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2010 INCSR: Country Reports - Moldova through Singapore


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

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Moldova

I. Summary

Moldova is an impoverished country susceptible to drug trafficking and drug abuse problems. Governmental and societal neglect of drug trafficking, drug abuse, and associated crime issues is a problem in Moldova. The Government of Moldova’s (GOM) lack of a comprehensive national drug strategy remains a shortcoming of Moldovan drug control policy in 2009. Moldova is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and other major international drug treaties.

II. Status of Country

Moldova is not a major drug-producing country. Moldova is a transit point for drugs destined for Western Europe, although information regarding the scale of the transit is incomplete. Domestic use of narcotics remains an ongoing concern to the GOM. Seizures of recreational drugs such as marijuana and Ecstasy continue to grow. Analysis conducted by Moldovan officials suggests that the country’s illegal drug market will be increasingly targeted by sellers of synthetic drugs. Moldova’s proximity to the European Union (EU), the low capacity of its law enforcement agencies, and its limited control of the territory situated on the left bank of the Dniester River, where Moldovan law, and by extension, national drug policy are not applicable, has resulted in the increased cultivation of domestically grown narcotics for both local use and external distribution outside the country. Authorities have also noted the increased import of synthetic drugs and psychotropic substances. However, despite these issues, Moldova’s drug concerns are not a major domestic issue.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The Moldovan counternarcotics legal framework covers both the fight against illegal drug trafficking and the prevention of illegal drug use. Although the development of a national drug strategy was explicitly stipulated in the EU-Moldova Action Plan to harmonize Moldova’s laws and policies towards eventual EU membership, the lack of an adopted national drug strategy remains the primary shortcoming of national drug control policy. According to Moldova’s commitment to the EU, the GOM had to “further strengthen its resolve” in the fight against drug trafficking, including the trafficking of essential chemicals and precursors. In addition, action against drug abuse through prevention and rehabilitation of drug abusers, was required.

Fulfillment of these objectives was of great importance for the GOM in the context of its European integration aspirations. According to the European Commission’s European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) Progress Report on Moldova (April 2009), “Moldova made no, or limited progress, in the effective implementation of a number of reforms which constitute key priorities under the ENP Action Plan.” This also included the effective implementation and enforcement of national strategies in areas such as the fight against drugs. The report goes on to say, “The implementation of the national drugs strategy and relevant action plan for the period 2007-2009 is hampered by lack of trained human resources, financial means and technical equipment. The anti-drugs unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs does not have adequate data on drug usage though noticeable success was achieved in 2008 with regard to seizures. Drug trafficking remains an issue of serious concern requiring an intensification of inter-agency law enforcement cooperation both nationally and regionally.”

In March 2007, Moldova introduced a 2007-2009 Action Plan to meet its commitment to the EU. The Action Plan focused on several items including: improving the country’s drug-related legal framework; establishing educational activities to discourage drug abuse; organizing activities to help reduce drug consumption; and informational activities and training for specialized staff. This Decision, however, did not define any measurable objectives and/or performance indicators that would allow for evaluation of activities prescribed by the Action Plan. Inadequate domestic funding undermined the Action Plan’s goals. Activities that were implemented were funded from outside the GOM.

Other elements of Moldova’s management of narcotics issues also experienced problems. The Interdepartmental Commission for Drug Addiction and Drug Trafficking Control and the Permanent Committee on Drug Control are in charge of managing the GOM’s policies against drug addiction and trafficking.

The members of the Commission are representatives of ministries and other central public authorities dealing with drug-related issues. The majority of these programs exist only on paper and lack real substance. In addition, the Commission does not have local coordinators, and its decisions are not binding. The Commission held only one meeting in 2009.

In 2009, the GOM amended some of its drug control legislation to provide clearer rules for the handling of precursor chemicals and controlled pharmaceuticals, including special labeling for legal, but controlled pharmaceuticals. The new amendments also require that establishments selling narcotic drugs and/or psychotropic substances be licensed. In January 2009, a Governmental Decision defined the quantity for every type of drug, psychotropic substance, or plant that ultimately serves as a basis for legal charges from administrative offence to a more serious charge. In this same connection, basic drug use is considered an administrative offence and not a crime. The illegal purchase or storage of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances in small quantities without intent for distribution, as well as their consumption without a medical prescription, is sanctioned with a fine or with up to 40 hours of community service. An individual who voluntarily turns in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, and/or intends to seek out of his/her own free will, health care assistance related to drug usage or dependency, is exempted from legal sanction.

Moldova is considering a National Anti-Drug Strategy which will have two principal objectives: to decrease drug trafficking to and through Moldova and to restrict the supply and availability of all types of dangerous drugs. This National Anti-Drug Strategy was supposed to be considered and approved in 2009. However, because of political instability which affected Moldova after the April 2009 elections, and the country’s inability to install a government before September, approval of the National Anti-Drug Strategy will be delayed until 2010.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Combating narcotics related crime is one of the major priorities for Moldovan law enforcement agencies. Police, customs officials, and border guards cooperate in counternarcotics activities. The MOI’s Anti-Drug Unit is a 16-person specialized police unit responsible for the prevention and combating of drug-related crime nationwide. Their primary mission is to dismantle organized criminal groups and networks of drug traffickers, rather than dealing with individual drug abusers or small scale street sales. In addition to these full time specialized counternarcotics officers there are 65 other police officers nationwide combating drug-related crime. These 65 officers work at all local police stations situated in different regions of the country. The officers do not report to the Anti-Drug Unit and do not work solely on drug issues. Counternarcotics activities overall were hampered by the lack of a sufficient number of specialized police officers and the lack of funding and inadequate technical equipment.

According to data provided by the MOI’s Internal Affairs Department, 2,103 drug related crimes were registered by law enforcement authorities in 2008, representing a decrease of two percent compared to 2007 (2,147 offences). In the first nine months of 2009, Moldovan authorities registered 1,542 drug-related crimes, compared with 1,747 cases registered during the same timeframe in 2008, which represented a decrease of 11.3 percent. The trend of a slight decrease in drug-related criminal offences has been observed for the last six years.

Districts in the north of the country closer to the Ukrainian border registered a higher number of drug-related crimes, especially those regarding cannabis and poppy cultivation. The municipalities of Chisinau and Balti are the main illegal drugs markets in the country.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the GOM does not encourage or facilitate production, shipment, or distribution of illicit drugs or the laundering of illegal drug proceeds. However, corruption is a serious problem within both Moldovan government and society. The Center for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption (CCECC) is a specialized law enforcement agency responsible for combating of corruption, including money laundering related to narcotics. Some Moldovan civil society representatives have accused the CCECC of a lack of transparency and political bias regarding its investigations, although not specifically in regard to narcotics cases.

Agreements and Treaties. The GOM 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 . Moldova is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption. The GOM is also a party to the 1959 Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and its 1978 protocol.

Cultivation/Production. Moldova is an agriculturally fertile nation with a climate favorable for cultivating cannabis and poppy plants. Authorities regularly seize and destroy illicitly cultivated plants. Cannabis and poppy cultivation is a source of income for the local population in some rural areas. According to the MOI’s Internal Affairs Department, these drugs are primarily produced for local usage, but are also smuggled to neighboring countries such as Ukraine and Russia. Synthetic drugs such as Ecstasy are imported from several EU countries. Moldova is the poorest country in Europe; its population cannot afford expensive drugs. The import of expensive drugs (e.g., heroin and cocaine) is rarely detected and seizures are usually of only small amounts. Lack of control over Moldova’s eastern border creates favorable conditions for cultivation of drugs and drug trafficking via that border.

Each summer, the MOI launches a special law enforcement operation, called “Operation Poppy,” aimed at combating illicit cultivation of narcotics. In 2009, as a result of “Operation Poppy”, 555 criminal proceedings were initiated on charges of illegal cultivation of cannabis and poppy plants. Authorities discovered 406 cannabis plots totaling 70,752 cannabis plants along with 149 different poppy plots totaling 40,665 poppy plants. All were destroyed and 351 persons were arrested.

Drug Flow/Transit. Seizures of illicit narcotics and psychotropic substances in 2009 continued to indicate that Moldova remains primarily a transshipment country. Information provided by the Anti-Drug Unit of the MOI in 2009 indicates that drugs reach Moldova from the following countries: cocaine from Costa Rica and Spain; Ecstasy from Belgium and the Netherlands; heroin from Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine; and amphetamines from Poland and Russia.

Locally cultivated marijuana and poppy straw are exported mostly to neighboring countries such as Ukraine and Russia. According to existing data, Moldova is a transit point for drugs destined for Western Europe and potentially the U.S. as well.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The national Education and Youth Departments develop their own yearly activity plans to prevent drug use in school-age children. “Anti-Drug” lessons are taught in schools. NGOs consider these plans to be inefficient and obsolete. The MOI also organizes activities designed to prevent drug use in pre-university educational institutions primarily through making presentations directly to classes.

In 2008, for the first time, a General Population Survey studying psychotropic substances and related attitudes was conducted to estimate the prevalence of substance abuse among 15-64 year olds living on the right bank of the Dniester River. According to its results, cannabis is the most widely used drug. As of 2008, 3.4 percent of Moldovans had used marijuana/hashish at some point in their lifetimes and 0.9 percent had done so in the last year. Only 0.3 percent of respondents used cannabis in the previous month. Usage of marijuana/hashish is almost thirteen times higher in males (6.5 percent) than in females (0.5 percent). According to the survey, the prevalence of cannabis use in 16-year-old children reached 4.8 percent. Other illegal drugs registered considerably lower rates of use. In Moldova, there are still no reliable estimates for the number of Intravenous Drug Users (IDU). An Integrated Bio Behavioural Survey is planned to be conducted soon in order to estimate the number of IDUs.

Moldova has a national system for collecting data on people who use illegal drugs based almost exclusively on counting the number of cases which enter voluntarily or involuntarily into treatment or the justice system. Registration with relevant public institutions implies the disclosure of one’s identity in the great majority of cases. This is a formidable disincentive to registration. On the other hand, the police have been focusing their enforcement efforts on entertainment venues. This enforcement has led to growth in the number of newly registered cases of drug use for recreational purposes (marijuana, Ecstasy). As of January 1, 2009, 8,390 people were officially registered as drug users on the right bank of the Dniester River. During 2008, 1,138 newly registered cases of drug use on the right bank of the Dniester River were entered into the database, compared to 2007’s figures of 928 out of 1,138 involved in non-addictive usage (mainly cannabis usage) while 210 were considered addicts (primarily opiate users). During 2008, in Moldova’s penitentiary system, 683 prisoners (10 percent of all prisoners) were considered drug users (both registered and suspected).

Detoxification is available within specialized medical institutions in Chisinau and Balti. A few private health care institutions are also authorized to offer detoxification treatment. Detoxification is included in the minimum package of health care services covered by the National Health Insurance Fund, which applies only for insured people (those employed by the government, those who had purchased the health insurance on their own, or had been insured by the state, e.g. students, school pupils, the disabled, and those officially registered as unemployed). Detoxification for the uninsured is not provided for free, excluding cases of deep social vulnerability. If insured potential patients for detoxification do not wish to disclose their identity, they must pay for the detoxification too, since the use of the medical insurance policy rules out anonymity.

There is no formally structured, integrated approach to treatment for drug addiction in Moldova. The after-care and reintegration system is underdeveloped. There are no known assistance donors interested in supporting such activities either. In 2007, the first Center for the rehabilitation for drug addicts was created in Chisinau. The Center works on an outpatient basis. Persons who are drug-addicted are treated. For insured persons, all services are free of charge.

Once discharged from the hospital after detoxification, those patients who are not referred for different reasons to the rehabilitation center may be invited to continue treatment in rehabilitation and reintegration programs offered by different local NGOs, or to even go outside the country for treatment. The advantage of local NGOs is that they offer free-of-charge services on an anonymous basis.

An agreement between the Ministry of Health and the Soros Foundation-Moldova was signed on May 8, 2003. According to this agreement, the Soros Foundation-Moldova would develop a network of NGOs and public institutions implementing activities to prevent the spread of HIV among high risk groups. The GOM has not funded such activities to date.

The basic components of programs for IDUs within the penitentiary sector are as follows: information/education/outreach about HIV and ways of preventing it in the context of high risk practices (distribution of informational materials, condoms, workshops), needle/syringe exchange; substitution-maintenance treatment using methadone as the key pharmaceutical.

Activities for inmates are conducted primarily by the medical services of the penitentiary institutions. In 2008, the information component was implemented with materials distributed and workshops on HIV/AIDS prevention held in all 18 penitentiary institutions. Needle exchange programs started functioning in seven prisons. At the end of 2008 substitution (methadone) treatment was available in five prisons

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The GOM and the USG cooperate on law enforcement and counternarcotics issues on basis of the Letter of Agreement on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, signed on August 28, 2001, along with amendments to this letter, providing additional funding to support activities designed to create sustainable improvement to the rule-of-law and to the operational capabilities of Moldova’s law enforcement agencies.

Ongoing USG-provided training and provision of equipment are designed to improve the ability of Moldovan police to investigate and dismantle organized crime and narcotics enterprises. The DEA’s office in Vienna is responsible for case work cooperation and drug enforcement assistance to members of Moldova’s drug unit within the MOI. Direct communication between the DEA and Moldovan officers is regular and benefits both sides’ efforts against the drug trade.

The USG also offers assistance in customs and border control, with programs specifically aimed at strengthening Moldovan border control. During 2008, the USG financed basic and specialized law enforcement training programs via the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), which included narcotics enforcement modules. INL also supported the GOM through the donation of equipment in 2009. These programs focused on enhancing techniques related to combating corruption, money laundering, illicit drug trafficking, and organized crime. Seventeen employees of Moldovan law enforcement agencies attended the International Law Enforcement Academy in Hungary during 2009.

One of the goals of the 2009 tranche of INL assistance is to modernize Moldovan law enforcement by improving its ability to investigate and effectively prosecute serious crimes that stem from transnational organized crime. Using a variety of USG law enforcement agencies (DOJ’s OPDAT and ICITAP, DEA, FBI, ICE, etc.), training courses will be provided to meet EU-Moldova Action plan goals linked to combating organized crime. Specialized training will be implemented in the areas of financial crime, money laundering, cyber crime, general forensics investigations, border security, interdiction, transnational narcotics trafficking, and law enforcement leadership and management. Actions to be taken by the USG, primarily through experienced DOJ/OPDAT and ICITAP legal and law enforcement advisors posted to Embassy Chisinau, include the provision of targeted skills development training and appropriate instructional materials to Moldovan law enforcement.

The Road Ahead. The USG and the GOM will continue to work together through USG-sponsored assistance programs to help improve the ability of Moldovan law enforcement to create sustainable improvement in the rule of law and in the operational capabilities of Moldova’s law enforcement agencies. Successful collaboration of the GOM with international law enforcement and political entities in combating transnational organized crime involving narcotics will yield great results for the USG, the Moldovan government, and the Moldovan people.

 

Mongolia

I. Summary

Although small in scale, the production, sale, trafficking and abuse of narcotics in Mongolia is on the rise. The primary drugs of abuse are hashish and cannabis. Poor people are apt to use commercially available inhalants and glues. In addition, many patients hospitalized for trauma or other painful conditions become addicted to morphine through prescriptions of excessive doses of the painkiller. Groups particularly vulnerable to narcotics abuse include children and young adults from upper-middle class families as well as women employed or exploited in night clubs and underground brothels. Narcotics are most prevalent in Ulaanbaatar as well as cities bordering Russia and China, such as Darkhan and Zamyn-Uud.

Although Mongolia implemented the National Anti-Drug, Anti-Narcotics Program (NADANP) from 2005-2008, progress was very modest. Interagency cooperation increased and customs procedures for drug interdiction continue to improve. Nevertheless, enforcement capacity and budgeting remains insufficient for law enforcement and customs agencies. Officers by and large remain dedicated to fighting drug trafficking and abuse. Prevention and treatment programs for narcotics are poor. What therapy drug addicts do receive is generally based upon the therapies applied to abusers of alcohol. There are only two practicing doctors nationwide with specialization in narcotics addiction. Combined with the inaccessibility of appropriate treatment options, the lack of public awareness campaigns and the severe social stigma regarding drug use, very few patients voluntarily check into drug treatment. Mongolia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

The level of domestic narcotics production is believed to be low. The most common local source is naturally growing cannabis plants in the northern provinces. Blown on southerly winds, their spores incrementally approach the latitudes of the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar each year. Another source is drug exporters residing in Russia and China. Smugglers use Mongolia both as a destination and as a transit route.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The National Council carried out the National Anti-Drug, Anti-Narcotics Program from 2005 to 2008. Led by the National Police, the goals of the council include the coordination of counternarcotics policies among administrative bodies, legal reviews, studies of the circumstances of drug related crimes, prevention campaigns for minors and the supply of necessary equipment and trained staff to the drug identification labs.

A new law was implemented in 2009, providing for the monitoring of narcotic flows and psychological assistance for addicts. In addition, cooperation between government law enforcement, intelligence, customs and border patrol agencies improved. Under the impetus of a new customs law in 2008, the Mongolian Customs General Administration (MCGA) is reforming its risk assessment techniques. With its nationwide network to gather and analyze data and information shared among agencies, the MCGA is implementing a risk management program beginning this year. The goal is to focus more effectively on suspicious customs declarations as recommended in World Customs Organization guidelines. This is in conjunction with an IT modernization project currently underway. The MCGA is also training dogs for drug sniffing and deploying the dogs to border crossings, airports and post offices.

Despite these improvements, the NADANP has lapsed and remains in limbo. Government-NGO coordination is insufficient. Then-Prime Minister Bayar announced an intergovernmental working group in February 2009 to continue counternarcotics measures. The group failed to meet or set an agenda. NGOs and drug treatment specialists reported that even in the midst of NADANP they were given little opportunity to offer input in counternarcotics policy. Despite the goal of supporting field studies, little remains known regarding drug related criminal activity, the quantity of drug production or the scale of narcotics abuse within Mongolia.

The government of Mongolia arranged a conference in June 2009 on National Anti-Drug Day, bringing together government agencies and NGOs and emphasizing cooperation among them. Meanwhile, conference resolutions from the prior year saw little progress towards actual implementation. Although a 2008 forum had similarly emphasized cooperation between government agencies and NGOs and increased funding for the latter, these policies have not materialized. NGOs reported continued isolation from policy discussions, and lost funding as budgets were cut amidst the international financial crisis. In addition, there was no progress made on the 2008 conference proposal to build the nation’s first drug rehabilitation center.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Law enforcement success hinges on intelligence gathering by the MCGA, the Border Patrol and the General Intelligence Agency, and the apprehension and investigation of suspects by the National Police Agency (NPA). The NPA in turn divides these duties respectively between the Division Against Organized Crime within the Criminal Police Department and the State Investigation Department. In 2009 through October, the police seized 125 ounces of cannabis, seven ounces of hashish and several amphetamine tablets. In the same period 40 cases were opened regarding drug offenses, through which 35 people were found guilty. In comparison, from 1998 to 2008, there were 215 people found guilty through 93 cases. Thirty foreigners were among those convicted in this period, including 15 Russians and 10 Chinese.

Drug traffickers tended to operate on an individual basis or in small groups. Fully fledged organized criminal enterprises have yet to take root. The Serious and Organized Crime Investigation Division reported no violent crimes by drug abusers. The offenses most correlated with drug trafficking included identity card forgery, larceny and illegal border crossing. Law enforcement officials report there is no evidence drug traffickers engage in money laundering within Mongolia.

Resources available to law enforcement are inadequate. Nationwide there are 60 police officers who work on drug cases related to minors, or one officer for every 15,000 children. Although it is every police officer’s duty to monitor secondary schools, it was unclear how effective the police were at monitoring. Only two children were referred to the National Psychopathology and Addiction Center year to date for narcotics abuse, and they were not provided with sustained treatment or counseling there.

Corruption. Although corruption is widespread in the public sector, there are no specific reports linking it to narcotics trafficking. However there are possibly improprieties done by pharmacists and/or doctors given the numerous cases of morphine abuse by their former patients.

The Independent Authority Against Corruption investigates public officials for misconduct. The Authority compels the country’s top officials, including parliamentarians, Cabinet ministers and Supreme Court justices to declare their assets and income. Although they have indicted a number of officials on charges of corruption, none were narcotics related. The government does not encourage or facilitate illicit production of drugs or the laundering of the proceeds thereof. No senior government official is known to facilitate or encourage the production or distribution of illegal drugs or the laundering of the proceeds thereof.

Agreements and Treaties. Mongolia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Mongolia also is a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and on June 27, 2008, acceded to its three Protocols.. The United States and Mongolia have in force a customs mutual legal assistance agreement.

In December 2008, the MCGA signed a three-year technical cooperation agreement with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. Dutch officials have since begun assisting their Mongolian counterparts with risk management techniques and other capacity-building measures.

