. Under new public security laws implemented in 2009, Federal Police are subject to greater vetting and hiring standards intended to assemble a force better able to combat the DTOs and one less susceptible to corruption.
Judicial Reforms: In response to constitutional reforms set in motion in 2008, at least nine states and the federal district moved forward to implement an oral accusatorial system of justice. In 2009, a number of leading universities incorporated these concepts into their curricula. The reforms are intended to provide more speedy trials, reducing some stress on Mexico’s over-taxed penitentiary system. More importantly, the reforms are designed to increase transparency of local and federal courts and restore confidence in the judicial system. Full transition of the criminal case load to the accusatorial system is mandated by 2016.
Technological Improvements: Key advances in data and telecommunications systems for public security were made in 2009. Most notable was the Secretariat for Public Security’s (SSP) on-going implementation of Plataforma Mexico information technology connectivity program, with the initial operational capability of the national command and control center in November 2009. The SSP granted access to Plataforma Mexico’s databases and more than 400,000 individual records/case files to over 100 municipal locations. The Office of the Attorney General (PGR) moved forward on the development of the national prosecutorial case management system, Justicia Efectiva para Todos (JET), with the finalization of the conceptual design and translation into working prototypes. This system is expected to be operational in 2010.
Regional Cooperation: The GOM sought greater cooperation with the governments of Colombia, Panama, and Guatemala in the sharing of information and coordination of resources in the effort to counternarcotics trafficking and criminal organizations. Colombia, for example, provided dozens of National Police instructors in support of the GOM’s training initiatives.
Narcomenudeo Law: The GOM ratified a law decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of drugs intended for personal use. The law, in essence, attempts to distinguish between recreational drug users and traffickers and is intended to enable law enforcement and the judicial system to focus more resources on drug sales than on drug use. Persons caught with small quantities of drugs will be offered drug treatment instead of jail, with jail being a possibility for repeat offenders. As part of this law, the Secretariat of Health was also required to develop a national strategy for the prevention and treatment of drug addiction.
Border Customs Inspectors: The GOM enhanced its customs capability by moving away from strictly revenue collection toward an enforcement role. In 2009, it added 800 new inspectors and replaced 700 more. These new inspectors were hired with increased vetting, including background checks and drug testing, in an effort to establish a more effective, professional organization better equipped to interdict the flow of weapons and cash entering the country. In addition, the Customs and Border Patrol is conducting an in-depth review and analysis of the training curriculum at the Mexico Customs Academy to identify gaps and recommended solutions.
Rewards for Information: The GOM offered $2 million rewards for information leading to the arrest of 24 of the country’s top drug trafficking targets and $1 million for arrests of top lieutenants. The large rewards are an attempt by the GOM to encourage more public involvement in the effort to eliminate organized crime. These rewards were the largest ever offered by the GOM and just one day after they were announced, Hector Huerta Rios, a key lieutenant of the Beltran Leyva cartel in Monterrey, was captured.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Mexican law enforcement saw a number of successes during the year in methamphetamine seizures and drug-related arrests. Through October, 5,400 metric tons of methamphetamines were seized by Mexican law enforcement, a significant increase from 2008; 165 labs were destroyed, more than three times greater than the year before. Part of this is due to the GOM’s more focused efforts in pursuing methamphetamine labs.
Through the end of November, 2009, GOM seized 20 metric tons of cocaine (up from 19 metric tons in 2008), 665 kilograms of opium gum (up from 168 kilograms in 2008), and 277 kilograms of heroin. Marijuana seizures were somewhat down from the historical levels of recent years. In 2009, 1,385 metric tons of marijuana were seized, while the previous five years averaged almost 2,000 metric tons. This may be attributed to the military’s and law enforcement’s reallocation of resources away from marijuana eradication and interdiction efforts, and towards the pursuit of DTOs.
Total arrests hit record highs in 2009. Through September, Mexican law enforcement arrested or detained 36,332 persons (versus 28,650 in 2008). This total included a number of high-profile members of the Mexican cartels including:
In addition to arrests in Mexico, the Calderon government continued its policy of extraditing drug traffickers and other criminals wanted in the U.S. Over 100 people were extradited from Mexico to the U.S. in 2009, breaking 2008’s record of 95. Notable cases from the past year include Mexican nationals Miguel Caro Quintero, wanted for drug trafficking in Colorado and Arizona, and Oscar Escajeda Candelaria, wanted for cocaine and marijuana trafficking in Texas, Ever Villafane Martinez, a Colombian national wanted on federal narcotics trafficking and money laundering charges.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GOM does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or any other controlled substances, or the laundering of money derived from illicit drug transactions. A law on National Public Security, passed in January, mandated that within four years, Mexican law enforcement personnel at all levels undergo background checks to screen for possible corruption. During the year, the Calderon government undertook a number of actions to address corruption within the law enforcement community, including the greater use of polygraphs and background checks on law enforcement employees. While this vetting had some success at the federal level, it lagged behind at the state and municipal levels due to funding constraints and the large numbers of state and municipal officers. Additionally, the GOM made a number of high profile arrests to demonstrate its commitment to root out corruption across all levels of government. In May, raids in the state of Michoacan led to the arrest of ten mayors with alleged ties to corruption. Despite some progress, however, corruption remains a significant impediment to counternarcotics efforts in Mexico. Cartels combine threats of violence with promises of financial gain (“plata o plomo”) to influence law enforcement and government officials. Their influence is greatest among lower paid municipal and state police who have had historically lower hiring standards and fewer controls in place to check for corruption. This is a significant problem given that these police organizations represent roughly 90 percent of Mexico’s total police force. A May incident where prison guards literally stepped aside as 53 prisoners walked out of a prison in Zacatecas state reinforced widespread skepticism about the integrity of local level law enforcement personnel. Recent police and legal reforms appear to be making progress in the fight against corruption, but it is clear that more time and more reforms are required to make lasting progress.