Drug Flow/Transit. The MCGA believes there are two primary drug transit routes into or through Mongolia. The first brings narcotics from China into Mongolia. The second originates in Central Asia, and passes through Mongolia with ultimate destinations as far as Japan and South Korea. The predominant contraband is cannabis and hashish, both of which are also grown locally. In addition, foreign manufactured amphetamines, heroin, and cocaine have also been seized in recent years. Although morphine stocks are government regulated and reserved for medical use, this narcotic is occasionally prescribed excessively or inappropriately, leading to patient addiction.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The lack of studies regarding domestic narcotics consumption hinders progress in setting metrics for demand reduction programs. In 2009 for the first time the publicly sponsored National Psychopathology and Addiction Center published a booklet entitled: “The Distribution of Addicts”. It focuses on alcohol abuse and touches only briefly on narcotics. Of note, it references a 2006 NGO that surveyed 1000 secondary school students in Zamyn-Uud, Darkhan and Ulaanbaatar. Of those, 410 admitted at least one instance of narcotic use, and 80 described themselves as addicts.

There is a dire lack of drug abuse prevention programs in Mongolia. The government made little effort to inform the public regarding the dangers of narcotics and the path to recovery. Public awareness initiatives of note included counternarcotics advertisements broadcast on the occasion of National Anti-Drug Day. Besides this, government-funded NGO staff visited primary schools to inform students of the dangers of alcohol and narcotics. The primary source of increased narcotics awareness was the private media. They reported on a number of narcotics trafficking and abuse cases, some involving public figures.

Drug treatment programs are also lacking. Nationwide there are only two practicing doctors who have some specialization in narcotics abuse. Both are employed in the Ulaanbaatar-based National Psychopathology and Addiction Center. The only medical facility that specializes in addictions, the Center lacks the medical equipment to screen patients to determine what drugs are in their system. Furthermore, the treatment regimen is all but identical to that applied to alcohol abusers. The number of patients being treated at the center for narcotics abuse is generally under 10 at any given time. Only one new patient was admitted through October of 2009. This low number of new admissions is likely a product not only of the inaccessibility of appropriate treatment options to wide swaths of the population, but also the lack of public awareness campaigns and the severe social stigma regarding drug use.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

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

The Road Ahead. The United States will continue to cooperate closely with Mongolia to assist with implementation of counternarcotics policies, including border protection, support for the Independent Authority Against Corruption, and training and assistance for the Mongolian police.

 

Montenegro

I. Summary

Montenegro is mainly a transit country for narcotics moving from Southeast and Southwest Asia towards Western Europe. Heroin, mostly produced in Afghanistan, and cannabis (marijuana type “skunk”) from neighboring Albania find their way to the Western European market via the Western Balkans. Montenegro is also a transit point for cocaine produced in Latin America and smuggled overseas to Montenegro and then on to EU countries. A small portion of the smuggled narcotics (between 10-15 per cent) remains in the country and is sold in the small, but growing, domestic market. In spite of the fact that Montenegro has made counternarcotics activities one of its main priorities, drug related crime and drug abuse, particularly among young people, is on the rise. The National Strategic Response to Narcotics and the Action Plan are implemented by the new National Drugs Office at the Ministry of Health. Montenegrin law enforcement bodies cooperate with the U.S., EU and regional partners to combat illicit narcotics smuggling and distribution. There were some significant drug seizures during 2009. Montenegro is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, as a successor state of Serbia and Montenegro. GoM officials actively participated in various U.S. training programs and were receptive to strengthened cooperation with U.S agencies in Montenegro, including RLA, ICITAP, EXBS, and DEA.

II. Status of Country

Montenegro’s location along the so called “Balkan route” of drug smuggling provided an incentive to organized criminal groups to use its territory as a transshipment point for drugs destined for the EU. This is clear from growing drug seizures made in Montenegro and along its borders. Montenegro is still vulnerable to the penetration of drug traffickers, and the Government of Montenegro (GoM) has made the protection of its borders one of its priorities. U.S.-sponsored projects to promote border security have provided assistance. The police believe that most smuggled drugs come from Albania and Kosovo and are carried by both Montenegrin and foreign nationals. According to the Ministry of Interior (MOI), domestic drug traffickers remain closely connected to organized crime groups in neighboring countries and the wider region. There are also press reports indicating the involvement of Montenegrin citizens in illicit narcotic smuggling abroad. There were no reports about the production of narcotics, precursor chemicals or synthetic drugs in Montenegro. Marijuana and heroin are the most prevalent drugs on the local market, while synthetic drugs are less frequently used. After police seizures it has been noticed that ‘skunk’ marijuana has increasingly supplanted ordinary marijuana in the illegal drug market and in smuggling through Montenegro headed for Western Europe. Despite the GoM’s counternarcotics efforts, statistics show that drug-related crimes as well as domestic drug addiction rates have increased in 2009. Authorities have noted an increase in the use of drugs among the young population and an increase of sexually- and blood-transmitted diseases (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, gonorrhea). Surveys showed that drugs were most used in the southern region, somewhat less in the northern region, and least in the central region of Montenegro.

The GoM has placed a high priority on fighting drug abuse and trafficking and has begun to take steps to address public health issues associated with drug use. Education programs in schools, outreach programs and awareness campaigns on the harmful effects of drug use were carried out. Analysis confirmed that young people were most likely to abuse drugs.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs

Policy Initiatives. In 2000 and 2001, the GoM produced a five-year plan and program for combating addictive drug use in Montenegro. Subsequently, the GoM adopted a long term plan and action program to continue combating drug addiction, followed by an even more detailed, and action-oriented Drug Abuse Prevention Program for children and adults (2003), which defined activities for combating drug addiction for the period 2003-2006.

In May 2008, the GoM issued the country’s first National Strategic Response to Drugs 2008-2012, along with an Action Plan 2008-2009 to implement that strategy and carry forward plans and initiatives to meet the objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. These documents replaced and supplanted previous programs. The government also created a National Office, within the Ministry of Health, to ensure effective coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the country’s counternarcotics efforts.

The National Strategy has both general and specific objectives. The general objective of the strategy is to reduce both the supply of, and the demand for drugs. Demand reduction programs, achieved through prevention education, treatment, and rehabilitation, are designed to achieve a measurable reduction in drug use, drug dependence, and will have the spin-off benefits of a reduction in associated health and social risks. The central supply reduction objective is to raise the efficiency of police and customs enforcement through better intelligence. Specific objectives are: establishment of an information system to collect and process drug-related intelligence, and establishment of a clear system for European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDAA) information to be used in Montenegro. Strengthening relevant legislation in line with EU recommendations, sustaining research into drug addiction and trafficking, and encouraging professional training in drug related areas are all part of the plan.

The Action Plan defines a timetable of activities and duties for each ministry or particular office for each budgetary period. It regularly emphasizes the importance of coordination of all actors involved in combating drugs, making clear the importance of information exchange. The National Drugs Office has established a system of contact persons within each entity responsible for carrying out these polices: the Ministry of Interior and Police, Justice Ministry, and other relevant ministries, local governments and the healthcare system, plus several NGOs are all involved. A Council of Experts, with the President of Montenegro as its honorary President, provides expertise and advisory support.

Articles 300 and 301 of the Montenegrin Criminal Code provide criminal penalties for production and trafficking of narcotics. Article 300 is related to unauthorized production, storage and sale of narcotics, and Article 301 relates to drug consumption penalties. The new Criminal Procedure Code provides for mandatory treatment of drug addicts, temporary or permanent seizure of assets derived from illicit drug trafficking, and the use of secret surveillance measures during the pre—trial and investigation process. The penalty for producing and selling drugs ranges from two to 15 years in prison. The penalty for producing or acquiring equipment or materials for the production of drugs ranges from six months to five years in prison. The incitement or facilitation of drug use is punishable by prison sentence from six months to 10 years.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The Drug Smuggling Suppression Department (DSSD) within the Police’s crime division is responsible for law enforcement efforts and for exchange of information between eight counternarcotics police units located throughout Montenegro, the Customs Administration, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance and Interpol. There are 57 trained staff in Montenegro’s eight counternarcotics police units. Police officials believe that current staffing levels meet their needs, but have plans to reorganize their personnel to form a centralized unit with five departments. Police and Customs cooperation has been effective. Border police use 10 tracking dogs and motor patrol boats to curb illicit drug trafficking at sea. During 2009 police officers continued to receive counternarcotics training at the Police Academy, with continuing strong support from Montenegro’s international partners

Several important counternarcotics police operations were launched during the year:

  • The largest operation “Golub” (Pigeon) was carried out on February 26 and resulted in the arrest of 50 people involved with seven organized criminal groups from central Montenegro. The suspects are accused of smuggling 600 kilograms of “skunk” marijuana, weapons and ammunition from Albania to Montenegro. Police believe that their success on this case has forced drug traffickers to search for new routes through Kosovo to smuggle “skunk” (“high THC-content marijuana”) from Albania.
     
  • On April 10, the police carried out an action dubbed “BM-ZX” and arrested 8 persons for smuggling heroin and skunk.
     
  • On September 5, police arrested ten persons from Rozaje and Berane for trafficking illicit drugs.
     
  • Investigations mostly focused on the lower-level organizers of criminal groups, users, street dealers, and border seizures; major narcotics dealers are rarely arrested.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the GOM does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Nonetheless, corruption and the perception that corruption is tolerated are common in Montenegro, and affect both law enforcement and the judiciary. The Government made efforts aimed at reducing corruption, identifying it as a key strategic priority and has adopted many new laws and established institutions to deal with corruption. However, implementation in practice of these programs has lagged behind legislation. Public confidence in the Government’s ability to combat corruption remained weak. Montenegrin police denied local press claims that they had been excluded from some joint police investigations (for example, an international police action dubbed, “Balkan Warrior”, which resulted in seizure of 2.1 tons of cocaine in Uruguay.) because of concern for operational security.

Agreements and Treaties. As the successor state to Serbia and Montenegro, Montenegro has become a party to a number of narcotics-related international treaties, including the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Montenegro is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. The 1902 extradition treaty between the United States and the Kingdom of Serbia remains in force between the U.S. and Montenegro.

Cultivation / Production. There was no known cultivation or production of narcotics in Montenegro in 2009, short of a few cases of “house” cultivation of marijuana.

Drug Flow/Transit. Organized crime groups use Montenegro as a transit point for drug smuggling, due to the country’s location and its topography-both coastal and mountainous. Police believe that certain criminal groups in the country are a part of larger international narcotics smuggling chains from the region, Western Europe, South America and Middle East. The money earned from narcotics is laundered through legal business, and by buying of real estate or expensive cars.

Marijuana (“skunk”) is smuggled from producers in Albania, en route to the former SFRY republics and Central and Western Europe. Police say that this problem has been particularly prevalent in recent years during which they discovered significant expansion of the production of high THC-content marijuana (“skunk”) which contains 3-4 times more THC than regular marijuana, and is several times more expensive.

Heroin from Afghanistan transits Turkey, Albania, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia and is smuggled to Montenegro in private vehicles before being transported further into Western Europe (to Scandinavia, Germany, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands). In recent years the police have identified major heroin smuggling routes through Montenegro from Kosovo under the control of criminal groups from in Rozaje and Berane (northern Montenegro).

Cocaine is smuggled by sea from South America and then on to other countries in the region and to EU countries (Scandinavia, Belgium, the Netherlands). The police believe that Montenegrin citizens residing in EU countries have been involved in cocaine smuggling from Latin America to Spain, Holland and Scandinavia.

The Montenegrin police report that the usual summer influx of tourists along Montenegro’s coast has led to seasonal increases in the use of synthetic drugs. Heroin prices in Montenegro ranged from 10 to 15 Euros (equivalent to $15-$23) per gram, cocaine from 60 to 80 Euros (equivalent to $90-$120) per gram, marijuana from 5 to 10 Euros (equivalent to $7.5-$15) per pack weighting 10-15 grams, and Ecstasy from 3 to 5 Euros (equivalent to $ 4.5- $7.5) per tablet.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Drug use began to spread more widely in Montenegro in the mid 1990s, becoming a significant public health issue in 2000. Reliable statistics on drug use in Montenegro are still lacking. According to a 2008 survey on the use of alcohol and other drugs, conducted using the EU’s methodology and involving high-school-age respondents, the most frequently-used illicit drugs were marijuana and inhalants, followed by tranquilizers and sedatives. Local surveys showed the rate of lifetime use of drugs by secondary school students to be 7.8 percent in 1999/2000 compared to 6.9 percent in 2006/2007; while age of first use fell from 16 years in 1999/2000 to 14 years in 2006/7.

There are nine municipal drug prevention offices across the country that carry out various public awareness activities and conduct local polls on the use of drugs. Authorities estimate that Montenegro has between 2,000 and 3,000 addicts. The number of patients treated for addiction in inpatient and outpatient healthcare in 2007 was around 600. The number of drug-related deaths per year was low (four in 2005, four in 2006, seven in 2007 and five in 2008). There is no formal mechanism for coordinating drug addiction treatment. Available treatment consists of outpatient level in 17 health centers across the country, while inpatient includes the psychiatric clinics in Podgorica and Niksic and the psychiatric hospital in Kotor as well as some private psychiatric facilities. Rehabilitation and re-socialization programs are provided in the Public Institution for Accommodation, Rehabilitation and Re-socialization of Drug-Users in Podgorica.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. Montenegrin Police and Customs officers continued to receive USG-funded training in anti-organized crime operations and suppression techniques aimed at strengthening Montenegro’s capacity to protect its borders and to combat drug trafficking and other related crimes. Training, technical advice, equipment and other assistance to Customs and Police units have been provided via the International Criminal Investigative Training and Assistance Program (ICITAP) funded by the State Department, and Export Control and Related Border Security Program (EXBS)-led training. The U.S. Coast Guard sent training teams to Montenegro for courses on Incident Command System implementation and professional military education. Although not specifically related to drugs, these programs are aimed at reducing the flow of all illicit goods and improving the professional capability of law enforcement officials. DEA local police cooperation is excellent.

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

 

Morocco

I. Summary

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

II. Status of Country

Morocco is one of the world’s largest cannabis resin (hashish) producers, but its importance as a main source country for cannabis resin is declining. The 2009 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report states that although Morocco remains one of the world’s largest producers of cannabis, fewer countries around the world are citing Morocco as the “source” country or “origin” of the cannabis resin found in their markets. The percentage of countries citing Morocco as the origin of hashish found in their markets has dropped from 31 percent in 2003 to 21 percent in 2009. The GOM points to this statistic as an indication of success in its counternarcotics efforts. Increased cannabis resin production in Afghanistan might also have pushed Moroccan hashish from some illicit markets.

Cannabis remains primarily an illicit export crop for Moroccan growers, with the vast majority of the product typically processed into cannabis resin or oil and exported predominately to Europe. Only very small amounts of cannabis and other narcotics being produced in or transiting through Morocco reach the United States. Cannabis cultivation has historically centered in the northern tip of the country, between the Rif Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, and at one time large segments of the population of that area participated in that cultivation. The GOM has had some success reducing the area dedicated to cannabis cultivation and in encouraging the cultivation of alternative crops. Fewer than 100,000 Moroccans are currently involved in cannabis cultivation, according to the GOM.

The center of cannabis production in Morocco appears to have shifted from Chefchaouen to al-Hoceima due to GOM eradication efforts. Most current cannabis cultivation occurs in al-Hoceima, with the adjoining province of Chefchaouen largely making up the rest of production. The provinces of Larache, Taounate, and Tetouan, which were formerly major production centers, have become less important areas for cannabis cultivation as a direct result of GOM eradication efforts.

Morocco is also combating the growth in trafficking and consumption of harder drugs, particularly cocaine. According to the GOM, South American drug smugglers continue to transport cocaine through Morocco and onward to Europe.

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

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Morocco’s national strategy to combat drugs rests on the three pillars of: (1) interdiction, (2) eradication, and (3) demand reduction. Morocco’s strongest actions have been in the areas of interdiction and eradication. GOM officials seek to build upon their already strong existing relationships with international organizations such as the UNODC, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), and INTERPOL. This cooperation has been strong on the law enforcement side but less robust in terms of demand reduction efforts, as GOM officials still consider demand to be mainly a European problem.

Morocco’s national drug strategy is augmented by an emphasis on a broader economic development approach and crop substitution. Moroccan officials have reported the successful substitution of olives, figs and carob (Ed. Used as a sweetener, as a substitute for chocolate, and in drinks in Mediterranean countries) for cannabis since the launch of their 2004 drug-eradication campaign. Saffron may offer another crop substitution possibility.

Moroccan authorities reported that they hope to complete another detailed drug study in cooperation with UNODC as well as update their national drug strategy in 2010. The Moroccan Ministry of Interior (MOI) has as its goal to reduce cannabis cultivation to 12,000 ha from the current level of about 50,000 ha by 2012. If this goal is accomplished, it would mean that Morocco would have reduced cannabis cultivation by 91 percent since it first started serious eradication efforts in 2003, according to the GOM.

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

The GOM has deployed 11,000 enforcement personnel throughout the northern and south western coastal areas to interdict drug shipments, maintain counternarcotics checkpoints, and staff observation posts along the coast. The Moroccan Navy carries out routine sea patrols to suppress sea-borne narcotics trafficking. GOM forces are now using helicopters, planes, speed boats, mobile x-ray scanners, ultrasound equipment, and satellites in their drug fight. The mobile x-ray scanner has proven to be particularly effective. In April, customs and police officials seized and destroyed a record 34 metric tons of cannabis at the port in Casablanca. In June, the GOM seized 20 metric tons of cannabis resin during an inspection at the port of Nador, the largest load ever seized there.

According to the GOM, Moroccan law enforcement arrested 27,226 individuals in connection with drug related offenses in 2009, of whom 471 were foreigners arrested for international drug trafficking. Arrests of traffickers at the seaports and of arriving cocaine “mules” from Sub-Saharan Africa at the Casablanca airport are frequently in the news. Detection training and the use of ultrasound equipment were critical to the success of these seizures. As authorities become more vigilant, GOM officials opine that cocaine smugglers are likely to seek access to Europe through much harder to detect land routes and other methods.

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

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the GOM does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. These actions are illegal and the government tries to enforce these laws to the best of its ability. Despite GOM actions to combat the illicit drug trafficking industry, narcotics-related corruption among governmental, judicial, military and law enforcement officials appears to continue. In January, authorities dismantled a large international drug trafficking ring involving some Moroccan government officials. The 112 defendants, including 35 civilians, 30 members of the Royal Navy, 19 members of the Royal Gendarmerie, 27 members of the Auxilliary Forces, and one member of the Royal Army Forces, have been charged with alleged involvement in forming a criminal gang, international drug trafficking, and corruption.

In July, Spanish authorities extradited notorious drug baron Mohamed Taieb Ahmed (AKA “El Nene”) to Morocco following his escape from a prison in Kenitra with the assistance of local prison guards. In August, Moroccan courts sentenced El Nene to an additional five year prison term on charges of corruption and escaping prison.

In late 2008, the government formed the Central Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (ICPC). In July 2009, the ICPC released its first report, stating that it had received 21 valid corruption complaints. At year’s end, investigations were ongoing. Officials attributed the low number of complaints, in part, to the lack of legislation protecting whistle blowers in corruption cases. The Commission is working with the MOJ to develop procedures for processing corruption complaints. In addition to the commission, the MOJ and the Government Accountability Court (Cour de Comptes) also had jurisdiction over corruption issues.

Agreements and Treaties. Morocco is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Morocco is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, but has not signed any of its protocols. Morocco and the United States cooperate in law enforcement matters under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). Morocco is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption. Morocco has several cooperative agreements to fight against drugs with European countries such as Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy, and it seeks to work closely with other Arab and African countries.

Cultivation/Production/Eradication. Morocco succeeded in decreasing the land dedicated to cannabis cultivation by 62 percent from 134,000 ha in 2003 to 52,000 ha in 2009, due in part to an aggressive eradication campaign, carried out mainly by Gendarmes and local authorities, police and customs officials, according to the GOM. Cannabis resin production dropped 75 percent from 3,070 metric tons to 760 metric tons between 2003 and 2009. Morocco used the following methods to eradicate illicit crops: (1) defoliants sprayed via airplane, (2) mechanical and manual destruction of crops and (3) burning.

GOM officials report that during the 2009 eradication campaign, they were able to eradicate a total of 8,338 ha of cannabis in the Northern provinces. This includes 2,032 ha in Taounate, 6,066 ha in Chefchaouen, 5 ha in Tetouan, 3 ha in al Hoceima and 232 ha in Larache.

Since 2004, Morocco has conducted an awareness campaign for cannabis growers, alerting them to the environmental dangers of cannabis mono-culture, including soil exhaustion, excessive fertilizer concentrations, and deforestation, and informing them of alternatives to use the land more productively. The GOM selected the northern province of Taounate in 2006 as the site for the construction of the National Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants to study the viability of various crop substitutes. Saffron cultivation and rose petal extraction for scents are two examples of possible future economically viable substitutes for cannabis cultivation in the region. Olives, figs and carob have also been successfully substituted for cannabis. GOM officials report that since the 2003 awareness campaign started, there has been a 62 percent decrease in cannabis production in the northern areas of the country.

Drug Flow/Transit. Given its proximity to Morocco, Spain is a key transfer point for Europe-bound Moroccan cannabis resin. From Spain, it can normally be transshipped to most other Western European destinations. France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy are also major European destinations for cannabis trafficked from Morocco. Notwithstanding the changes reported above in cultivation and production, there is no indication of a significant diminution of cannabis products reaching these major European markets, according to the 2009 UNODC World Drug Report.

Most large shipments of illicit cannabis bound for Spain travel via speedboats, which can make the roundtrip to Spain in one hour or less, although fishing boats, yachts, and other vessels are also used. Smugglers also continue to transport cannabis via truck and car through the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, known to have lower inspection standards than the rest of the European Union, and the Moroccan port of Tangier, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar by ferry. According to the GOM, heroin enters Morocco from the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and is therefore generally limited to the provinces of Tangier and Tetouan. At the end of 2008, Morocco and Spain formed a joint commission to fight drug trafficking and illegal migration. Spain’s deployment of a network of fixed and modular radar, infrared, and video sensors around the Strait of Gibraltar, starting in 1999 and known as the Integrated System of External Vigilance (SIVE), has forced Moroccan smugglers to take longer and more vulnerable routes.

Although the main African transit points for South American cocaine remain Sub-Saharan, Morocco has also been used as a transit country. According to the GOM, most of the seizures of cocaine have taken place in airports. The reduction in seizures of cocaine since 2007 may indicate the success of the GOM’s drug eradication strategy, including increased use of x-ray scanners in airports.

The number of trans-national drug trafficking networks in Morocco is declining, according to the GOM. However, networks with French, Spanish, Dutch and Belgian ties remain in operation. In September, authorities announced the dismantling of two drug trafficking networks. One consisted of 11 individuals specializing in robberies, assault and drug trafficking. The second ring consisted of an unreported number of individuals involved in distributing cocaine in Morocco.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The GOM is concerned about anecdotal evidence suggesting an increase in domestic cocaine and heroin use, but does not currently have an effective system in place to measure and evaluate the situation. In 2009, the GOM established a drug treatment facility in Casablanca to provide specialized treatments to patients suffering from addiction. Morocco has also established a program to train the staffs of psychiatric hospitals in the treatment of drug addiction. In order to discourage drug abuse among school children, the Ministry of Health launched a counternarcotics awareness campaign targeting school children and created drug-free school zones, patrolled by police and the Auxiliary Forces. In partnership with UNODC, the Ministry of Health is exploring the relationship between drug use and HIV/AIDS infection in Morocco. Moroccan civil society and some schools are active in promoting counternarcotics campaigns.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

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

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which covers Morocco from its Paris office, continued its bilateral exchange of information with the Moroccans in support of several ongoing drug investigations in 2009.

During FY 2009, DHS/CBP provided training to Moroccan police, gendarmes, customs and Ministry of Justice officials in the areas of: (1) border interdiction training (2) cargo control (3) fraudulent document detection and (4) anticorruption. DHS/CBP will be engaging Moroccan authorities in these same aforementioned areas in FY 2010. Coast Guard Cutter LEGARE conducted coordinated maritime law enforcement operations with the Moroccan Navy in July 2009, conducting professional exchanges and sharing best practices.

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

 

Mozambique

I. Summary

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

II. Status of Country

Mozambique is not a significant producer of illegal drugs and not a producer of precursor chemicals. Herbal cannabis remains the most produced and most consumed drug in the country. Mozambique’s role as a transit country for illicit drugs and precursors continues to grow because of its weak and sometimes corrupt law enforcement capacity at borders, major seaports, and airports. It is a favored point of disembarkation in Africa for transiting to South Africa (the major regional market for illicit drugs) and shipment onward to Europe. Southwest Asian traffickers ship cannabis resin (hashish) and synthetic drugs through Mozambique to South Africa and on to Europe. Limited quantities of these shipments may also reach the United States and Canada. Heroin and other opiate derivatives shipped through Mozambique usually originate in Southeast Asia and typically transit India, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and later Tanzania, before arriving by small ship or, occasionally, overland to Mozambique. In 2009, there continued to be reports of cocaine entering the country via couriers on international flights from Brazil.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Mozambique’s accomplishments in meeting its goals under the 1988 UN Drug Convention remain limited. Mozambique’s resource-poor government, with many claimants for its limited funds, provides few resources for the counternarcotics effort. The government provides some drug education programs in local schools in cooperation with bilateral and multilateral donors.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Mozambique’s counternarcotics brigade operates in Maputo and reports to the Chief of the Criminal Investigation Police in the Ministry of Interior. The brigade suffers from a general lack of resources and is operating at reduced levels compared with previous years. The brigade has not received training for several years. A small specialized police unit designed to strengthen efforts to fight organized crime, including narcotics trafficking, has operated at airports in provincial capitals since 2005. For the first half of 2009 cannabis seizures were 505 kilograms, down sharply from the 2008 total of 2,603 kilograms. Total cannabis seizures in 2007 were reported at 4,638 kilograms. Mozambique officials say the decrease is due to alterations in trafficking patterns and not to an actual decrease in narcotics transiting the country. Cocaine seizures for the first half of 2009 were 1.3 kilograms, and total seizures in 2008 were 5.5 kilograms. The counternarcotics police reported seizing 4,454 kilograms of hashish in 2009, after reporting no seizures in 2007 and 2008. No heroin was reported seized in the first half of 2009. It is widely assumed that illegal drugs enter the country by sea; the government relies on sporadic port inspections and under-trained border guards to police its long sea coast.

In 2008, 538 Mozambican citizens and 10 foreign nationals were indicted for drug use or trafficking stemming from 480 investigations. Of the 548 total arrests in 2008 only 71 were found guilty and of the 71, only 26 were guilty of drug trafficking.

Corruption. Despite strong anticorruption rhetoric from the government, corruption is perceived as rampant in Mozambique. High-level government officials are suspected to be involved in narcotics-trafficking. As one government official put it, “Some fish are too big to catch.” Inadequately trained and equipped law enforcement agencies and corruption in the police and judiciary hamper Mozambique’s interdiction efforts and makes it easier for traffickers to use Mozambique as a transit point for illegal narcotics. The government does not as a matter of policy encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

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

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

Drug Flow/Transit. Assessments of the volume of drugs transiting Mozambique are based upon limited seizure data and the observations of Mozambique officials and UNODC officials; there is no system for collecting reliable information on this illicit activity. Mozambique increasingly serves as a transit country for hashish, cannabis resin, heroin, and mandrax originating in Southwest Asia, owing to its porous borders, long and sparsely patrolled coastline, lack of resources for interdiction efforts, and improving transportation links with neighboring countries. Drugs destined for the South African and European markets arrive in Mozambique by small ship, mostly in the coastal provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Sofala, and Inhambane, before being repackaged and sent by land to neighboring countries.

Domestic Program/Demand Reduction. The primary substances of abuse are alcohol, nicotine, and herbal cannabis. The Mozambican Office for Prevention and the Fight Against Drugs (GCPCD) maintains an office in each provincial capital and coordinates a drug prevention and education program for use in schools and with high risk families; the program includes plays and lectures in schools, churches, and other places where youths gather. The GCPCD has also provided the material to a number of local NGOs for use in their drug education programs. GCPCD reported a near doubling of citizens involved in drug education programs in 2008, to 27,636. With limited abuse and treatment options and no treatment programs specifically for drug abusers, those seeking assistance are often referred to psychiatric hospitals. The number of drug abusers reported in 2008 was 669, a slight increase from the 624 drug abusers reported in 2007.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

U.S. Policy Initiatives. The United States plans to increase its dialogue with Mozambican officials regarding counternarcotics issues, with the goal of increasing the government’s attention to the issue, to include matters of corruption at the local and senior levels as well as in an effort to improve border awareness, interdictions, and prosecutions of narcotics-traffickers. The U.S. Government will continue to pursue this dialogue at higher levels of the Mozambican government over the coming year, with the goal that engagement with the Mozambicans on counternarcotics will prevent Mozambique from becoming an even more attractive transit location for hashish, cocaine, and heroin.

Bilateral Cooperation. The United States continues to sponsor Mozambican law enforcement officials and prosecutors to attend regional training programs at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) for Africa in Botswana. Law enforcement officials have also received training at ILEA in New Mexico. The United States has supported the police sciences academy near Maputo, through training and technical assistance in the areas of drug identification and investigation, as well as other areas of criminal sciences including fingerprint identification, forensic photography, and the identification of fraudulent documents. Additionally, in 2007-2008, the USG provided training to 300 guards and senior officers of the Mozambican Border Guards in techniques of securing borders and managing border crossing (document checking, inspections). Inspection materials, vehicles and alternate transportation options, equipment for distant posts, and computer equipment were supplied to border guards to assist them in implementing the techniques taught in the training courses.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. military has continued to provide assistance to the Mozambican navy relating to the security of its sea border. DOD has provided shallow draft vessels for limited coastal security work in conjunction with USCG training on ship/vessel boarding and search and seizure techniques, as well as officer development courses.. DOD will train the Mozambican Navy on search and seizure techniques using those vessels. Additionally, DOD will work with the Mozambican Navy to install a sensor network that provides comprehensive, real time information of the sea coast, a technology that should provide the Mozambican Navy with border awareness that previously was lacking. Finally, INL will conduct an assessment in Mozambique in early February. This assessment will address counternarcotics issues across the entire criminal justice system. The findings of this assessment will help guide INL programming efforts in the future.

 

Namibia

I. Summary

While occasionally used as a drug transit point, Namibia is not a major drug producer or exporter. Statistics for 2009 showed a marked decrease in illegal drug seizures compared to previous years, with approximately $300,000 worth of drugs (589 kilograms of marijuana, plus extremely small quantities of Mandrax (methaqualone), cocaine, and Ecstasy) seized between April 2008 and March 2009. Drug abuse remains an issue of concern, especially among economically disadvantaged groups. Narcotics enforcement is the responsibility of the Namibian Police’s Drug Law Enforcement Unit (DLEU), which still lacks the manpower, resources and equipment required to fully address the domestic drug trade and transshipment issues. Namibia became a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention in March 2009.

II. Status of Country

Namibia is not a significant producer of drugs or precursor chemicals. No drug production facilities were discovered in Namibia in 2009.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The 1988 UN Drug Convention requirements are largely reflected in Namibian law, which criminalizes cultivation, production, distribution, sale, transport and financing of illicit narcotics. The Combating of the Abuse of Drugs Bill was tabled in Parliament in 2006. However, due to non compliance with certain provisions of the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the Bill was withdrawn from Parliament and is currently under review with the Namibian Legal Drafting Directorate in the Ministry of Justice. If passed, it would ban the consumption, trafficking, sale and possession of dangerous, undesirable and dependence-inducing substances, and bring Namibia fully into compliance with the requirements of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The Namibian Anti-Terrorism Activities Bill and Drugs Control Bill are still under consideration. Once fully implemented and harmonized, the new legislation will allow for asset forfeiture and other narcotics-related prosecution tools. Namibia’s Parliament passed the Prevention of Organized Crime Act (POCA), designed to combat organized crime and money laundering, in 2004, and it entered into force in May 2009. In July 2007, Parliament passed the Financial Intelligence Act (FIA) and the law entered into force in May 2009. Namibia has requested United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) assistance in reviewing its 2003-2008 National Drug Master Plan.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Namibia fully participates in regional law enforcement cooperation efforts against narcotics trafficking, especially through the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs’ Cooperative Organization (SARPCCO). The Minister of Safety and Security and working level officials meet regularly with counterparts from neighboring countries to discuss efforts to combat cross border contraband shipments (including narcotics trafficking).

The Namibian Police’s Drug Law Enforcement Unit (DLEU) continues to lack the manpower, resources and equipment required to fully address the domestic drug trade and transshipment issues. For example, the DLEU only has drug detection dogs in Windhoek to carry out its enforcement activities, while other transit points lack coverage.

The Nineteenth Meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies of Africa (HONLEA), organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), was hosted by the Government of Namibia in Windhoek, Namibia, October 12 through 16, 2009.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the Government of Namibia does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Similarly, no senior government official is alleged to have participated in such activities.

Agreements and Treaties. In March 2009 Namibia became a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In addition, Namibia is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Namibia also is a party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, and to the UN Convention against Corruption. The United States and Namibia do not have a bilateral extradition or mutual legal assistance treaty. In 2006, however, Namibia designated the United States as a country to which Namibia could extradite persons, and there is a pending extradition case. Because of severe delay tactics, the case has not been heard in more than three years. In addition, general, there has been excellent cooperation regarding legal assistance between both countries.

Drug Flow/Transit. Namibia’s excellent port facilities and road network, combined with weak border enforcement, make it a likely transshipment point for drugs en route to the larger and more lucrative South African market. Drug Law Enforcement Unit (DLEU) personnel believe much of the transshipment takes place via shipping containers either offloaded at the port of Walvis Bay or entering overland from Angola and transported via truck to Botswana, Zambia and South Africa. Inadequate staffing and training, inadequate screening equipment, and varying levels of motivation among working-level customs and immigration officers at Namibia’s land border posts all prevent adequate container inspection and interception of contraband. However, during 2009 the Namibian Customs Directorate in the Ministry of Finance procured scanning equipment, which will be commissioned at major ports and land borders to enhance the capacity of border interdiction for illegal drugs and other contraband. Inconsistently applied immigration controls also make Namibia an attractive transit point for Africans en route to or from Latin America for illicit purposes. The current maritime security posture does not allow the Namibian police, naval, and port authorities to monitor maritime activities outside the 5 km outer anchorage area of Namibia’s major ports in Walvis Bay and Luderitz. It has been reported that drug traffickers have been able to exploit this weakness by using small crafts to meet larger vessels outside these controlled areas. The Namibian Navy assists the police and customs officials with better patrolling of Namibia’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). Six additional patrol ships have been procured from Brazil. Only one ship “Brendan Simbwaye” has been received and is currently in use. It is uncertain when the other five ships will be delivered to the Namibian Navy.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Drug treatment programs are available from private clinics, and to a lesser extent from public facilities. The vast majority of treatment cases in Namibia are for alcohol abuse, with the remainder divided evenly between cannabis and Mandrax (methaqualone). There is also increasing evidence of cocaine use in Namibia.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. The USG continues to support Namibian participation in law enforcement training programs at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana. Many of these training programs include counternarcotics modules. Representatives of several Namibian law enforcement agencies (Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Prison Service, the Namibian Police, and the Anti-Corruption Commission) and prosecutors have participated in ILEA training. The police have repeatedly stated their willingness to cooperate with the USG on any future narcotics-related investigations.

The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to coordinate with relevant law enforcement bodies to allow them to take advantage of training opportunities at ILEA Botswana and elsewhere, and will assist the Government of Namibia in any narcotics investigation with a U.S. nexus.

 

Nepal

I. Summary

Although Nepal is neither a significant producer of, nor a major transit route for, narcotic drugs, some hashish, heroin and domestically produced cannabis and opium are trafficked to and through Nepal every year. Nepal’s Narcotics Drug Control Law Enforcement Unit (NDCLEU) reports that more Nepalese citizens are investing in, and taking a larger role in managing trafficking operations. Customs and border controls in Nepal remain weak, but international cooperation has resulted in increased narcotics-related indictments in Nepal and abroad. Nepalese officials claim law enforcement efforts have improved in 2009 over previous years, but limited resources hinder the development of a robust counternarcotics program. Narcotics-related legislation has been pending for several years. Nepal is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

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

Monitoring and interdiction efforts have improved since the official end in 2006 of the Maoist insurgency, which had obstructed rule-of-law and counter narcotic efforts in many parts of the country. The GON has committed to enhance overall law enforcement; however, the GON has given little attention to narcotics-specific initiatives.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

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

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

To ensure institutional support, the 2006 policy called for the creation of a Narcotics Control Bureau in the Ministry of Home Affairs that would include the NDCLEU and a special Nepal Police Task Force trained in counternarcotics. As of October 2009, the GON has not decided when or how to implement this planned new Bureau. In addition, the National Policy had called for restructuring a high-level Narcotics Control National Guidance and Coordination Committee, chaired by the Home Minister, and a Narcotics Control Executive Committee, chaired by the Home Secretary. These entities in theory oversee all narcotics control programs, law enforcement activities, and legal reforms, but appear to exist more on paper than in fact.

Nepal enacted legislation on asset seizures in January 2008 and continues to implement a National Drug Abuse Control Plan (NDACP), but other proposed efforts still await legislative approval. Legislative action on mutual legal assistance and witness protection, developed as part of the NDACP, has stalled for yet another year. The government has not submitted scheduled amendments to its Customs Act to control precursor chemicals. All are pending review by the Ministry of Law and Justice. Legislation on criminal conspiracy has not yet been drafted. Police report the government plans to launch an unspecified program to improve narcotics control, but continued lack of resources and funding might render it ineffective. Narcotics officials claim Nepal’s current political instability is not the primary hindrance to policy objectives; general lack of political will is.

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

Law Enforcement Efforts. Limited human resources and inadequate technological equipment constrain the effectiveness of the NDCLEU’s intelligence and law enforcement operations. The NDCLEU and Nepal’s customs and immigration services are improving coordination and cooperation. Narcotics officials admit the destruction of areas of illicit drugs cultivation is not as effective as it could be; statistical data indicate a sizeable drop in area destroyed over each year in 2009, 2008 and 2007. As of October 2009, 62 hectares of cannabis cultivation were destroyed, compared to 105 hectares in 2008, 211 hectares in 2007, and 328 hectares in 2006. In contrast, the area of opium destruction has increased. The NDCLEU reports that as of October 2009, 35 hectares of opium were destroyed, compared to 21 hectares in 2008. Data on opium cultivation destroyed were unavailable for 2007; in 2006, 0.5 hectare (19 plants) of opium was destroyed.

As of September 2009, the police had exceeded the number of arrests and drug seizures they made in all of 2008. From January-September 2009, police arrested 675 individuals (626 Nepalese citizens and 49 foreigners) on the basis of drug trafficking charges. Most of the individuals who were non-Nepalese were Indian nationals; the remainder was from Pakistan, Poland, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique and Iran. No American citizens were arrested in Nepal for drug trafficking in 2009. In all of 2008, police arrested 634 individuals (562 Nepalese citizens and 72 foreigners). Local police made approximately 86 percent of the arrests in 2009, while the NDCLEU accounted for the remaining 14 percent. In the same time period, the NDCLEU and local units reportedly seized almost 16 metric tons of cannabis, a noticeable increase over the 9.6 metric tons seized in 2008 and twice the amount (8 metric tons) seized in 2007. The NDCLEU reports conflicting data for heroin seizures, between 14 kilograms and 28.8 kilograms for January-September 2009. Most of the seizures were of “brown sugar”—low quality heroin smuggled from India. Police made relatively few seizures of more expensive white heroin from Afghanistan although noted an increase in 2009 in white heroin transiting Nepal to foreign markets. Most seizures of heroin and hashish occurred along the Nepal-India border, within Kathmandu, or at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) as passengers departed Nepal. The NDCLEU reported the seizure of 255 kilograms of opium through September 2009, more than twice the 105 kilograms documented in 2008. There were no opium seizures in 2007.

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

Agreements and Treaties. Nepal is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Nepal has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption. Nepal does not have any extradition or mutual legal assistance treaties with the United States.

Cultivation/Production. Nepalese drug enforcement officials noted an increase in cannabis and illicit opium production in 2009 attributable to the failure of other crops because of poor weather and environmental conditions. Cannabis is an indigenous plant in Nepal, and cultivation of certain selected varieties is rising, particularly in the lowland region of the Terai. Small-scale cultivation of opium poppy that exists in Nepal is difficult to detect because it is intercropped among licit crops. All heroin seized in Nepal originated elsewhere.

Nepal does not produce precursor chemicals. Importers of dual-use precursor chemicals must obtain a license and submit bimonthly reports on usage to the Home Ministry. According to the Home Ministry, there have been no seizures of precursor chemicals in the past decade. There have been no reports of the illicit use of licensed, imported, dual-use precursor chemicals. Nepal is used as a transit route to move precursor chemicals between India and China. After the ratification of the SAARC Convention on Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which holds countries liable for policing precursor chemicals, the Home Ministry asserted control over precursor chemicals. The NDCLEU worked with the Home Ministry to develop a voluntary code of conduct for importers, cargo shippers, couriers, manufacturers, and the pharmaceutical industry. Official implementation of the code is pending as of November 2009. Additionally, a proposed amendment to the Narcotics Drugs Control Act regarding the control and regulation of precursor chemicals remains under review.