Agreements and Treaties. Mexico is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Mexico also subscribes to regional counternarcotics commitments, including the 1996 Anti-Drug Strategy in the Hemisphere and the 1990 Declaration of Ixtapa. Mexico is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Mexico is also a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. The current U.S.-Mexico bilateral extradition treaty has been in force since 1980. The 2001 Protocol to this Treaty allows for the temporary surrender for trial of fugitives serving a sentence in one country but wanted on criminal charges in another. Mexico and the United States cooperate in judicial assistance matters under a bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty. In addition, Colombia and Mexico formed a tri-party group with the U.S. that consists of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator, the Colombian Minister of Defense, and the Mexican Attorney General. This group meets at least twice a year to discuss counternarcotics and other issues of mutual interest. Also, Mexico is a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.
Mexico is an active participant in the Multilateral Counterdrug Summit, which includes the participation of the U.S., Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador working towards regional counternarcotics interoperability. GOM and USG have continued to effectively use the North American Security Initiative (NAMSI) Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to facilitate maritime interdiction operations executed by Mexican Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. In 2009, cooperation via the NAMSI SOP resulted in the removal of over 7,600 kilograms of cocaine and over 16,000 kilograms of marijuana, the seizure of six vessels, and the detention of 24 suspected smugglers.
Cultivation/Production. Drug crops such as opium poppy and marijuana are produced in rural Mexico, predominately in the rugged terrain of the Western Sierra Madres. Major increases in both crops over the past few years have taken place in the tri-state area of Sinaloa, Chihuahua, and Durango in the north, where most of the crops are grown. Production has also been found in the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca in southern Mexico as well as Michoacan, Nayarit, and Jalisco. While marijuana cultivation is more dispersed, opium poppy tends to be concentrated in the western part of the country. Opium poppy is usually harvested by small, independent farmers who sell refined gum to heroin trafficking organizations.
Production of methamphetamine takes place in clandestine labs. The two areas in the country with the highest concentration of labs are Michoacan and Jalisco. While it is difficult to estimate levels of production for the drug, it is believed to be large and growing. The 5,400 metric tons seized as of November 2009 presumably represent just a fraction of total production. In October 2009, for example, Mexican law enforcement seized a combined 37 metric tons of precursor chemicals used to make methamphetamine in just two raids—the largest such seizures in Mexican history.
Despite the efforts of the GOM, drug cultivation rose significantly in 2009 according to U.S. government agencies’ estimates. Opium poppy cultivation more than doubled to 15,000 hectares (ha) as of September 2009 from 6,900 in 2008—the highest level of production ever estimated in Mexico and all of Latin America combined. Cannabis production increased 35 percent to 12,000 ha from 8,900 in 2008—the highest level since 1992. These increases in drug production could represent greater vertical integration of DTO businesses intended to diminish reliance on foreign suppliers of product. Mexico is not considered a significant producer of cocaine, although DTOs continue to transit the drug through the country.
The GOM reported eradicating 14,135 ha of cannabis as of November 2009, as compared to 18,663 ha in all of 2008. This is well down from the yearly 30,000+ ha level of eradication from 2002—2006 and represents the sixth consecutive year of decline. Opium poppy eradication is also down from historic levels, with 11,471 ha reported eradicated as of November 2009, down from 13,189 ha in 2008. Much of this can be attributed to Mexican law enforcement’s shift in focus to harder drugs such as methamphetamine as well as more military and law enforcement resources being diverted to confront the DTOs and violence.