Drug Flow/Transit. According to NDCLEU, evidence from narcotics seizures suggests that narcotics transit Nepal from India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to other countries in the region and to China, Iran, Europe, the U.S. and Canada. In 2008, police for the first time seized 50 kilograms of phenobarbitone in transit to Pakistan and 800 grams of methamphetamine in transit to Iran. Media reports have claimed that most narcotics are bound for India, and law enforcement sources indicated that most seizures do occur at the India/Nepal border. Narcotics officials claim law enforcement efforts are improving. Nevertheless, customs and border controls are weak along Nepal’s land borders with India and China, with the Indian border essentially open. Security measures to interdict narcotics and contraband at TIA and at Nepal’s regional airports with direct flights to India are also inadequate. The Nepalese government, along with other governments, is working to increase the level of security at the international airport. The NDCLEU has noted an increase in arrests of Nepalese couriers in other countries in recent years as an indication that Nepalis were becoming more involved in the drug trade both as couriers and as traffickers. This also suggests that Nepal may be increasingly used as a transit point for destinations in South and East Asia, as well as in Europe. The NDCLEU has also identified the United States as a final destination for some drugs transiting Nepal, typically routed through Thailand, China and Indonesia.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Nepalese government continues to implement its national drug demand reduction strategy with assistance from the United States, UNODC, donor agencies, and NGOs. Budgetary constraints and limited political interest have limited significant progress beyond donor and NGO-funded education and awareness programs. The NDCLEU in 2009 conducted three training programs for field-level officers from a number of GON law enforcement agencies and ministries. The NDCLEU also began awareness sessions for postal and courier services.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

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

Bilateral Cooperation. The United States is committed to working with Nepalese government agencies to provide expertise and training in law enforcement. Nepal exchanges drug trafficking information with regional neighbors and occasionally with destination countries in Europe in connection with international narcotics investigations and proceedings.

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

 

The Netherlands

I. Summary

With its extensive transportation infrastructure and the busiest maritime port in Europe, the Netherlands continues to be a major distribution point for illicit drugs to and from Europe. A significant percentage of the cocaine consumed in Europe enters through the Netherlands, and the country remains an important producer of Ecstasy (MDMA) although a sizeable amount of production appears to have shifted to other countries. Although the 2008 National Crime Squad (NR) report has not been finalized to date, a spokesman for the Expertise Center for Synthetic Drugs and Precursors (ESDP) informed U.S. Embassy The Hague that no reports of Ecstasy tablet seizures in the U.S. linked to the Netherlands were received in 2008, though it is always possible that this may be due to incomplete data.

In September 2009, the Cabinet approved a letter outlining future Dutch drug policy. The gist of the letter was that the government wants to maintain its current policy of tolerating cannabis sales in coffee shops, but coffee shops must become smaller and serve only local users. Operational cooperation between U.S. and Dutch law enforcement agencies is excellent, despite some differences in approach and tactics. The Netherlands actively participates in DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC). The 100 percent controls at Schiphol airport on inbound flights from the Caribbean and some South American countries have resulted in a dramatic decline in the number of drug couriers from those countries. In August 2009, Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin announced stricter controls on inbound flights from West Africa to combat cocaine trafficking. Dutch popular attitudes toward soft drugs remain tolerant. The Government of the Netherlands (GONL) and the public view domestic drug use as a public health issue first and a law enforcement issue second. The Netherlands is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

The central geographic position of the Netherlands, with its modern transportation and communications infrastructure, one of the world’s busiest container ports in Rotterdam and one of Europe’s busiest airports, makes the country an attractive operational area for international drug traffickers and money launderers. Since January 2008, certain designated companies are eligible for the European Authorized Economic Operator Certificate (AEO), which allows these entities to conduct imports under less stringent Customs inspections. This development does not go in the direction of strengthening interdiction possibilities, but it facilitates the movement of goods by reliable firms, with procedures which limit the risk that narcotics traffickers could take advantage of their shipments to traffic in narcotics. Production of Ecstasy and cultivation of marijuana is still significant in the Netherlands, although a sizeable amount of Ecstasy production has shifted outside the country. There also is production of amphetamines and other synthetic drugs. The Netherlands also has a large (legal) chemical sector, making it an opportune location for criminals to obtain or produce precursor chemicals used to manufacture illicit drugs.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. In September 2009 the Cabinet approved a letter that, following discussions with Parliament, will form the basis for a new policy document on drugs. The letter, which is part of the government’s March 2008 commitment to Parliament to produce a new drug policy document, stated that the government wants to maintain the current policy of tolerance of cannabis sales in coffee shops, but will require coffee shops to scale down in size and serve only local users, so as to address related criminal activity and public nuisances more effectively. In drafting the letter, the Ministers of Health, Justice, Interior, and Youth and Family Matters took into account drug policy assessments carried out by the Dutch Institute for Mental Health and Addiction (Trimbos), the Justice Ministry’s Scientific Research and Documentation Center (WODC) and recommendations made by the Advisory Committee on Drug Policy. The Advisory Committee concluded in its July 2009 assessment that Dutch drug policy has been relatively successful in managing health risks and addiction care, but identified four areas in need of improvement:

  • Drug use by minors must be combated far more rigorously;
     
  • Coffee shops must be reduced to small-scale facilities for local users, in order to keep the markets for soft and hard drugs separate;
     
  • The fight against organized crime must be intensified; and
     
  • Drug policy should be monitored.

The government’s final drug policy document is expected to be submitted to Parliament in early 2010.

Cannabis: In its drug policy letter of September 2009, the government reiterated that, under the terms of the government coalition accord of February 2007, experiments with regulated cannabis cultivation would not take place during this term of office. The government responded to a plea by 33 mayors made during the “cannabis summit” in November 2008, asking the government to allow municipalities to experiment with the cultivation of cannabis for their own coffee shops. The mayors felt that the hypocritical situation of allowing soft drug sales in coffee shops while banning cannabis cultivation (the so-called front-door/back-door controversy) makes enforcement difficult. The government noted in its letter that it wants to maintain the current policy of tolerance of cannabis sales in coffee shops, but would require that coffee shops become smaller and serve only local users, so as to address related criminal activity and public nuisances, particularly created by drug tourists in border areas, more effectively. The government encouraged municipalities to initiate pilot projects to establish a system of small-scale, restricted access coffee shops, for which it will make available six million Euros in 2010 and 2011. On top of this, the city of Maastricht will receive an initial subsidy of 150,000 Euros for the preparation of an experiment with a “pass system” for coffee shop visitors.

In 2006, Maastricht began a trial project to offer local residents special access passes to coffee shops. The objective of the Maastricht trial was to cut down on drug tourism from neighboring countries. The city attracts some 1.5 million drug tourists annually. In April 2008, the Maastricht administrative court ruled that the city government was not allowed to ban foreigners from buying cannabis in coffee shops. The court ruled that making a distinction on the basis of place of residence indirectly means making a distinction based on nationality, which is prohibited under the Constitution. The city appealed the verdict to the Council of State, the highest administrative court in the Netherlands. Consequently, the Council submitted a few questions to the European Court of Justice, which is expected to respond in 2010. An earlier plan by Maastricht to move eight of the 15 coffee shops out of the city center to the outskirts, close to the Belgian border, was suspended after sharp protests by Belgian authorities. In September 2009, the Mayors of Bergen op Zoom and Roosendaal, being fed up with the stream of foreign drug tourists and the nuisances caused by them, decided to ban all cannabis sales in their eight coffee shops, also for local cannabis users. The two cities, situated close to the Belgian border, attracted a total of 1.3 million mostly Belgian and French drug tourists per year. In May 2008, the mayor of Terneuzen closed the country’s largest coffee shop with 2,500 visitors a day. During two raids, the police found a total of 200 kilograms of hashish whereas the “tolerated” stock limit is 500 grams.

In December 2008, the ban on sales and cultivation of fresh “magic mushrooms” became effective. Since then, the number of incidents involving use of these psychotropic mushrooms in Amsterdam has dropped significantly. A bill to ban so-called “grow” shops that sell, deliver, transport and manufacture equipment for cannabis cultivation is expected to be submitted before the end of 2009.

According to a May 2009 Justice Ministry report, the number of coffee shops selling cannabis products dropped 3.7 percent to 702 between 2005 and 2007. The 702 coffee shops are spread over 106 of the 443 Dutch municipalities. About 80 percent of local governments currently apply the so-called “distance criteria,” meaning that coffee shops located within 250 meters of a secondary school or college of higher professional education must be closed. By 2010, all local governments should have enforced the “distance criteria.”

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

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

Cocaine Trafficking: The 100 percent checks on inbound flights from the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname continued in 2009, despite the dramatic decline in the number of cocaine couriers arrested at Schiphol airport. In August 2009, Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin announced stricter controls on inbound flights from West Africa to combat cocaine trafficking. He reacted to reports that, because of the sharp controls from the Caribbean region, South American drug barons increasingly appeared to divert to West Africa as a transit point for Colombian cocaine.

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

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigators have noted a recent increase in the number of cocaine couriers being apprehended in the United States en route to Amsterdam (Schiphol) from Central or South America. Narcotics traffickers may be searching for new routes to circumvent the additional security measures in place (100 percent inspection) for flights from high-risk countries. Flights from the U.S. to the Netherlands have traditionally been considered by U.S. and Dutch Customs as low-risk flights for narcotics.

ICE is also working with Dutch Customs at the Port of Rotterdam to attempt to identify—and share information relating to—high-risk containers suspected of carrying large quantities of cocaine from Central and South America through the U.S. en route to the Netherlands.

In September 2009, five persons were arrested in the Netherlands and Netherlands Antilles suspected of large-scale cocaine trafficking between South America and West Europe, via West Africa. The suspects allegedly were in direct business with a representative of a Colombian drug cartel, buying up to 2,000 kilograms of cocaine per shipment.

Eleven employees of various firms at Schiphol airport are currently on trial on suspicion of cocaine trafficking from Colombia to the Netherlands via Suriname. The suspects reportedly picked up the drugs in specially marked suitcases in the baggage handling department and smuggled them outside via staff exits.

In September 2009, 330 kilograms of cocaine were found in a transshipment company in Rotterdam. The drugs were hidden in a container with boxes of bananas from Ecuador. Four people were arrested.

Ecstasy: according to a July 2009 study by the Trimbos Institute for Addiction Research and the Justice Ministry’s Scientific Research and Documentation Center (WODC), the role of the Netherlands in the production and export of Ecstasy appears to have declined. The National Police Force (KLPD) also concluded in its report on 2008 drug seizures that the upward trend in the annual amount of Ecstasy tablets seized seems to have ended abruptly in 2008. In April 2009, the Trimbos Institute warned that half of Ecstasy tablets on the Dutch market contained substances other than the active ingredient MDMA, particularly MCPP, the consumption of which is much riskier.

In June 2009, Belgian and Dutch law enforcement authorities dismantled a large international drug syndicate involved in large-scale Ecstasy trafficking. The investigation, which started three years ago, involved law enforcement officers from the U.S., UK, Germany and Dubai. Thirteen people were arrested, including the Dutch leader.

Heroin: According to Trimbos/WODC study, the Netherlands appears to have developed into a transit/distribution center for heroin traffickers to the UK, France, Spain and Portugal, but the internal Dutch market appears relatively stable and comparatively small.

In September 2009, the Rotterdam district court imposed prison sentences of up to nine years on three men suspected of having trafficked more than 1,000 kilograms of heroin from Turkey to the Netherlands. The suspects were arrested in June 2008 after the interception of a truck concealing 460.5 kilograms of heroin in large batteries. One of the suspects was a Romanian national. The investigation was carried out in close cooperation with German and Romanian police.

GHB: The Trimbos Institute for addiction research warned in August 2009 that addiction to the party drug GHB was growing and the risks were seriously underestimated. In Amsterdam, the number of trips by ambulances due to GHB incidents rose from 69 in 2001 to 128 in 2008. Trimbos noted that the number of GHB users seeking treatment for their addiction had risen “dramatically.” GHB seems to be the fastest growing addiction problem in the Netherlands.

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

The Dutch Opium Act prohibits the possession, commercial distribution, production, import, and export of all illicit drugs. Drug use, however, is not an offense. The act distinguishes between “hard” drugs that have “unacceptable” risks (e.g., heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy), and “soft” drugs (cannabis products). Trafficking in “hard drugs” is prosecuted vigorously and dealers are subject to a prison sentence of up to 12 years. When trafficking takes place on an organized scale, the sentence is increased by one-third (up to 16 years). Sales of small amounts of cannabis products (under five grams) are “tolerated” (i.e., not prosecuted, even though technically illegal) in “coffee shops” operating under regulated conditions (no minors on premises, no alcohol sales, no hard drug sales, no advertising, and not creating a “public nuisance”). Commercial production and distribution of cannabis is illegal and is vigorously prosecuted. Import, sale and distribution of Khat (or “Quat”) is legal in the Netherlands. Khat, which is primarily cultivated in the Horn of Africa and Yemen, is transported to the Netherlands, where a portion is consumed domestically and the rest is shipped to other countries, including the U.S.

In 2009, DEA and the KLPD conducted joint clandestine laboratory training. KLPD personnel traveled to the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia, for specialized training on clandestine laboratories. Additionally in 2009, the equipment provided by Dutch authorities to set up an operational MDMA lab for use in training DEA agents and other U.S. law enforcement officers at the DEA Training Academy in Quantico was placed into service.

All foreign law enforcement assistance requests continue to be sent to the International Network Service (IPOL), a division of the KLPD. The IPOL has assigned two liaison officers to assist DEA and other U.S. law enforcement agencies. Since the reorganization of the NR, the IPOL has allowed DEA and other liaison officers to contact the Regional Police and NR offices directly for requests and intelligence sharing. This policy has continued to permit better coordination during ongoing enforcement actions. Under Dutch law enforcement policy, prosecutors control most aspects of an investigation. Dutch police officers must get prosecutor concurrence to share information directly with foreign liaison officers even on a police-to- police basis. Dutch regulations regarding police-to-police information sharing are nebulous and often subject to interpretation, which can hamper the quick sharing of information. However, the quick sharing of police-to-police information is improving as a result of the increased access for DEA agents with NR units. Additionally, DEA has been working with Dutch counterparts at the KLPD and the National Prosecutor’s Office to shorten the amount of time it takes to obtain approval for money pickup operations via Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) requests. Recently, Dutch officials indicated that their Justice Ministry may be able to “streamline” certain aspects of the approval process.

Additionally, the use of confidential sources is heavily restricted under Dutch law. Since many DEA investigations outside of the Netherlands utilize cooperating source information, this poses a unique challenge when attempting to initiate or coordinate cases with Dutch counterparts.

Corruption. The Dutch Government does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior official of the Dutch Government has been found to engage in, encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Press reports of low-level law enforcement corruption appear from time to time but the problem is not believed to be widespread or systemic.

Agreements and Treaties. The Netherlands is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol. The Netherlands is a member of the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs and the major donors group of the UNODC. The Netherlands is a leading member of the Dublin Group of countries coordinating drug-related assistance. The Netherlands is party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and to the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. The U.S. and the Netherlands have a fully operational extradition treaty and a MLAT. All 27 EU member states, including the Netherlands, 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 the Netherlands and they will enter into force on February 1, 2010.

Cultivation and Production. In July 2008, the Justice and Interior Ministers established the National Taskforce on Organized Hemp Cultivation. The taskforce is to focus on fighting criminal organizations behind cannabis plantations. According to taskforce member, Police Commissioner Max Daniel, Dutch cannabis growers earn more than two billion Euros annually on illegal exports. He estimated annual exports of Dutch-grown cannabis (“Nederwiet”) at more than 500,000 kilos. In comparison, exports of plants and cut flowers yield a total of 5.5 billion Euros. According to Police Commissioner Daniel, more than 80 percent of illegally cultivated “Nederwiet” is exported. According to a report by the National Police Force, 4,731 cannabis plantations were dismantled in 2008, compared to 5,247 in 2007.

Although the 2008 NR report has not been finalized to date, a spokesman for the Expertise Center for Synthetic Drugs and Precursors (ESDP) informed the U.S. Embassy in The Hague that no reports of Ecstasy tablet seizures in the U.S. could be linked to the Netherlands during 2008, although this may be due to incomplete data. According to the 2008 report by the KLPD, the upward trend in Ecstasy tablets seized in the Netherlands appears to have come to a standstill. After a record seizure of almost 8.5 million Ecstasy tablets in 2007, only 249,215 tablets were seized in 2008 and only 300 liters of MDMA oil. The KLPD also reported seizing 517,825 LSD paper trips, 7,764 MCPP tablets, and 20 grams of methamphetamine in 2008. The number of dismantled production sites in the Netherlands for synthetic drugs rose to 23 in 2008 from 15 in 2007.

According to the KLPD report, only 471 amphetamine tablets were seized in 2008 compared to 1,391 tablets in 2007. The police seized no PMK precursors in 2008 and only 232 liters of BMK, of which 230 liters were found in an amphetamine laboratory in Breda.

Drug Flow/Transit. The Netherlands remains an important point of entry for drugs to Europe, especially cocaine. The Dutch government has stepped up border controls to combat the flow of drugs, including the successful Schiphol Action Plan. Cocaine seizures in the Netherlands in 2008 amounted to 6,757 kilograms, the lowest amount over the past nine years. In 2007, 10,478 kilograms were seized. Because of stronger controls at Schiphol, traffickers have diverted to other European airports or alternative routes. The government has expanded the number of container scanners in the port of Rotterdam and at Schiphol airport. Controls of highways and international trains connecting the Netherlands to neighboring countries have also been intensified.

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

According to the 2009 annual report published by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), out-patient treatment centers registered 8,718 clients seeking treatment for their addiction in 2007, of whom 37.2 percent for cannabis, 38.1 percent for cocaine and 19.7 percent for opiates. On the basis of surveys held in 2007 and 2008 the Dutch Statistical Office (CBS) reported in August 2009 that one-third of young people aged between 15 and 25 had used cannabis at some point of time, and more than one out of 10 admitted having used cannabis during the previous month.

Drug prevention programs are organized through a network of local, regional and national institutions. Programs target schools in order to discourage drug use among students, and use national mass media campaigns to reach the broader public. The Netherlands requires school instruction on the dangers of alcohol and drugs as part of the health education curriculum. The “healthy living” project developed by the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction (the Trimbos Institute) continues to run in about 60 percent of Dutch secondary schools and a third of primary schools. At the request of the Health Ministry, the Trimbos Institute each year carries out drug information campaigns. The 24-hour national Drug Info Line of the Trimbos Institute has become very popular.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. and Dutch law enforcement agencies maintained excellent operational cooperation, with principal attention given to South American cocaine trafficking organizations and countering the Netherlands’ role as a key source country for MDMA/Ecstasy entering the U.S. The U.S. Embassy in The Hague has made the fight against the Ecstasy threat one of its highest priorities. Dutch regulations continue to restrict the use of criminal undercover informants in investigations of drug traffickers. In addition, the Dutch do not use their asset forfeiture laws in conjunction with drug related investigations as often as the U.S. does. Law enforcement officials and political leaders are now expressing concern about indications that organized crime is involved in the local drug trade. Bilateral law enforcement cooperation continues to expand under the U.S.-Dutch bilateral “Agreed Steps” commitments to jointly fight drug trafficking. DEA The Hague has also noted improved and expedited handling of drug-related extradition requests. The U.S. is also working with the Netherlands to assist Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles in countering narcotics trafficking. The 10-year Forward Operating Location (FOL) agreement between the U.S. and the Kingdom for the establishment of a FOL (for U.S. enforcement personnel) on Aruba and Curaçao became effective in October 2001. Since 1999, the Dutch Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) has been working with the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on joint addiction research projects.

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Netherlands Navy actively work together in the drug transit zone through a bilateral Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) Arrangement. Under this arrangement, the Coast Guard deploys LEDETs aboard Dutch warships patrolling the drug transit zone in the Caribbean Sea to enhance overall interdiction presence, and protect the Dutch overseas territories. In FY2009, the deployment of Coast Guard LEDETs aboard Dutch warships led to the removal of over 770lbs of cocaine and the detention of 4 suspected smugglers.

The Road Ahead. During the next bilateral “Agreed Steps” law enforcement consultations, tentatively scheduled for early 2010, the U.S. and the Netherlands will discuss continued operational cooperation in international drug trafficking investigations. These discussions will continue on the subject of enhanced police-to-police information sharing.

Additionally, both DEA and the NR recognize the importance of money laundering investigations and joint initiatives concerning drug related “bulk” money smuggling operations. This includes operational programs, and training and bilateral discussions at DEA Headquarters. Many of these initiatives were discussed and planned during the June 2009 “Expert Meeting” between DEA and NR in The Hague.

During October 2009, Dutch Customs, along with over 80 other World Customs Organization (WCO) member nations, participated in Operation ATLAS, an ICE-led multilateral illicit cash courier interdiction and investigation coordination operation under the auspices of the WCO. This unprecedented operation was the first time that more than 80 countries shared real time information on crimes and coordinated cash declaration information related to cross border cash movement. Dutch Customs’ extensive participation in ATLAS was highlighted by six cash seizures during Operation ATLAS.

 

Nicaragua

I. Summary

Nicaragua remains a maritime and land transshipment route for South American cocaine and heroin smuggled to the United States. Nicaragua has also been identified as a producer and supplier of methamphetamine. In 2009, Nicaraguan law enforcement and military forces focused efforts on confronting international trafficking and domestic drug abuse despite the government’s often hostile stance toward the United States. Judicial corruption and political interference, especially in the judicial branch, remain the largest impediments to meaningful prosecutions of trafficking-related crime.

Although Nicaragua lacks resources and technical capabilities, collaboration between law enforcement and military components has helped facilitate efforts to disrupt illicit drug trafficking operations and currency flows. During 2009, the Government of Nicaragua (GON) seized approximately 9.8 metric tons of cocaine and dismantled its first clandestine methamphetamine lab. Nicaragua is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) continue to transport drugs and currency through Nicaragua via land, air and water routes. During 2009 there was a large increase in pseudoephedrine and amphetamine seizures. In addition to seizures of transshipped drugs, Nicaragua’s first known clandestine lab was dismantled. Nicaragua’s poor economy, limited law enforcement presence in most parts of the country and weak chemical control laws provide an opportune environment for drug trafficking organizations to establish clandestine labs without detection from law enforcement entities. Another challenge is that the Nicaraguan National Police (NNP) lack adequate training or equipment for the safe handling of seized precursor chemicals from the dismantling of clandestine labs.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. In 2009, Nicaragua’s new, stricter Penal Code became effective. It addresses some of the legal weaknesses in Nicaragua’s efforts against money laundering and terrorism financing. Money laundering is now a crime independent of drug trafficking, penalties are more rigid, and terrorism financing is a crime. While there have been no criminal convictions for the crime of money laundering since its adoption there is one pending case charging two non-citizens with money laundering, as well as additional money laundering cases under investigation. In 2009, the legislation to create an independent Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) stalled for a fifth year due to Nicaraguan National Assembly concerns about accountability and fears that the proposed unit would face political interference. Nicaragua is the only country in Central America and one of the few countries in the Americas that does not have a functional FIU.

Law Enforcement Efforts. During the year, both Nicaraguan law enforcement and military entities continued to excel in their respective counternarcotics efforts and strengthened their coordination with neighboring countries and U.S. law enforcement entities. In 2009, the military and law enforcement continued joint cooperation in conducting interdiction operations. In 2009, Nicaragua law enforcement authorities seized 9.8 metric tons of cocaine, 5 kilograms of heroin, 372.12 kilograms of pseudoephedrine, and arrested 214 drug violators. These figures represent major bulk drug seizures and arrests. Nicaraguan law enforcement arrested other drug violators as a result of street crime policing initiatives. Cocaine seizure amounts decreased dramatically for 2009 from 16.4 metric tons the prior year. Currency seizures, however, more than doubled for 2009. The NNP and the Nicaraguan Navy also seized $8.6 million during maritime interdictions. Nicaraguan authorities denied access to 178 trafficker assets worth over $14 million.

While the Navy suffered severe budgetary constraints during 2009 it completed, ahead of schedule, the reconstruction of the Naval Base in the Mosquito Keys that had been destroyed by Hurricane Felix in 2007, and was able to deploy some assets based on maritime information provided by the USG. More effectively targeted patrolling enabled the Navy to augment their presence and serve as a deterrent for traffickers and transportation groups moving northbound. Furthermore, the concentration of interdiction efforts on southbound vessels resulted in a dramatic increase in maritime currency seizures, totaling over $5 million.

Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GON does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, corruption and political interference continue to plague law enforcement and the judiciary. The continued politicization of the Nicaraguan judiciary and the Nicaraguan Supreme Court in particular, is a worrisome impediment to serious law enforcement efforts in the country.

Likewise, monies and other assets seized from drug trafficking activities are to be distributed at the discretion of the Supreme Court. By Nicaraguan law, all monies and assets seized are to be distributed equally amongst the NNP, the Ministry of Health, and the National Council for the Fight Against Drugs, the Penitentiary System, and various non- governmental organizations associated with drug rehabilitation. Frequently, these funds have been unaccounted for after being processed and in some cases justices have kept expensive vehicles for themselves. As a result of these conditions, the United States no longer provides foreign assistance to the Nicaraguan Supreme Court.

Agreements and Treaties. Nicaragua is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. An extradition treaty has been in force between the U.S. and Nicaragua since 1907. Occasionally Nicaragua does domestically prosecute its nationals for crimes committed outside Nicaragua, but the outcome is inconsistent. Nicaragua is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF); however, Nicaragua’s compliance with its obligations under this task force has been minimal. Nicaragua only recently completed the CFATF Mutual Evaluation Report, which outlines the country’s progress in combating money laundering and terrorism financing. The United States and Nicaragua signed a bilateral counternarcotics maritime agreement that entered into force in November 2001. Nicaragua is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols and is a member of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS). Nicaragua is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. Nicaragua also ratified the Inter-American Mutual Legal Assistance Convention in 2002, an agreement that facilitates sharing of legal information between countries, though the government has failed to comply with several recent U.S. routine requests for evidence sharing or evidence transfer. Nicaragua has ratified the 2002 Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, and Nicaragua signed the Caribbean regional maritime counternarcotics agreement in 2003. In 2004, the United States and Nicaragua signed the Cooperating Nation Information Exchange System (CNIES), which allows greater law enforcement intelligence sharing among nations.

Cultivation/Production. Methamphetamine: In 2009, as a result of heightened awareness urged by the U.S. to the danger of methamphetamine production, Nicaraguan authorities seized 372.12 kilograms of illicitly-diverted pseudoephedrine, 56 kilograms of amphetamine and dismantled one clandestine lab containing 30 kilograms of sulfuric acid, 1,200 kilograms of toluene and assorted equipment used in the illicit production of methamphetamine. Two Mexican citizens and two Nicaraguan nationals were arrested. During the year the NNP also seized 250,000 tablets of amphetamines and 50 pounds of powdered amphetamines which were intended to be smuggled to the United States and Mexico. The DEA, in conjunction with Nicaraguan law enforcement entities will continue to monitor the presence of pseudoephedrine and clandestine labs in the country.

Marijuana: Limited marijuana cultivation continues to take place mostly in the mountainous areas of Nicaragua (Departments of Estelí, Jinotega, Boaco, and Nueva Segovia). Local cultivation is directed towards domestic consumption. During 2009, the NNP did not seize any amounts of marijuana. Cultivation and eradication figures for Nicaragua are unknown, but total cultivation remains below the minimal threshold for the GON to devote additional resources to the issue.

Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine, heroin and currency are the contraband that most commonly transit Nicaragua. During this calendar year, these three commodities were trafficked via maritime and land conveyances, in large and small quantities, without discrimination. Cocaine and heroin are smuggled northbound, while currency shipments are usually interdicted on their transport south. In 2009, traffickers exploited Nicaragua’s Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, as well as its two large inland lakes to transship contraband drugs and currency through the country. Small go-fast boats are the most commonly used conveyance for this purpose. The Caribbean Coast, in particular, is sparsely populated, has high unemployment and severe poverty, suffers from endemic corruption among officials and lacks adequate physical infrastructure that would permit more persistent law enforcement and interdiction presence by Nicaraguan authorities. Traffickers also take advantage of the Pan-American Highway traversing through the center of Nicaragua to transship cocaine, heroin and currency through the country concealed in vehicles with hidden compartments or “caletas.” Tractor-trailers are the most commonly used conveyance, followed by personally-owned vehicles. Like the conveyances used to smuggle currency and drugs, couriers or “mules” are also used to cross the five Nicaraguan ports of entry (Guasaule, El Espino and Las Manos in the North, and Penas Blancas and Los Chiles in the South). The port of entry in Peñas Blancas, Department of Rivas on the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border is the most successful and aggressive of the Nicaraguan border checkpoints. It is also the last chokepoint for any contraband moving north or currency coming southbound before entering or leaving the Central America customs area that includes Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The NNP’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Program, established in Nicaragua in 2001, continued to be implemented on the Atlantic Coast in 2009. In July, eight Juvenile Affairs officials were sent to the United States for further DARE training. In 2009, DARE reached 14,395 students in Nicaragua (653 in the Atlantic Coast); almost double the amount in 2008. The NNP’s Second Step Program (Segundo Paso), a program to train teachers and police officers as facilitators for drug awareness and prevention at the preschool level, continued to be implemented in areas of Managua and on the Atlantic Coast. In 2009, a total of 34 police officers and preschool teachers were trained for the II Step program, “Train the Trainer.”

The Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) Program was scheduled to begin in December 2009; target areas will include Managua as well as the Pacific Coast.

Drug consumption in Nicaragua continues to be a major concern, particularly on the Atlantic Coast, where the increase in drug trafficking has encouraged more drug abuse. The Ministries of Education (MINED) and Health (MINSA), and the Nicaraguan Fund for Children and the Family (FONIF) have all undertaken limited demand reduction campaigns in schools. In 2009, MINED’s counternarcotics campaigns reached 20,699 students, of these 2,779 were from Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast. Statistics about MINSA and FONIF’s outreach efforts were unavailable at the time of reporting.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

The USG policy focus in Nicaragua is to enhance GON law enforcement agencies’ ability to detect and intercept shipments, detain traffickers, and stop the laundering of illegal profits from the drug industry as well as support preventative programs to protect youth from drugs and recruitment into gangs.

Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. continued to support Nicaragua’s efforts in interdiction, and encouraged the GON to undertake more fundamental challenges to corruption and money laundering. During 2009, the United States provided counternarcotics assistance to the NNP and continued funding to expand the NNP Vetted Unit, a unit that investigates international drug trafficking, corruption (in drug trafficking and money laundering investigations) and money laundering. This unit worked closely with anticorruption units in the Attorney General’s office and other vetted units in the region to coordinate cross-border counternarcotics operations. The USG also supported the NNP’s Mobile Inspection Unit (MIU), a unit deployed to establish random checkpoints on strategic vehicular routes. The USG continued support to the Nicaraguan Navy by finishing the refurbishment of a large naval boat and provided 12 engines, spare parts, and maintenance for several go-fast patrol boats for maritime interdiction on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The USCG provided mobile training to the Nicaraguan Navy in the areas of maritime law enforcement and engineering and maintenance, enhancing their ability to maintain operational readiness and to conduct counternarcotics patrols in their littorals. The USG also constructed barracks on Corn Island as well as a pier and maintenance facility in Bluefields to assist the GON counternarcotics efforts. The USG also provided training in maritime law enforcement, small boat operations, maintenance and logistics, engineering and leadership to the Nicaraguan Navy in 2009. In August 2009, the USG sponsored training in cybercrime issues for three officials to improve Nicaragua law enforcement capacity to track crimes using technology. Nicaraguan cooperation via the maritime bilateral agreement facilitated the removal of over 1,142 lbs of cocaine, the seizure of one vessel engaged in smuggling, and the detention of seven suspected smugglers by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The USG also sponsored delegations of police officers, prosecutors and judges at several regional conferences to build capacity in anti-gang activity, maritime counternarcotics, and general police work in 2009. The USG supported the Nicaraguan Navy in maritime training exercises and continues to provide some budgetary assistance for NNP transportation and communication expenses. Under the Merida Initiative agreement, the NNP will participate in three projects; Central American Fingerprint Exchange (CAFE), the Central American Vetted and Sensitive Investigative Units (SIU), and Improved Policing and Police Equipment.

The Road Ahead. The USG hopes to continue its productive working relationship with the Nicaraguan military and law enforcement institutions and encourages the GON to address issues that impede its counternarcotics efforts. The continued politicization of the Nicaraguan judiciary and the Supreme Court in particular, is a serious impediment to law enforcement efforts in Nicaragua. The GON could enhance its drug control efforts further by passing and implementing stronger statutes to combat corruption, strengthening anti-money laundering controls, and creating an effective methamphetamine precursor control regime.

 

Nigeria

I. Summary

Nigeria remains attractive to drug traffickers as a market and as a transit country. Heroin and cocaine transit Nigeria on their way to markets in Europe. The heroin transiting Nigeria has a significant impact on the United States. During the past year, authorities have arrested increased numbers of drug couriers at Lagos International Airport, which may indicate that drug traffickers are increasingly using Nigeria’s land and maritime ports of entry to transship drugs to neighboring countries for outward shipment to European and American markets

Nigerian organized criminal networks remain a major factor in moving cocaine and heroin worldwide. Many of these organizations are not based in Nigeria. In addition to drug trafficking, some of these organizations engage in advance-fee fraud, and other forms of fraud against U.S. citizens and businesses, including document fabrication, illegal immigration, and financial fraud. They have extensive documented ties to criminals in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, and South Africa. Nigerian poly-crime organizations exact significant financial and societal costs, especially among West African states with limited resources for countering these organizations. Poor economic conditions for the vast majority of Nigerians, including widespread unemployment and underemployment, contribute significantly to the continuation and expansion of drug trafficking. During 2009, a large number of universities closed for months due to a prolonged dispute between the federal government and professors. One result: more students opted to become drug couriers.

Widespread corruption in Nigeria makes the traffickers’ task easier. These factors, combined with Nigeria’s central location, along the major trafficking routes and access to global narcotics markets, provided both an incentive and mechanism for criminal groups to flourish, and for Nigeria to emerge as a major drug trafficking hub.

The only drug cultivated in significant amounts domestically is marijuana. Nigerian-grown marijuana is the most common drug abused in the country. It is also exported to neighboring West African countries through Nigeria’s vast porous borders and then shipped to Europe. However, it is not shipped in significant quantities to the United States. Nigeria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

NDLEA is responsible for the enforcement of laws against illicit drug trafficking and abuse. It also plays the lead role in demand reduction, drug control policy formulation and implementation in the country. Cooperation among Nigeria’s law enforcement agencies is weak. For instance, although all law enforcement elements operate at Nigeria’s international ports of entry, joint operations between them virtually never occur. Lack of inter-agency cooperation partially explains the dearth of apprehensions of major traffickers or the absence of consistent interdiction of major shipments of contraband. No single law enforcement agency in Nigeria has adequate resources to combat the increasingly sophisticated international criminal networks that operate in and through the country itself; inter-agency cooperation is necessary for success.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP), in place since 1999, outlines Nigeria’s counternarcotics policy. This plan assigns responsibilities to various government ministries and agencies as well as NGOs and other interest groups. In addition, the Master Plan outlines basic resource requirements and timeframes for the completion of objectives. Unfortunately, many goals remain unfulfilled. In the past, the Nigerian Government has been open to criticism for not adequately budgeting for necessary drug law enforcement by NDLEA. For 2009, the budget for NDLEA is 4.62 billion naira (equivalent to $30 million) with no amount specifically allocated to actually train NDLEA staff. Most money, other than salary and expenses for normal operations, will go to upgrades of NDLEA infrastructure, particularly the regional training academy in Jos.

Law Enforcement Efforts. In the past year, NDLEA’s most successful interdictions have taken place at Nigeria’s four international airports, with the majority of hard drug seizures (e.g., cocaine and heroin) at Lagos Murtala Mohammed International Airport. In addition, authorities have apprehended increasing numbers of drug couriers at Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. To reinforce this positive trend, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria sent commanders from these strategic locations to the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana for basic airport interdiction and drug unit commander training. The NDLEA continues to apprehend individual drug couriers transiting these airports and Nigeria’s land borders, including airport employees involved in drug rings, but thus far has apprehended no major drug traffickers and financiers. Digital Body scanners donated by the U.S. State Department’s counternarcotics assistance project play critical roles in detecting greater numbers of couriers. These “body scanners” have operated at Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, and Abuja International Airports since about March 2008. Many observers believe that if Nigeria introduced a vigorous counternarcotics enforcement regime at its five major seaports and porous land borders, such efforts would also yield significant drug seizures.

As noted above, marijuana remains the main drug abused by Nigerians as it is cheap and cultivated locally. In the past year, NDLEA continued to emphasize a high-profile campaign to destroy the annual marijuana crop before it reaches domestic drug abusers. Marijuana remains the drug seized in the largest quantities by the NDLEA. A total of 482.74 hectares of marijuana cultivation was destroyed between April 2009 and September 2009. Between October 2008 and August 2009, the various NDLEA commands apprehended 6,186 narcotics suspects and seized 77,500.38 kilograms of cannabis, 220.17 kilograms of cocaine, 24.27 kilograms of heroin, and 485.19 kilograms of psychotropic substances, of which authorities intercepted 64.7 kilograms of ephedrine at Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos en route to South Africa. The NDLEA also detected and interdicted ephedrine shipments and other precursor chemicals, including a 100 metric ton shipment of acetone from South Africa to prevent its diversion to illicit drug manufacture. Overall, the NDLEA seized more than 78 metric tons of drugs.

Although Nigeria’s main domestic drug abuse problem remains cannabis, cocaine has now emerged as one of Nigeria’s most challenging drug abuse problems. Some of the most significant seizures in the last year involved cocaine shipments from South America. Drug traffickers take advantage of lax enforcement in Nigeria and other countries in West Africa to “warehouse” bulk quantities of drugs, until they can be moved to developed countries by drug mules. Moreover, trafficking drugs is made easier because it is so difficult to effectively police Nigeria’s extensive porous borders. Cross border tribal and cultural links present a further challenge to effective enforcement.

In 2009, NDLEA cooperated with international drug enforcement efforts and conducted a joint operation with Interpol and the Belgian Police, leading to the arrest of a drug courier and seizures of 5.5 kilograms of cocaine, $74,800 dollars in currency, three vehicles and land deeds.

Asset seizures from narcotics traffickers and money launderers, while permitted under Nigerian law, had never been systematically utilized as an enforcement tool until this year. In 2009, seventeen drug related money laundering cases remain under investigation. Five properties and currency ($1,147,050; 3,000 British Pounds; and 6,000,000 Naira) have been temporarily forfeited to the NDLEA pending the outcome of investigations. NDLEA’s failure to apprehend and prosecute major traffickers and their associates is often due to the lack of capacity of NDLEA to investigate and assemble successful cases against the higher echelons of sophisticated organized criminal gangs. At other times, the problem rests with Nigeria’s courts, which struggle with intimidation and corruption.

Corruption. Corruption plays a major role in drug trafficking in Nigeria. The large proceeds from illicit drug trafficking empower criminals to use bribery to protect their operations. Nigerian authorities have indicted several individuals for corruption, including one case lodged against a former Chairman and Chief Executive of the NDLEA itself. The trial of this individual, which began in September, has made steady progress under firm courtroom management by a no-nonsense judge. This trial demonstrates the current NDLEA Chairman’s dogged determination to enforce the law even against those in NDLEA’s own ranks. The Government of Nigeria does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate illicit drug production, nor is it involved in laundering the proceeds of illicit drugs. Nonetheless, corruption remains endemic among government officials at the federal and state levels. To ensure that drug traffickers receive and serve stiff sentences, the NDLEA requested that the National Assembly amend Nigeria’s narcotics law to provide for minimum sentences of 3-years in jail with no option for paying fines. Although the amendment was initially introduced to the National Assembly in 2007, the Bill did not become law before the 2007 elections and changeover in legislators. The NDLEA will need to introduce a new bill in the current session. NDLEA will also seek a provision to allow NDLEA and the Nigerian Immigration Service to seize offenders’ passports during pre-trial and post-conviction periods to prevent them from flight abroad.

Agreements and Treaties. Nigeria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Nigeria is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its three protocols. The 1931 U.S.-UK Extradition Treaty, made applicable to Nigeria in 1935, provides the legal basis for U.S. extradition requests. The United States and Nigeria also have a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), which entered into force January 14, 2003. The GON continues to work on a mechanism to process U.S. extradition requests more expeditiously. The U.S. has two outstanding drug extradition requests, one dating only from March 2009 but the other pending since June 2004. A court addressed the two requests in May and June, but both fugitives continued to benefit from delay tactics by defense attorneys. One non-drug extradition was granted in 2009, but seven are outstanding, and these date from 2006 and 2007. A dedicated prosecutorial team handles all U.S. extradition cases before a designated Federal High Court judge. Nigerian law still affords the defendant many options to delay proceedings, especially with interlocutory appeals that require adjudication before cases may proceed.

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

Drug Flow/Transit. Nigeria is a major staging point for Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin smuggled to Europe and the United States and for South American cocaine trafficked to Europe. Cocaine smuggling through Nigeria increased during the last year. While Nigeria remains Africa’s drug transit hub, there are indications that the preferred methods of transshipment have changed. The NDLEA unit, at Lagos Murtala Mohammed International Airport, searches select passengers and carry-on baggage, preferring to focus on travelers who fit profiles as possible drug couriers. USG donation of Digital Body Scanners has bolstered NDLEA efforts. The scanners ensure that drug couriers face greater likelihood of detection at the international airports. In the past year, U.S. and U.K. officials trained NDLEA officers to improve their skills in intelligence gathering and profiling of potential drug couriers under an airport interdiction program. This training paid immediate dividends with recent large seizures from drug couriers. Many traffickers became more aware of the presence of scanners and began to conceal drugs in cargo shipments of goods, such as light fixtures, confectionary commercial products, and food packages. The scanners enabled Nigerian law enforcement to perform quick, non-invasive searches of suspected drug traffickers to locate illegal drugs.

The U.S. also purchased three additional scanners and four new drug/explosives-detecting “Itemizers” for Nigeria’s international airports in Abuja, Kano, Lagos, and Port Harcourt. The equipment allowed Nigerian law enforcement personnel to improve identification and detection capabilities, especially efforts targeted at drug couriers transiting Nigeria’s airports. Nigeria’s sea ports and land borders remain vulnerable, and efforts should be made to increase interdiction efforts at these locations.