Drug Flow/Transit. Mexico is a major transit point for drugs destined for the U.S., particularly cocaine cultivated and produced in South America source countries. Cocaine enters Mexico via air, land, and sea routes. Smugglers employ a wide range of tools to deliver illicit contraband to the U.S., including light aircraft, fishing trawlers, go-fast vessels, self propelled semi-submersible vessels, automobiles, and trucks. Large commercial vessels are also used, as illegal drugs are transported via large containers into and out of Mexico’s commercial shipping ports. Once drugs are inside the country, they are transported to the U.S. border via land routes. The GOM has taken a number of steps to seize drugs entering and transiting the country. It continues to work with governments in Central and South America as well as the United States to coordinate interdiction efforts and share information. In 2009, it upgraded the capabilities of customs agents by providing specialized training to look for weapons and drugs and military checkpoints were placed along key transit routes to inspect northbound traffic for drugs. Additionally, the GOM increased its focus on stopping the flow of methamphetamines.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Domestic drug consumption is increasing in Mexico. It is estimated that 3.5 million Mexicans have used narcotics and that nearly 600,000 have become dependent drug consumers. Some observers argue that the adoption of the narcomenudeo law could result in higher levels of recreational use. However, in 2009, Mexico took steps to upgrade the capacity of its demand reduction efforts, including establishing a training and certification process for treatment counselors. In addition, it held two conferences that were attended by international demand reduction specialists. These conferences were intended to galvanize demand reduction efforts, improve capabilities, and share industry-leading best practices.
National Demand Reduction efforts are led by the National Council Against Addiction (CONADIC). At the direction of President Calderon, CONADIC is in the midst of a national campaign to fight domestic demand for illicit drugs. This effort is championed by the Mexican First Lady, Margarita Zavala, who is a vocal advocate for counternarcotics causes. The country also has a network of more than 300 government-funded treatment centers working on demand reduction efforts that focus on counternarcotics youth outreach as well as prevention. Currently, most treatment programs are staffed by personnel who have limited training in counseling due in large part to the historically limited resources allocated to demand reduction efforts and the lack of comprehensive training programs for substance abuse professionals.
The Mexican state of Nuevo Leon commenced a pilot drug court program that may serve as a prototype pilot program for other states. Modeled on the U.S. drug court program, Mexico’s focus is to provide drug-abuse treatment alternatives to incarceration for some classes of criminal offenders.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The United States shares many interests with Mexico—politically, economically, and with regard to our own national security. Mexico long ago became the principal transit route for cocaine and is an important producer in its own right of the heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine consumed in the United States. The enormously corruptive influences of Mexico’s narcotics cartels touch the communities on both sides of our shared border. The Calderon Administration has made progress in reforming Mexico’s juridical system, diminishing its opaqueness in some instances, and increasing its efficiency, it is a priority for the United States to support Mexico’s efforts to reform its justice system and improve security along our shared border and throughout the nation.
Bilateral Cooperation. Historically, the governments of Mexico and the United States have cooperated on counternarcotics and security-related issues, and have had some success sharing information and coordinating law enforcement and military efforts. Additionally, the U.S. has aided in the fight against DTOs by providing Mexico with training, equipment, and information technology assistance. With the implementation of the Merida Initiative, 2009 represented a new era of cooperation between the two countries. The Initiative represents not only a historically significant increase in bilateral cooperation, but the inauguration of a new strategy in which the USG helps strengthen Mexico’s institutional capacity to counter the shared threat posed by DTOs. The Merida Initiative focused on eight general areas:
Although it is still early in its implementation, the Merida Initiative has moved forward in a number of areas. Some examples for 2009 include:
The Road Ahead. With over a billion dollars appropriated to the Merida Initiative, the USG will continue to be a strong, resolute partner with Mexico over the long-term. The next several years will see the U.S. provide hundreds of millions of dollars in advanced hardware and equipment for Mexico’s counternarcotics effort and training for tens of thousands in law enforcement, customs and security; preparing civilian law enforcement to take back from the military the role of maintaining civilian security and disrupting and dismantling DTOs. With the return of the Mexican military to its traditional duties, marijuana and opium poppy eradication activities should increase.
Programs provided through the Merida Initiative will provide thousands of hours of specialized training and consultations for judges, lawyers, legal educators, and court staff designed to help transform Mexico’s judicial sector and assist the implementation of accusatorial trials. The United States urges the GOM to implement previously passed judicial reform legislation as it will complement the additional work being done between law enforcement and government agencies on both sides of the border.
For its part, the USG is looking at new ways to reduce domestic demand for drugs within its borders and to disrupt the flow of guns and money moving southward into Mexico. This holistic approach is intended to weaken DTOs by impacting their financial resources and ability to secure weapons, complementing Mexican efforts.
V. Statistical Tables
2009 YTD 05 NOV
|Harvestable / Net Cultivation (ha)||15,000||6,900||~||5,100||3,300||3,500||4,800||2,700||4,400|
|Potential Opium Gum (MT)||~||325||149||110||71||73||101||58||91|
|Potential Black Tar Heroin (MT)||105||50||36||22||25||23||13||21|
|Potential Pure Heroin (MT)||~||38||18||13||8||9||12||7||11|
|Harvestable / Net Cultivation (ha)||12,000||8,900||~||8,600||5,600||5,800||7,500||7,900||4,100|
|Net Cannabis Production (MT)||~||21,500||15,800||15,500||10,100||10,440||13,500||7,900||7,400|
|Cocaine HCL (MT)||20||19||48||21||31||27||21||13||30|
|Opium Gum (kg)||665||168||308||124||276||465||198||310||516|
1: Centro Nacional de Planeacion, Analisis e informacion para el Combate a la Delincuencia (CENAPI) and PGR