The increase in low-level drug couriers or “mules” to Europe, especially heading to Spain, can be attributed, in part, to the economic downturn and the desperation of the individuals involved as they seek to earn quick money. The mules often ingest about a kilo of cocaine and try to smuggle it to their destination. Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has intercepted drug couriers from Latin America at Lagos’ main airport, particularly on flights from Brazil. NDLEA has detected many couriers through the use of modern scanning equipment donated to Nigeria by the U.S. State Department counternarcotics assistance program. In late 2009, authorities detected the first drug courier attempting to board a Delta flight to Atlanta with the USG-donated Digital Body Scanner at the Lagos international airport. Because of the deterrence factor from these apprehensions, DEA and NDLEA report that traffickers are circumventing the machines by traveling through the porous land borders and flying out of neighboring countries’ more vulnerable airports. The USG also donated drug detection kits to the NDLEA for use at all Nigerian ports of entry to enhance the drug agency’s capacity to identify the drugs they interdict on site, instead of after a long delay.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Local production and use of marijuana have affected Nigeria for some time. According to the NDLEA and NGOs, however, abuse of harder drugs (such as cocaine and heroin) seems on the rise as both types of drugs remain readily available in many larger cities. The NDLEA Demand Reduction Directorate reinvigorated its school oriented programs within the past year focusing on creating awareness of the dangers of drug abuse and trafficking. Other demand reduction programs targeted various groups, including youth, drivers, commercial sex workers, and transport workers. Community leaders are frequently enlisted to deliver a counternarcotics message.

The UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and NDLEA celebrated the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking on June 26, by vigorously pursuing demand reduction programs at the tertiary, adult, and non-formal education sectors. The NDLEA reinvigorated its counseling, treatment, and rehabilitation drive, having counseled and rehabilitated 1,257 drug dependent persons in the past year. Private treatment centers handled more severe cases of dependency. NDLEA also focused on collecting drug data and researching methods to develop effective drug control strategies by conducting a public survey to collect and analyze drug abuse data. The study indicated that younger unmarried males topped the list of drug abusers and that cannabis was the most abused drug.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. U.S.-Nigerian counternarcotics cooperation focused on interdiction at major international entry points and professionalizing the NDLEA and other law enforcement agencies. The State Department Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Office in Nigeria and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) worked closely with the NDLEA and other narcotics-related agencies to train Nigerian law enforcement to coordinate, plan, and implement internal and regional interdiction operations. USCG provided residential training courses to Nigerian personnel on seaport security, officer development and technical maintenance in FY09. USCG also plans on providing such courses in FY10. Lack of access to the Delta region limits USCG ability to provide training in Nigeria. NDLEA officers received training at the regional, INL-funded International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) on border interdiction. At all levels, USG representatives enjoyed excellent access to their counterparts, with both sides wanting to strengthen relationships.

The Road Ahead. Inadequate funding for Nigerian law enforcement agencies according to the mangers of those agencies seems to hinder forward planning and adversely affects morale. A reconsideration of budget priorities could have a very positive impact on morale in enforcement agencies and could lead to enhanced success in their work.

Many observers believe that the Nigerian National Police Force (NPF) continues to lack public trust and confidence. Organized crime groups continue to prey on citizens. The NPF needs attention. INL assistance to Nigeria strives to facilitate interaction between the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the NDLEA to improve interdiction at Nigeria’s seaports and land borders. Even with support from international donors, NDLEA officers receive relatively little training. Often the problem seemed to be insufficient Nigerian and donor budgets. NDLEA, however, sought to focus significant funding to re-establish the physical infrastructure at its training center in Jos. Once the Jos Academy is fully operational, NDLEA will require all officers to undergo re-training at the basic level and mid-level before qualifying for promotion under a new promotion system.

The U.S. government will continue to engage Nigeria on counternarcotics, money laundering, and other transnational crimes focusing on selected institutions, such as the NDLEA and NCS, which have skilled, professional leaders. The underlying institutional and societal factors that contribute to narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and other crimes in Nigeria remain deep-seated, requiring comprehensive, collaborative efforts by all levels of law enforcement and government. Progress can only occur through Nigeria’s own sustained effort and political will, with continued support from the international community

 

North Korea

I. Summary

There is insufficient evidence to say with certainty that state-sponsored trafficking by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) has stopped entirely in 2009. Nonetheless, the paucity of public reports of drug trafficking with a direct DPRK connection suggests strongly that such high-profile drug trafficking has either ceased, or has been reduced very sharply. Trafficking of methamphetamine along the DPRK-China border continues. There are indications that international drug traffickers can purchase methamphetamine in kilogram quantities in some of the major towns on the Chinese side of the DPRK-China border. Other criminality involving DPRK territory, such as counterfeit cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting/passing of U.S. currency (supernotes), continues.

II. Status of Country

No confirmed instances of large-scale drug trafficking involving the DPRK state or its nationals were reported in 2009. This is the seventh consecutive year that there were no known instances of large-scale methamphetamine or heroin trafficking to either Japan or Taiwan with direct DPRK state institution involvement. From the mid- 1990s through to 2002/2003, numerous instances of narcotics trafficking involving DPRK persons and important state assets, such as sea-going vessels and military patrol boats, were recorded in Taiwan and Japan.

Press reporting suggests that methamphetamine trafficking along the DPRK-China border continues. These reports detail the activities of organized criminal groups arranging methamphetamine shipments to destinations in Asia from the major towns near the DPRK-China border (e.g., Dandong, Yanji).

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Law Enforcement Efforts. The source of relatively small quantities of methamphetamine seized elsewhere in Asia can occasionally be traced back to the China-DPRK border area. Local press reports in Asia describe apprehensions of traffickers smuggling methamphetamine and indicate that arrangements to purchase that methamphetamine were made in towns near the China-DPRK border. These reports suggest that trafficking of methamphetamine continues along the China-DPRK border and they raise the question of whether or not local DPRK officials might be aware or even complicit in the drug trade. There is no clear evidence of a central role for DPRK state institutions in selling methamphetamine or organizing the trafficking of methamphetamine. Evidence of direct DPRK state involvement in drug trafficking to Taiwan and Japan emerged regularly in the past.

Reports of non-narcotics related acts of criminality in the DPRK suggest that DPRK tolerance of criminal behavior may exist on a larger, organized scale, even if no large-scale narcotics trafficking incidents involving the state itself have come to light. Press, industry, and law enforcement reports of DPRK links to large-scale counterfeit cigarette trafficking in the North Korean Export Processing Zone at Rajiin (or Najin) continue. It is unclear the extent to which DPRK authorities are complicit in this illegal activity, although it is likely that they are aware of it, given the relatively high-profile media reports. In addition, counterfeit $100 U.S. notes called “supernotes” (because they are so difficult to detect), continue to turn up in various countries, including in the United States. There are reports, for example, of supernote seizures in San Francisco and a very large supernote seizure in Pusan, South Korea during 2008. Supernotes are uniquely associated with the DPRK, but it is not clear if recent seizures are notes which have been circulating for some time, or if they are recently-counterfeited new notes.

Agreements and Treaties. The DPRK is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

Cultivation/Production. For many years, it has been alleged that poppies are cultivated in the DPRK, with the opium converted into heroin and then trafficked by state organs for profit. However, it has not been possible to confirm such illicit cultivation, and there has not been a heroin trafficking incident with a DPRK connection for many years. There are also several known factories in the DPRK that could produce very pure heroin and methamphetamine drugs, and there have been cases of large-scale smuggling of pure methamphetamine drugs from the DPRK to Japan and Taiwan as recently as 2002.

IV. U.S. Initiatives and Programs

The Department of State has no evidence to support a clear finding that DPRK state narco-trafficking has either stopped or is continuing. The absence of any seizures linked directly to DPRK state institutions, especially after a period in which seizures of very large quantities of drugs regularly occurred, does suggest considerably less state trafficking, and perhaps a complete end to it.

On the other hand, press reports of continuing seizures of methamphetamine in Asia, which can be traced back to an apparent DPRK source, suggest continuing manufacture and sale of DPRK methamphetamine to criminal traffickers. Large-scale trafficking of counterfeit cigarettes from the DPRK territory also continues and suggests that enforcement against notorious organized criminality in the DPRK is lax.

It is likely that the North Korean government has sponsored narcotics trafficking and other criminal activities in the past. The Department of State has insufficient information to confirm that the DPRK-state is no longer involved in manufacture and trafficking of illicit drugs, but if such activity persists, it is certainly on a much smaller scale.

 

Norway

I. Summary

Norwegian illicit drug production remained insignificant in 2009 mainly due to Norway’s tight regulations governing domestic sales, exports and imports of precursor chemicals and the country’s unfavorable climatic conditions for vegetal-drug production. However, Norway remained a significant market and transit country for drugs produced in Central/Eastern Europe, North Africa and elsewhere.

Norwegian authorities are committed to the fight against illegal drugs, and enjoy broad public support. On the policy side, the government has recently integrated its counternarcotics efforts and provided additional funding. Norwegian authorities have increased regional collaboration and issued a report on Norway’s role in international counternarcotics efforts. For 2008, the total volume of drugs and number of seizures is down approximately 4 percent. Cannabis accounted for 45 percent of the total number of seizures, followed by amphetamines and methamphetamine at 21 percent, and benzodiazepines at 14 percent. Other drugs accounted for 20 percent of seizures. The police continued to step up efforts to track and intercept the transit of drugs throughout Norway. Norway is an active participant in international counternarcotics efforts and is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Norway is not a significant illicit drug producing country. Tight regulations on chemicals and climatic conditions limit the potential for synthetic drug production ever to emerge in Norway. Drug abuse overall has remained steady over the last decade. Hashish use among 15-20 year olds increased in the late 1990s, but has since decreased. However, drug-use among young adults (21-30) has increased over the last decade. According to surveys, a third of people in this age group have tried drugs (50 percent in Oslo), and cocaine and amphetamines have grown more popular. There are between 8200-12,500 injection drug abusers in Norway.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services continued its narcotics and alcohol abuse treatment and prevention reform program in 2009. The reform program was initiated in 2007 with the publication of an “Escalation Plan”—a structured progress plan detailing government-wide efforts to combat narcotics and alcohol abuse and listing 147 concrete measures to be implemented, directly assigned to the relevant ministries. The first progress report was published in January 2009. The report shows clear performance improvements; cross-departmental work has benefited from the introduction of stricter accountability, and 74 percent of the projects listed in 2007 have now been started. Funding has also increased, with 300 million kroner (equivalent to approximately $53 million) proposed in the pending 2010 State Budget.

In 2009, the Ministry continued to encourage the use of drug injection rooms for drug addicts. It is up to each municipality to decide if it wants to have such facilities. So far, Oslo is the only city in Norway to have them. A “drug injection room” is a facility, maintained by the municipal government, where addicts are given illegal drugs and clean needles without criminal liability. The rationale for the injection rooms is to remove the pressure on drug addicts to feed their addictions by crime and to provide addicts with sterilized injection needles in a controlled environment. The practice has been criticized for encouraging drug abuse, most recently by the International Narcotics Control Board in its Annual Report for 2008, which concludes that Norway fails to fully respect important international treaties on the fight against drugs.

The national government, represented by the regional health authorities, has the ultimate responsibility for treatment and prevention of narcotics and alcohol abuse. The principal aim of state centralization of drug treatment policy is to provide improved and uniform health and counseling services for drug and alcohol abusers countrywide. However, local governments have an important supporting role to play, and in May 2007, the Health Ministry launched a national electronic database on drugs and alcohol prevention and treatment to serve as a guideline for health personnel and decision makers in the districts.

The Ministry, in 2009, also published several policy documents and brochures dealing with narcotics and alcohol abuse and their treatment (e.g., Drugs and Alcohol in Norway).

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

In 2009, the Norwegian Police Directorate (PD), a part of the Ministry of Justice and Police, continued to enforce the PD’s 2003-2008 Counter Narcotics Action Plan, with narcotics police following up by carrying out an increasing number of countrywide and border drug raids. The 2003-2008 action plan carries forward plans and initiatives to meet the objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Meanwhile, a new counternarcotics action plan has been drafted and is currently undergoing review, scheduled to be announced in late 2009 or early 2010. The PD has at its disposal modern equipment (e.g., a helicopter and drug scanner machinery at borders). The PD thus focuses on reducing domestic drug abuse, identifying and curbing illicit drug distribution, and curbing drug abuse among drivers of motor vehicles.

Several counternarcotics police operations have been launched during recent years. The 2006 operation “Broken Lorry” helped destroy a drug cartel, and the police credit this bust with a subsequent decrease in heroin trafficking and heroin seizures, which were only 8 kilos in 2007. The first half of 2008 saw an increase in heroin seizures, but the seizures are still lower than in many previous years, reflecting a long-term downward trend in heroin abuse in Norway. In 2009, the four main suspects apprehended were sentenced to 21, 21, 19.5 and 19 years in prison. In 2007, “Operation White Snow” infiltrated the cocaine market in the capital, Oslo, increasing seizures by 25 percent in 2007 and keeping them at this higher level in 2008. In addition, Norway has introduced a tracking system aimed at detecting new abuse patterns. The so called “Early Warning System” has been introduced in the big towns of Bergen, Oslo, and Drammen and it is primarily aimed at youth and young adults.

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

Norwegian authorities have intensified cooperation with their counterparts in neighboring countries. Through cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region Border Control Co-operation (BSRBCC), Norway cooperates with Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland on limiting drugs trafficking within the Baltic sea lanes. Cooperation is also taking place through the Schengen Information System, Interpol, Europol, Frontex, as well as Nordic police and customs cooperation initiative known as PTN.

In February 2009, the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services issued a report on Norway’s participation in international forums concerning narcotics. The document outlines Norwegian drug control and counternarcotics policy, and sets the agenda for Norwegian involvement at the international level. Key goals include strengthening international, and particularly regional, cooperation, reducing international demand for drugs through rehabilitation and informational campaigns, improving methods of monitoring trade in precursor chemicals, combating organized crime and supporting nation-building efforts in drug producing countries. Norway is an active participant in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan, and one important pillar in the international effort is reducing Afghanistan’s opium production.

Law Enforcement Efforts. According to statistics compiled by the Norwegian police crime unit (KRIPOS), the numbers of narcotics cases and drug seizures in 2008 were both down for the second year in a row. The number of narcotics cases decreased by 4 percent to an estimated 23,835, and the number of drug seizures by 3 percent to 19,619.

Hashish seizures moved up 9 percent, while other drug seizures, over all decreased by 9 percent.

Of the seizures made in 2008, cannabis accounted for 45 percent, amphetamines and methamphetamine 21 percent, benzodiazepines 15 percent, and other drugs (pain killers, LSD, and hallucinogens) accounted for 20 percent of total seizures. The amount of heroin seized in 2008 increased dramatically from 2007, but at 55 kilograms the amount is average for the decade. The amount of stimulants (amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine) seized was lower than in 2007, but still significant in a Nordic/European context. Numbers for cannabis seizures are up significantly, chiefly due to a 401 kilograms hashish seizure, the second largest in Norwegian history. The numbers and volume of Gamma-Hydroxybutyric (GHB) acid, a drug associated with date rape, remains low, but is considered a problem in some rural districts. Cannabis and stimulants continue to dominate the drug market.

Police and customs officials continue to focus attention on drug “wholesalers” rather than individual abusers. In order to discourage the use of narcotic substances, Norwegian law enforcement authorities, in cooperation with CED, have continued to make coordinated raids at border crossings against smuggling rings and to impose heavy fines for narcotics offenses. In a move to improve law enforcement, the Ministry of Justice and Police has given permission to use technical means to monitor the conversations of suspected narcotics offenders.

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

Agreements and Treaties. Norway is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Norway is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the UN convention against corruption. Norway has an extradition treaty and customs agreement with the U.S.

Cultivation/Production. There were 217 seizures of live cannabis plants in 2008, compared to 207 in 2007. The Norwegian police cracked down on organized cultivation and production of cannabis in and around Oslo. The police seized approximately 300 kilograms of potted and cultivated plants on private premises. This is 13 times the 2007 number. While there is concern that narcotics dealers may establish mobile synthetic drug laboratories, few significant seizures of such labs occurred in 2008.

Drug Flow/Transit. According to Norway’s National Crime Investigation Service (KRIPOS), the 2009 inflow of illicit drugs remained significant in volume terms with amphetamines, cannabis, heroin, and benzodiazepines. Most illicit drugs enter Norway by road, and originate in other European countries including Lithuania and the other Baltic states (e.g., amphetamines), Russia (e.g., methamphetamine), Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Morocco via Spain, Central Asia, the Balkans and other countries in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan. In the past, some drugs have been seized in commercial vessels arriving from Europe and Central/South America.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Government ministries and local authorities continue to initiate and strengthen counternarcotics efforts and rehabilitation programs. According to the Ministry of Health and Care Services, a significant reduction in drug-related deaths since 2000 suggests that these programs have been successful. There were 179 drug-related deaths in 2008, compared to 327 in 2000. While the maximum penalty for a narcotics crime in Norway is 21 years imprisonment, penalties for carrying small amounts of narcotics are not severe.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. DEA officials consult with their Norwegian counterparts, and continue to cooperate on drug related issues. Since 2000, Norway has been a member country of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), monitoring the state of the drug problem and emerging trends, as well as solutions applied to drug-related problems.

The Road Ahead. Norway and the U.S. will continue to cooperate on narcotics-related issues both bilaterally and in international forums, notably the EU (Norway has a close relationship to the EU, including via the EEA).

 

Pakistan

I. Summary

Pakistan remains a major transit country for opiates and hashish from Afghanistan moving to markets around the world and for precursor chemicals moving into neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistan is also a narcotics producing country with cultivation of 700 acres of poppy (footnote: 2008 USG figure, 2009 estimate not available). In 2009, Pakistani forces continued to engage militants along the border with Afghanistan, particularly in Malakand Division of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and South Waziristan Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Militant groups challenged forces throughout FATA and continued encroaching into the settled areas of the NWFP, such as Swat Valley and the settled district of Peshawar, the provincial capital. Fighting in these areas adversely affected efforts to destroy illicitly cultivated poppy in Pakistan and drastically reduced seizures of opiates moving through the country.

The joint U.S. Embassy Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS)—Government of Pakistan (GOP) Narcotics Control Cell poppy survey of 2009 indicated that 1,779 hectares (ha) of poppy were cultivated in 2009. Poppy cultivation levels were 1,909 ha in 2008 and 2,315 ha in 2007. In 2008 and 2009, poppy eradication was not conducted because both the Frontier Corps and Tribal Levies in FATA and Swat were engaged in operations against militants. In 2009, local forces eradicated 16 ha in Baluchistan only.

Pakistan’s position as a major drug transit country has fueled domestic addiction, especially in areas of poor economic opportunity and physical isolation. The GOP estimates that there are up to four million drug abusers in the total population of 170 million (2.4 percent).

National counternarcotics efforts are led by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) under the Ministry of Narcotics Control (MNC). In general, counternarcotics cooperation between the GOP and the United States has solid foundations built up over many years and a record of accomplishment, but during the past two years there has been a systemic lack of willingness and capacity on the part of the GOP to exploit investigative leads. In addition, Pakistan’s five-year Master Drug Control Plan, promised since 2006, has languished in the cabinet and once again failed to emerge in 2009.

Despite U.S. efforts to strengthen the capacity of law enforcement agencies, the agencies’ access to remote areas where drug trafficking takes place remains limited. Seizures in all categories were significantly down from 2008 levels.

During 2009, Pakistani law enforcement agencies seized a combined total of 3.69 metric tons of heroin (including morphine base), 163 metric tons of hashish, and 8.46 metric tons of opium. There is an extradition treaty between the United States and Pakistan, however, Pakistan’s performance with respect to U.S. requests, currently 12, has been unsatisfactory. Pakistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

The GOP is committed to regaining the poppy-free status it reached in 2001. Since then, tensions between the GOP and Pakistan’s tribal populations on the Afghan border have increased. Small cultivators in remote areas continue to try to exploit this tension by resuming poppy cultivation. In the FATA, where militant activity is a continuous threat, 1,558 ha of poppy were cultivated in 2009, down from 1,730 ha in 2008. In the NWFP, which cultivated 116 ha during 2009, poppy cultivation was almost entirely concentrated in the Kala Dhaka area. Given the lack of enforcement capacity in the FATA and NWFP resulting from the deployment of thousands of Frontier Corps forces to Mohmand, Bajaur, and Swat, as well as to North and South Waziristan, the entirety of the FATA and NWFP’s 1,674 ha cultivated poppy crop was harvested. In Baluchistan, 16 ha out of 105 ha were eradicated. The nationwide net harvest of 1,674 ha in 2009 demonstrates that the long-standing GOP campaign against increased poppy cultivation has been mostly sustained, even without the threat of eradication. However, Afghanistan’s record poppy crops in recent years have contributed to an over-supply of opium in the region that has almost certainly contributed to the low levels of poppy cultivated in Pakistan.

Opium production in neighboring Afghanistan continues at record levels. Pakistan shares an approximately 1,500 mile border with Afghanistan marked by three official crossing points (Torkham, Ghulam Khan, and Spin Boldak) as well as hundreds of largely unsupervised trails and passes. Experts estimate that upwards of 150 tons of heroin and 80 tons of opium are annually smuggled across this border and trafficked to Iran, China, the Gulf States, Europe, and the United States. The U.S.-funded Border Security Program, which began in 2002, is building GOP interdiction capabilities along the Afghan border, as demonstrated by drug seizures in 2009 by border security forces such as Frontier Corps Baluchistan. However, successfully interdicting drug shipments is difficult given the rugged terrain, the sheer number of smuggling routes, the lack of resources, scant law enforcement training in reconnaissance and combined ground/air operation experience, and the fact that smugglers keep adapting their tactics.

Pakistan has established a chemical control program that strives to closely monitor the importation of controlled chemicals used to manufacture narcotics. Significant quantities of diverted precursor chemicals nevertheless transit Pakistan. The February 2008 seizure of 14 tons of acetic anhydride (AA) in Karachi and July 2009 seizure of 2,067 liters in Peshawar illustrates the ability to import and transship large quantities of the chemical to Afghanistan. In 2009, 5,000 liters of acetyl chloride destined for Afghanistan were seized. Acetyl chloride can be used to manufacture acetic anhydride, although its volatility during the process makes it an uncommon precursor. In addition, five metric tons of AA was seized in July 2009 in Quetta. Also included in the seizure were lime and soda ash, two other chemicals used in the heroin production process. On the export side, in late December 2008, two men were arrested for attempting to smuggle 42 kilograms of ephedrine out of Pakistan by air. The chemical was destined for Mexico City and likely the clandestine methamphetamine manufacture trade. The two men arrested told investigators they made several similar trips in the past.

Some progress has been made in determining the routes and methods used by traffickers to smuggle chemicals through Pakistan into Afghanistan. Major smuggling routes run through Nangarhar, Helmand, Kandahar, and Nimroz. The Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues to provide Pakistani law enforcement with information regarding chemical seizures that may have links with Pakistani smuggling groups and/or chemical companies, to facilitate further investigation within Pakistan.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. As of the end of 2009, Pakistan’s Drug Control Master Plan is still awaiting approval by the Cabinet. Publication of the national plan was anticipated in early 2007, and the delay in its release remains a concern. The plan should focus on controlling production, identifying interdiction strategies, reducing the number of drug addicts, enhancing efforts to curb money laundering, and promoting international cooperation. The Ministry of Narcotics Control, in coordination with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), continues to work on the plan. The GOP also seeks to regain “poppy-free” status, which it had secured from the United Nations (UN) in 2001, by enforcing a strict “no tolerance” policy for cultivation. Federal and provincial authorities continue antipoppy campaigns in both Baluchistan and NWFP, informing local and tribal leaders to observe the poppy ban or face forced eradication, fines, and arrests. Security concerns in the NWFP and FATA, where the majority of Pakistani poppy continues to be cultivated, prevented full realization of the GOP’s goal to be “poppy-free” in 2008-2009. Of course, as long as Afghanistan is producing some 90 percent of world opium, even success in totally eliminating the small amount of poppy cultivation presently occurring in Pakistan still leaves it susceptible to major transit activity and possible overflow production of illegal substances.

ANF is the lead counternarcotics agency in Pakistan. Other law enforcement agencies have counternarcotics mandates, including the Frontier Corps Baluchistan (FCB) and Frontier Corps NWFP (FCN), the Pakistan Coast Guards, the Maritime Security Agency, the Frontier Constabulary (FCONS), the Rangers, Customs Preventive Force, the police, and the Airport Security Force (ASF). The Pakistan Coast Guards are using counternarcotics cells (or units) and checkpoints along the Makran Coast to better coordinate and execute counternarcotics operations. The investigative authority of these agencies, however, is limited by the ANF.

Law Enforcement Efforts. In the first three quarters of 2009, GOP law enforcement and security forces reported seizing 3.69 metric tons of heroin/morphine, 8.46 metric tons of opium, and 163 metric tons of hashish. There were several significant drug seizures in Pakistan during 2009 including: 248.8 kilograms of hashish (seized from a truck on September 19, 2009), 4,947 kilograms of hashish (seized from a truck on July 29, 2009), 3,356 kilograms of hashish (seized from a truck on July 12, 2009), and 429.6 kilograms of hashish (seized from a truck on May 7, 2009). An additional 12,000 kilograms of hashish was seized from a container in Peshawar on May 31, 2009, and 2,000 kilograms of hashish (seized from a vehicle on February 14, 2009). Other seizures include 30 kilograms of heroin from the personal possession of an accused person at Sheikhupura on August 25, 2009; and 102 kilograms of opium and 270 kilograms of hashish from the Nazarabad Area of District Kech on January 30, 2009.

In the first three quarters of 2009, Pakistan law enforcement reported arresting a total of 43,036 individuals on drug-related charges. Only 962 of these arrests (716 cases) were reported as being made by the ANF. Of those 716 new cases, 253 have been decided, and the remaining cases are either pending or closed without result. The conviction rate reported by the ANF during this period for the 253 cases that were decided is about 86 percent. In 2008, the total number of narcotics cases registered by all Pakistan law enforcement agencies was 51,779 and the number of arrested persons was 52,040. Statistics for ANF cases for 2008 were: 8,464 cases opened, 5,384 cases convicted, 798 cases acquitted, 558 cases listed as “dormant”, 254 cases closed without result, 254 cases under further investigation, and 1,476 cases pending trial. The great majority of narcotics cases that go to trial continue to be uncomplicated drug possession cases involving low-level couriers and straightforward evidence. The problematic cases tend to involve more influential members of society, higher-ups in drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), and wealthier defendants. The ANF continues to prosecute appeals in seven long-running cases in the Pakistani legal system against major drug traffickers, including Munawar Hussain Manj, Sakhi Dost Jan Notazai, Rehmat Shah Afridi, Tasnim Jalal Goraya, Haji Muhammad Iqbal Baig, Ashraf Rana, and Muhammad Ayub Khan Afridi. In 2009, the appeal of Ayub Khan Afridi was rejected by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Since many strong cases are reversed on appeal, the ANF has supplemented its own in-house prosecutors by hiring private outside counsel to defend convictions on appeal, in an effort to address these reversals. The DEA continues to advance the concept of conspiracy investigations with the ANF to target major traffickers. Through November 10, 2009, drug traffickers’ assets totaling 119,392 million rupees (about $13.48 million) remained frozen.

In 2009, the government froze recruitment for the ANF. The total number of ANF officers is currently 2,434. The Frontier Corps, which is tasked to assist police in maintaining law and order including by conducting border patrol and antismuggling operations, has approximately 80,000 personnel. In 2009, this force was increasingly used to combat militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Baluchistan along the Afghan border. DEA support for the ANF’s Special Investigative Cell (SIC) ended in September 2009. Compliance and productivity issues impacted the effectiveness of this effort. DEA is investigating other options for a meaningful cooperative relationship.

Corruption. The United States has no evidence that the GOP or any of its senior officials encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, with government salaries low and societal and government corruption endemic, it is not surprising that some narcotics-related corruption among government employees occurs. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Pakistani agency tasked with investigation and prosecution of corruption cases (not only narcotics-related), has been targeted for political reasons, resulting in a decrease in its operating budget, reductions in staffing, and a reorganization of its operations. Legislation that would rename the NAB and sharply curtail its authorities is under consideration in the National Assembly. The NAB opened no new investigations during 2009 and directed its efforts at completing pending cases.

Agreements and Treaties. Pakistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Pakistan is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime. The United States provides counternarcotics and law enforcement assistance to Pakistan under a Letter of Agreement (LOA). This LOA provides the terms of and funding for cooperation in border security, crop control and area development efforts, narcotics law enforcement, and drug demand reduction efforts. There is no mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) between the U.S. and Pakistan, nor does Pakistan have a mutual legal assistance law; it has not responded to formal U.S. requests for assistance. The 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty, which was applicable to all of British India, was adopted by Pakistan when it gained independence in 1947. Both the Extradition Treaty and Pakistan’s Extradition Act are outmoded. Lack of action by Pakistani authorities and courts on pending extradition requests, which currently number 12 including four drug-related cases, continues to be of concern to the United States; one has been pending since 1995; the last extradition was in 2006. Obstacles to extradition include the inexperience of GOP public prosecutors, an interminable appeals process that tolerates defense-delaying tactics, and corruption.

Cultivation/Production. Through interagency ground monitoring and aerial surveys, the GOP and United States Government (USG) confirmed that Pakistan’s poppy harvest decreased by roughly 146 ha in 2009. In 2009, Pakistan cultivated 1,779 ha, compared to cultivation of approximately 1,909 ha in 2008. Based on the GOP’s methodology for determining poppy crop yield, which estimates that approximately 25 kilograms of opium are produced per hectare of land cultivated, Pakistan’s potential opium production was approximately 44 metric tons in 2009.

Cultivation in the “non-traditional” areas in NWFP remained almost completely contained in 2009, with Kala Dhaka as the only trouble spot. The USG does not fund any application of aerially applied herbicides in Pakistan. The NWFP Government struggled this year to contain poppy in the FATA agencies where both the Pakistani Army and the Frontier Corps NWFP are combating an aggressive militancy, including elements of al-Qaida. Frontier Corps force concentrations in North and South Waziristan meant that there were no troops available to combat poppy cultivation in Khyber, Bajaur, and Mohmand, where 1,558 ha of poppy were cultivated during 2009. Ground monitoring teams continue to observe, particularly in Khyber, a trend of increased cultivation within walled compounds to deter detection and eradication.

Drug Flow/Transit. Although no exact figure exists for the quantity of narcotics flowing across the Pakistan-Afghan border, UNODC’s World Drug Report 2009 estimates that 40 percent of Afghanistan’s heroin is trafficked to Pakistan, and then onward to Iran, India, Africa, Europe, the U.S., Canada, China, and East and South-East Asia. There are no estimates regarding the amount of hashish manufactured or cannabis harvested in Pakistan, but recent seizures indicate that the quantities are likely large. In 2009, drug couriers intercepted in Pakistan were en route to Thailand, Italy, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, Germany, Vietnam, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Ghana, Cambodia, China, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Ecstasy, buprenorphine (an opiate adapted for use in the treatment of opiate addiction), and other psychotropics are smuggled from India, the UAE, and Europe for the local Pakistani market. Small amounts of cocaine smuggled into the country by West African DTOs have also been seized.

The UNODC’s Afghanistan Opium Survey 2009 notes that opium cultivation in Afghanistan decreased by 22 percent, from 157,000 hectares (ha) in 2008 to 123,000 ha in September 2009. Nevertheless, the GOP is alert to the possibility that law enforcement efforts in Afghanistan could push DTOs and labs further into Pakistan. Many DTOs already have cells throughout Pakistan, predominantly in remote areas of Baluchistan where there is little or no law enforcement presence. DTOs in Pakistan are still fragmented and decentralized, but individuals working in the drug trade often become “specialists” in processing, transportation, or money laundering and sometimes act as independent contractors for several different criminal organizations. To some degree, a cross-border collaborative network of opium/heroin production exists in Afghanistan and Pakistan where antigovernment elements in Pakistan provide significant financing, while insurgents in Afghanistan provide cultivation/refining sanctuaries.

Pakistan discontinued the manufacturing of AA in 1995, but Pakistan borders two major chemical producers, China and India. Pakistani law enforcement notes that precursor chemicals, such as AA, are most likely smuggled through the UAE, Central Asia, China, South Korea, and India to Pakistan and then on to Afghanistan in mislabeled containers that form part of the Afghan transit trade. According to UNODC’s 2009 report on Addiction, Crime and Insurgency, the largest precursor flows have historically arrived at Karachi or other seaports on Baluchistan’s coast and then crossed Pakistan’s borders with the southern Afghan provinces of Nimroz, Helmand, and Kandahar.

Afghan opiates and hashish trafficked to Europe and North America enters Pakistan through Baluchistan and the NWFP and exit either through Iran or Pakistan’s Makran coast or through Pakistan’s international airports. Customs and ANF report that drugs are being smuggled in the cargo holds of dhows to Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and UAE via the Arabian Sea. Traffickers also transit land routes from Baluchistan to Iran and from the tribal agencies of NWFP to Afghanistan for transit through Central Asia.

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

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Ministry of Narcotics Control estimates that there were four million drug users in Pakistan in 2009. The last comprehensive survey on drug use, conducted by the GOP in coordination with UNODC in 2006 and published in 2007, indicated that Pakistan has approximately two to three million drug addicts, with around 628,000 opiate abusers. The most alarming trend from the survey is the near doubling of the number of injecting drug users to an estimated 125,000. The prevalence of drug users testing positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was estimated at nearly 11 percent in March 2007, with the city of Karachi having the highest prevalence (28 percent). Eleven percent of users reported being infected with hepatitis and 18 percent reported being infected with tuberculosis. With the increased incidence of intravenous drug abuse, blood borne diseases have the potential to spread rapidly. The average age of first use is 18 years and the initial drug of choice is cannabis (hashish); the average age of first use of heroin is 22 years. Cannabis and heroin are the most widely abused drugs, followed by raw opium. Prescription and synthetic drugs such as Ecstasy are gaining popularity among high-income users. Pakistan’s justice system treats addicts as victims, not criminals. Nevertheless, with only a few NGOs and the establishment of two GOP model drug treatment and rehabilitation centers in Islamabad and Quetta, drug users have limited access to effective detoxification and rehabilitation services in Pakistan.

The ANF is also tasked with reducing demand and increasing drug abuse awareness and funds a number of drug demand reduction programs and rehabilitation centers. The USG funded several NGOs, including drug treatment centers in Peshawar and Gujranwala, a drug prevention program in Karachi, and a counternarcotics campaign for school-aged students from across Pakistan.

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

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

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

Bilateral Cooperation. The United States, through the State Department-funded Counternarcotics and Border Security Projects, provides operational support, commodities (e.g., vehicles, radios, and body armor), and training to the ANF, MNC, Frontier Corps-Baluchistan, and the FATA Secretariat’s Narcotics Control Center (NCC). Under the Border Security Project, the U.S. has built and refurbished 81 Frontier Corps outposts in Baluchistan and NWFP, and another 62 Levy (tribal police force) and 38 Frontier Constabulary outposts in the NWFP. 14 new outposts are still under construction in NWFP and Baluchistan. Construction of 336 km of roads in the border areas of the FATA are complete and ongoing construction of 73km of border security and counternarcotics roads continues to open up remote areas to law enforcement. Since 1989, the State Department also has funded construction of more than 586 km of counternarcotics program roads in previously inaccessible areas, facilitating farmer-to-market access for legitimate crops and providing authorities access for poppy eradication. Over 1,000 development projects have also been implemented to provide water and electricity to remote areas and to encourage alternative crops in Bajaur, Mohmand, and Khyber Agencies. The construction of 16 additional water projects is under way. Alternative crop programs were extended into Kala Dhaka and Kohistan in 2006. In 2009, 13 kilometers of new road were completed and 24 kilometers are underway. A total of $10 million has been committed to road construction and small electrification and irrigation schemes for this earthquake-devastated area of NWFP.

The State Department’s law enforcement reform and capacity building program is building the capacity of Pakistani law enforcement organizations by providing training and equipment and reconstructing/rehabilitating police facilities in vulnerable areas. In 2009, efforts focused on reestablishing security and stability in the NWFP. The Department of State-funded/Department of Justice-provided Resident Legal Advisor has also instituted training for prosecutors in coordination with USAID’s Rule of Law efforts. The training is designed to improve advocacy skills, police-prosecutor cooperation, prosecutorial ethics, and management of the prosecutorial function. The program is coordinated with NAS police training and assistance to ensure that police investigations provide prosecutors with suitable evidence and that prosecutors communicate their requirements to police.

The United States funds a Narcotics Control Cell in the FATA Secretariat to help coordinate counternarcotics efforts in the tribal areas, where the overwhelming majority of poppy is grown. The U.S.-supported Air Wing program operated by the Ministry of Interior (MOI) was established to provide significant benefits to counternarcotics efforts and also serves to advance U.S. Border Security objectives. DEA terminated support for the ANF’s Special Investigative Cell (SIC), but is exploring other means of assistance.

The Office of the U.S. Defense Representative-Pakistan (ODRP) has begun providing assistance to the Pakistan Coast Guards to improve the GOP’s counternarcotics capabilities on the Makran Coast and has also presented a Fusion Cell (intelligence sharing and coordination center) concept to the Pakistan Navy, Maritime Security Agency, and the Coast Guards. The objective of the Fusion Cell will be to foster interagency coordination and increase detection and interdiction capabilities along the Makran Coast. The Makran Coast serves as the transition point between trafficking from land to sea; this trafficker vulnerability can be exploited to disrupt trafficking to the Gulf States and beyond. To date, ODRP has provided over $141 million in equipment and training to Coast Guards, Maritime Security Agency, Customs Preventive, and Frontier Corps to further enhance their ability to interdict illicit trafficking in the southern regions of Pakistan.

The Road Ahead. Despite a lack of robust political will and some problems with cooperation, the United States will continue to assist the GOP in its nation-wide efforts to eliminate poppy, build capacity to secure its borders, conduct investigations that dismantle drug trafficking organizations, increase convictions and asset forfeitures, detect diverted precursor chemicals, and reduce demand for illicit drugs through enhanced prevention, intervention, and treatment programs. Implementation of these strategies will require GOP perseverance to strictly enforce the poppy ban , develop an indigenous drug intelligence capability, improve the prosecution and resolution of court cases, encourage GOP interagency cooperation, promote more effective use of resources and training, and enhance regional cooperation and information sharing.

 

Panama

I. Summary

Panama is a major logistics and transshipment point for both legal and illegal products due to its geographic position and well-developed maritime and transportation infrastructure. In addition to rising drug trafficking through Panama by Colombian, Mexican, and other drug trafficking organizations, the presence of Colombian illegal armed groups in the Darien region of Panama is contributing to rising crime, violence, and gang presence throughout the country. The newly elected Martinelli Administration has continued Panama’s history of strong cooperation with the U.S. on counternarcotics operations. United States Government (USG) support to Panama’s counternarcotics efforts, including developing an effective community policing model to help control a growing gang problem, is crucial to help Panama stem its increasing security problems. Panama is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Due to its close proximity to Colombia and other drug producing countries, Panama receives a significant quantity of South American cocaine and heroin destined for the U.S. and other global markets. With increased counternarcotics efforts in Mexico, drug traffickers are increasing drug transshipment routes through Central America. Traffickers utilize Panama’s coastline to move drugs, supplies, and other illicit products between land and water to evade law enforcement. Panama’s infrastructure, including four major containerized seaports, the Pan-American Highway, and the rapidly growing Tocumen international airport facilitate drug movement. Smuggling of weapons and drugs continues to take place, particularly along the Pacific Coast of the Darien region near the Colombian border, the Azuero peninsula, the porous border with Costa Rica, and the sparsely populated Caribbean coastal areas. The flow of illicit drugs has contributed to increasing crime, drug abuse, and gang violence in Panama. Panama has traditionally been one of the safest countries in Central America, with lower crime rates than Costa Rica. However, in the last two years the security situation dramatically shifted in Panama. The murder rate climbed from 11.1 homicides per 100,000 persons in 2006 to a projected 23.2 per 100,000 in 2009. Panamanian authorities attribute the deteriorating security situation in large part to the increase in narcotics trafficking. Panama is not a significant producer of drugs or precursor chemicals. Limited amounts of cannabis are cultivated for local consumption.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The Martinelli Administration cooperates extensively with the United States to fight crime and narcotics trafficking. Planning for the switch of criminal systems pursuant to the 2008 law reforming the criminal system from a written (inquisitorial) system to a largely oral (accusatorial) system continued throughout 2009. Implementation is not expected to begin until 2011. The 2008 merger of the National Air Service (SAN) and the National Maritime Service (SMN) into a unified “Coast Guard”-type service called the National Aero-Naval Service (SENAN) increased the Government of Panama’s (GOP) maritime interdiction capacity, due in large measure to SENAN’s strong leadership. The GOP also separated the frontier police from the PNP, creating SENAFRONT as an independent entity. Over the past year, SENAFRONT established itself as a relatively effective border security force and took steps to increase the GOP’s presence in the remote border region of the Darien. For the third straight year, Panama carried out a successful table-top exercise (Panamax Alpha) to address asymmetrical threats to the Panama Canal.

Accomplishments. Panama reported seizing over 54 metric tons of drugs in 2009, including 52.4 metric tons of cocaine and 1.8 metric tons of marijuana, according to seizure data from the Panamanian Drug Prosecutors Office. The data includes cocaine captured by GOP forces, but does not include cocaine interdicted by U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) assets in Panamanian waters or cocaine jettisoned by traffickers to avoid prosecution. Police also seized over $11 million in cash linked to drug trafficking, 90 kilograms of heroin, and made 1,157 narcotics-related arrests.

Law Enforcement Efforts. SENAN cooperates with USCG requests for ship registry data and provides officers to serve aboard U.S. maritime assets as “ship riders,” which expanded the effectiveness of these assets. In addition to granting permission for U.S. maritime assets to operate in Panamanian territorial waters, SENAN provides excellent support for counternarcotics operations within its limited means, including patrolling and photographing suspect areas, and identifying suspect aircraft. The U.S. provided equipment and support to personnel for GOP vetted units. These units conduct sensitive investigations and operations related to counternarcotics, money laundering, human smuggling, and other transnational crimes. In 2009, the GOP continued to staff the U.S.-funded Guabala checkpoint on the Pan-American Highway. The Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ (INL) Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supported this effort by providing temporary duty U.S. Border Patrol Agents to conduct training and mentoring of Panamanian law enforcement personnel. The national police also deployed a NAS-supported mobile inspection unit that manned road blocks throughout the country, targeting the land-based movement of drugs.

Corruption. The GOP 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. Several government ministries have transparent, automated procedures to minimize opportunities for corruption (e.g., for registering a business, or preparing a shipment for export), but public corruption remains a concern. Despite the GOP’s public stance against corruption, few cases have been adjudicated due largely to a lack of investigative capacity and a weak judicial system.

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

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

Drug Flow/Transit. Panama is a major logistics and transshipment point for both legal and illegal products due to its geographic position and well-developed maritime and transportation infrastructure. Drug traffickers move South American drugs along Panama’s relatively unguarded Pacific and Atlantic coastlines via fishing vessels, cargo ships, and go-fast boats. According to the latest USG estimates, 91 percent of the cocaine directed towards the U.S. transits the Mexico/Central America corridor. Panama’s coastlines and rivers are used by drug traffickers to store drugs, fuel, and supplies for go-fast boats. These boats carry drug shipments towards the U.S. Drugs are also moved by air, with aircraft utilizing hundreds of abandoned or unmonitored legal airstrips in Panama for refueling, pickups, and deliveries. In 2009, the GOP reported an increase in seizures on the Pan American Highway, indicating that traffickers are increasingly using ground transportation methods in conjunction with transporting narcotics by air and sea. Panama has developed into a regional commercial air transportation hub, and drug couriers continue to use commercial air flights transiting or originating in Panama to move cocaine and heroin to the U.S. and Europe.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Public concern over Panama’s growing drug consumption problem sparked increasing internal debate on the need to improve domestic drug prevention and awareness efforts. The U.S. partners with local actors to implement such programs as Drug Awareness and Resistance Education (DARE), Youth Crime Watch, Young People Building a Better World, and the Integral Prevention Education Program. As part of the Mérida Initiative, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also partners with the GOP, civil society, and the private sector to provide alternatives to narcotics use and gang membership to disadvantaged youth. This crime prevention and antigang program led to a proposal to develop a new government-wide working group to coordinate all GOP activities dealing with at-risk youth. This working group, expected to be formed in spring 2010, is intended to bring together approximately 45 at-risk youth programs spread among 20 GOP agencies and to facilitate assistance from donors, NGOs and corporations, including potential continuation funding from the USG.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. USG-supported programs focus on improving Panama’s ability to intercept, investigate, and prosecute illegal drug trafficking and other transnational crimes; strengthening Panama’s judicial system; improving Panama’s border security; and promoting strict enforcement of existing laws. In 2009, NAS, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC), and USCG provided resources for modernization and upkeep of SENAN, SENAFRONT, and PNP vessels and bases, and assisted SENAN with training personnel and maintaining key aircraft for interdiction efforts. Over the past year, the USG provided training, operational equipment and support to the multi-agency Tocumen Airport Drug Interdiction Law Enforcement Team. NAS coordinated training for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) vetted units, as well as continued training for the quick response motorcycle team (“lynx” unit) in Tactical Law Enforcement procedures, internal affairs, Anti-Corruption investigations, and crowd control procedures.

In 2009, NAS and CBP continued support for operational evaluation teams of U.S. Border Patrol Agents who work in the border areas with SENAFRONT. NAS also continued support for a major law enforcement modernization project with the PNP to develop its police leadership and implement community-based policing procedures. The program aims to improve community policing tactics, expand existing crime analysis technology, and promote managerial change to allow greater autonomy and accountability. In 2009, this program exposed the PNP leadership to the concepts of Community Policing. Due to the program’s success, the PNP has incorporated the training concepts into the curriculum of its three training academies. NAS continues to provide material and training support to increase the effectiveness of the GOP’s counternarcotics effort.

Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, the GOP continued to sustain joint counternarcotics efforts with U.S. entities, such as DEA and USCG, and worked to strengthen national law enforcement institutions with assistance from NAS. The DEA vetted unit continues to lead the region’s vetted units in cocaine seizures. The NAS-funded ICE vetted unit doubled in size in 2009, and became a major asset for the PNP. This unit led several high-profile investigations and operations involving crimes with a nexus to the U.S. In 2009, Panama and the USG also coordinated to launch a Panamanian Trade Transparency Unit (TTU) in early 2010. The TTU will enhance information sharing for combating trade-based money laundering activities. Maritime cooperation improved in 2009. At U.S. urging, SENAN, SENFRONT, and the PNP formed a Joint Task Force (JTF) to increase the GOP’s ability to leverage the entities’ varied skills to combat drug trafficking when deployed to strategic locations in Panama. The JTF was created at the close of 2009, but plans are in process to establish a base of operations on Panama’s Pacific Coast near the border with Colombia to work in conjunction with U.S. maritime assets to deny use of Panama’s Pacific littorals waters to traffickers. In 2009, the USG and Panama cooperated to execute 18 cases under the provisions of the maritime counternarcotics bilateral agreement, which resulted in the removal of over 7.5 metric tons of cocaine, arrest of 76 smugglers, and seizure of 12 vessels.

The Road Ahead. When considering the movement of narcotics from South America to the U.S., Panama is the “mouth of the funnel.” Drug loads are found in large quantities, providing U.S. investment in counternarcotics efforts an immense “bang for the buck” effect against drug traffickers. Panama has a long tradition of close cooperation with the United States, as illustrated by Panama routinely reporting the highest cocaine seizure rates in Central America, but increased narcotics trafficking and associated violence is eroding public confidence in government institutions. Rising insecurity, increased narcotics-related crime, and the increased presence of Mexican and Colombian trafficking organizations threaten to undermine Panama’s democratic institutions. The new Panamanian administration has allocated more resources to its security organizations, and has made some needed changes, such as increasing police salaries, but Panama’s justice and security organs remain weak and susceptible to the corrupting influences of drug trafficking organizations. The U.S. encourages Panama to devote even more resources to the modernization of its security services and to continue with reform efforts that improve public sector accountability and transparency. The GOP is also encouraged to continue enhancing its efforts to prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute financial crimes and money laundering. Panama’s ability to safeguard its citizens, confront drug traffickers, and ensure that law enforcement efforts are anchored in democracy will be strengthened by its continued focus on law enforcement modernization, improved equipment, strategic planning, decentralization of decision making, and community-oriented policing philosophies.

 

Paraguay

I. Summary

The Government of Paraguay continued to make some progress against illegal narcotics trafficking in 2009. Paraguay’s National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD) increased its seizures of cocaine compared to 2008, however the culture of corruption and impunity remains a significant barrier in the battle against organized crime and drug trafficking. President Fernando Lugo has expressed a desire to reverse Paraguay’s status as a major drug transit country and significant producer of marijuana. The Government of Paraguay implemented new money laundering legislation on July 20, which could be an important tool for law enforcement. Paraguay is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Cocaine, primarily from Bolivia, continues to be trafficked through Paraguay’s porous borders to markets in Europe, Africa, and other Southern Cone countries. In addition, lax border controls and tax evasion have helped make Paraguay a transit country for ephedrine—the precursor chemical to MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or Ecstasy) and methamphetamine—as well as other precursor chemicals to cocaine production. SENAD continued its drug interdiction activities despite limited financial and personnel resources and weak and corrupt government institutions that are often unable or unwilling to prosecute and convict growers or traffickers. Paraguay is currently the second-largest producer of marijuana in the hemisphere, largely due to extreme poverty, which is a driving force. Marijuana cultivators can earn up to 500 percent more than growing any licit crop. Domestic demand is quite low, and the majority of the marijuana is consumed in neighboring countries.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs

Policy Initiatives. President Lugo’s administration implemented new legislation regarding money laundering that will be an important tool for law enforcement agencies. On April 30, SENAD appointed new directors of operations and intelligence and appointed a new adjunct minister position to serve as a second in command in order to improve SENAD’s response and effectiveness in its fight against drug trafficking. The new administration has yet to resurrect legislation that would grant SENAD autonomy and provide its officers with law enforcement authority. Seizures of cocaine increased under the new SENAD leadership, but much remains to be done.

Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2009, SENAD more than doubled its cocaine seizures compared to the previous year. Seizures of marijuana and destruction of marijuana crops did not exceed 2008 levels. SENAD seized 600 kilograms of cocaine, 84 metric tons of marijuana, 54 vehicles, 71firearms, multiple hydraulic presses for compressing marijuana, and made 243 arrests.

There were several high profile arrests in 2009. From the 2005 Operation Sapphire in which 2,000 kilograms of marijuana were seized, 16 suspects were sentenced on August 22, 2009 to prison terms ranging from six to 18 years. On September 5, 2009 SENAD arrested two members from the “Commando Vermelho” organization thanks to intelligence shared between SENAD and the Brazilian federal police. The two detainees, Ricardo Dos Santos Silva (AKA Tubarao) and Anderson Bonfim de Alencar (AKA Cabeza/Leco), are important players in narcotics and weapons smuggling to criminal organizations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Mustafa Ahmad Abu Hamdan, a Lebanese citizen with suspected ties to Hezbollah, was captured on October 22, 2009 and deported to Brazil to be tried for international drug smuggling. SENAD also arrested Jarvis Ximenes Pavao, a major Brazilian drug trafficker, together with Carlos Antonio Caballero (AKA Capilho), a Brazilian “Primeiro Comando da Capital” gang member, on December 27, 2009 in an eastern province of Paraguay.

Corruption. Official corruption remains the principal barrier to reducing the production and distribution of illegal drugs. Senior police officials are routinely involved in organized crime activities or accept bribes. Within the judicial system, corruption is the greatest barrier to effective prosecution of drug traffickers and producers. The Lugo government has indicated that anticorruption efforts are a major priority for the administration. The U.S. Agency for International Development began the second phase of the Millennium Challenge Corporation anticorruption project in 2009 that targets corruption within the judicial system and Paraguayan National Police.

Agreements and Treaties. Paraguay is a party to the UN 1988 Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The Government of Paraguay (GOP) is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism. The GOP also signed the Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) Hemispheric Drug Strategy. Paraguay has law enforcement agreements with Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Colombia. The United States and Paraguay cooperate in extradition matters under a 2001 extradition treaty. The 1987 bilateral Letter of Agreement under which the United States provides counternarcotics assistance to Paraguay was extended in 2004 and followed by yearly amendments through 2009. Paraguay is also a signatory to the 1992 Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.

In 2009, SENAD signed cooperation agreements with local and foreign institutions including the municipality of Ciudad del Este; the Brazilian Federal Police; and the Education Ministry that will enable collaboration and intelligence sharing with foreign institutions as well as provide training on drug prevention to various government institutions.

Cultivation/Production. Paraguay is the hemisphere’s second-largest marijuana producer after Mexico. Production takes place primarily in the northeastern departments of Amambay, San Pedro, Canindeyú, and Concepcion, and multiple crops are harvested throughout the year. Due to the high demand and price of the crop, production continues to increase and spread to new areas of the country. There are approximately 4,500 hectares under production around the country according to SENAD officials, while the UN estimates that Paraguay has closer to 6,000 hectares under cultivation. In 2009, SENAD conducted a number of manual marijuana eradication operations in the departments of Canindeyú and Amambay, destroying 1,171 hectares of marijuana crops. SENAD seized 2,456 kilograms of marijuana seeds and 9,130 kilograms of hashish during eradication and interdiction operations.

Drug Flow/Transit. Paraguay remains a transit country for as much as 30 to 40 metric tons of cocaine produced in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia. A small portion of the cocaine from these countries is destined for the United States; however, the bulk is transported to Brazil, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The majority of the marijuana grown in Paraguay is sold in neighboring countries including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. Paraguay’s porous and extensive borders, limited law enforcement coverage, and corrupt police and customs officials permit not only drug trafficking, but trafficking of weapons and contraband as well. In 2009, SENAD also seized 498 kilograms of acetone, 99 kilograms of lidocaine, and 9 kilograms of sulfuric acid used commonly as cocaine precursors. There were no ephedrine seizures in 2009, but ephedrine trafficking is a possible trend that bears watching. On November 2, there was a shipment of 500,000 pseudoephedrine tablets from Paraguay that was seized at the Guatemalan International Airport.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. SENAD conducts formal workshops, informal sessions, public seminars, and distributes informational materials in order to reach thousands of students, teachers, and parents in its role as the principal coordinator under the “National Program against Drug Abuse.” In 2009, SENAD sponsored 720 workshops reaching 21,417 students, parents and teachers in 106 different schools; and distributed 6,501 informational pamphlets, 50 banners and 175 DVDs to students, teachers and counselors. Domestic demand for illegal drugs in Paraguay remains low in comparison to neighboring countries, but most believe it is increasing.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. Mission in Paraguay works closely with the GOP to disrupt drug trafficking organizations and build stronger legal and regulatory measures to restrict drug trafficking, illegal contraband flows, and money laundering. The narcotics detection canine program continued to support seizure operations and was responsible for the direct seizure of 65 kilograms of cocaine. The USG funded the participation of SENAD, the Secretariat to Combat Money Laundering (SEPRELAD), and the Specialized Anti-Piracy Unit (UTE) agents at seminars on information sharing; illicit traffic of goods and trademark fraud; and money laundering. The USG has started a project to improve SENAD’s physical headquarters in Asuncion. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues to work with SENAD on improving its ability to develop criminal narcotics cases targeting major traffickers through technical assistance and training.

The Road Ahead. Phase II of the USG’s Millennium Challenge Account Threshold Program was inaugurated in October and is aimed at decreasing the corruption that is pervasive throughout Paraguay’s democratic institutions. SENAD continues to push the Paraguayan Congress to make necessary regulatory changes to provide SENAD with the law enforcement powers necessary to be an effective national narcotics police and to give it the autonomy to carry out its duties free of political interference. We encourage the GOP to continue to institute measures to address corruption and address the challenges that constrict its ability to actually prosecute and convict narcotics traffickers. The GOP is also concerned about cocaine crossing into Paraguay from Bolivia via land and air and needs to augment SENAD’s presence on the Bolivian border. We encourage Paraguay to effectively implement the new anti-money laundering legislation and penal code; to pass and implement asset seizure and forfeiture legislation; and pass the new criminal procedure code that has been pending before Congress for two years.

 

Peru

I. Summary

Peru is the world’s second largest coca cultivator and producer of cocaine and is a major importer of precursor chemicals used for cocaine production. The Government of Peru (GOP) is committed to full cooperation on counternarcotics matters and Peru is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Authorities eradicated 10,025 hectares of illicit coca cultivated in the Upper Huallaga Valley (UHV) during 2009. In September, the base of eradication operations moved south to Tingo Maria following a strategy to attack the dense coca cultivations in Huanuco Department. According to Peruvian authorities, the GOP seized 498 metric tons of precursor chemicals and 19.7 metric tons of cocaine and destroyed 2,519 cocaine labs.

Despite these efforts, the GOP does not devote sufficient resources to implementing its counternarcotics plan or for counternarcotics operation. Coca cultivation expanded in Peru, Peruvian authorities seized fewer drugs in 2009 than in 2008, and Peru’s potential to manufacture and export cocaine increased in 2009. A number of Peruvian politicians and the Foreign Minister publicly called for the international community to help Peru fight narcotics trafficking. Peru is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Peru is a major cocaine producing country and is also a major importer of precursor chemicals used for cocaine production. In the UHV, coca growers at times engaged in violent acts to resist coca eradication in 2009, including attacking police and eradicators and threatening to kidnap or kill them. Despite violent incidents, the Government showed no signs of giving in to protestors’ demands that eradication stop.

Remnants of the terrorist group Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path, or SL) are increasingly reliant on drug trafficking for funding and were active in 2009, as in previous years, in ambushing and killing police and military personnel in the UHV and in the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE). For instance, in September, SL shot down a Peruvian military helicopter, killing the pilot and copilot who had been sent on a rescue mission to evacuate wounded soldiers ambushed by SL while on patrol. Since 2006, 33 Peruvian National Police (PNP) officers and 2 CORAH (Control and Reduction of Coca in the Upper Huallaga) employees have been killed in SL attacks.

In May, the President of the Council of Ministers (PCM) presented the “Strategy for a Comprehensive Intervention- Plan VRAE” to the Congress, which was aimed at strengthening the State’s presence in the VRAE and supporting development projects.

Peru had three ministers of interior in 2009 and the installation of each new minister resulted in other staffing changes at the ministry. These changes somewhat hampered the GOP’s ability to efficiently prosecute a counternarcotics strategy in 2009.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The GOP’s National Commission for Development and Life without Drugs (DEVIDA) continues to implement the 2007-2011 counternarcotics master plan but needs more resources in order to achieve the strategy’s goals of prevention and rehabilitation, interdiction, and alternative development.

The Office of the Attorney General (Public Ministry) continued its efforts to strengthen its prosecutorial capacity by increasing staff and providing training to enhance counternarcotics investigative and procedural skills. The Public Ministry issued a regulation extending the competency of special counternarcotics prosecutors’ offices to the whole judicial district (a judicial district is generally a political region or department). Special counternarcotics prosecutors will also conduct investigations related to money laundering and chemical precursors when connected with drug trafficking. A temporary special counternarcotics prosecutor’s office was established in Mazamari with funding through 2009.

The 2007 Criminal Procedures Code is being implemented progressively to replace the mixed-inquisitorial criminal procedure model. By the end of 2009, the new criminal code had been implemented in 11 judicial districts; the remaining 17 districts are scheduled to implement the new code in 2010.

The GOP enacted legislation increasing the reward to a million soles (approximately $344,827) and five hundred thousand soles (approximately $172,413) for information that leads to the capture of terrorist leaders and terrorists, respectively. Additionally, the GOP enacted legislation to eliminate sentence reductions for imprisoned terrorists. These are advances in the counternarcotics struggle because, in Peru, terrorists such as SL often are involved in drug trafficking.

In 2009 to combat the diversion of kerosene for cocaine manufacture, the GOP issued regulations prohibiting the commercialization of kerosene and established a program to replace the use of domestic kerosene with liquid petroleum gas. A specific regulation for the VRAE prohibited selling, packing, repacking, transport, storage, distribution, transformation, use, services, possession or other type of activity with kerosene; however implementation had a negligible effect on the flow of kerosene through the VRAE.

Accomplishments. The increase of Peru’s counternarcotics police (DIRANDRO) personnel in source zones over the last five years has contributed to more effective and sustained eradication and interdiction operations. In 2009 DIRANDRO destroyed 2,519 cocaine-production laboratories, including 25 cocaine hydrochloride (HCl) and 2,494 base laboratories in the UHV and the VRAE; and destroyed 1,016 metric tons of dry and macerated coca leaf. The GOP disrupted the production and transshipment of cocaine through operations on land, sea, and air, seizing more than 10.4 metric tons of HCl and 9.3 metric tons of cocaine base, and 1.8 metric tons of marijuana in 2009. (Note: Seizure rates are inflated, as authorities occasionally cite gross weight of a seizure rather than the net weight of the cocaine—such as when the September 4.3 metric tons seizure of cocaine found in 80,000 cans of artichokes included the entire content of the cans, rather than just the cocaine which constituted perhaps half the gross weight.)

Despite these successes, traffickers continued to adapt to counternarcotics strategies and tactics, experimenting with new delivery and production methods. For example, after containers had been inspected, drug traffickers sometimes stashed duffel bags with 50 to 100 kilograms of drugs into them. Drug traffickers mixed cocaine into liquids, clothing, plastic items, coffee, guano, and spices, making it harder to detect. The amount of cocaine seized by Peruvian authorities in 2009 was less than the amount seized in 2008. Similarly, although eradication reduced the number of hectares of illicit coca cultivation by 10,025 in 2009, the number of hectares of coca under cultivation nationally increased by 14 percent in 2008 compared to 2007. In the area of the UHV where eradication was undertaken, however, cultivation decreased by almost 50 percent from 2007 to 2008.

In accordance with the GOP’s drug strategy, DIRANDRO and the DEA continued Operation Chemical Choke, a program that since 2006 has interdicted precursor chemicals destined to cocaine production laboratories in the VRAE and UHV. In 2009, Operation Chemical Choke resulted in the seizure of over 17.2 metric tons of acetone, 8.2 metric tons of hydrochloric acid, and 22.3 metric tons of sulfuric acid and the arrest of several chemical traffickers.

Law Enforcement Efforts. GOP law enforcement efforts focus on domestic crime within its major cities and provinces as well as issues regarding cocalero and Sendero Luminoso activities, placing less of an emphasis on dismantling and disrupting major drug trafficking organizations. The Garcia administration gives high priority to achieving economic growth; relying heavily on USG counternarcotics assistance to maintain police academies and police bases, fund eradication efforts, provide aerial support, and fund operations and equipment for counternarcotics police. During the year the GOP did not devote significant funding resources to fight drug trafficking or investigate major trafficking organizations.

In 2009, the GOP continued efforts to expand the police presence east of the Andes. U.S.-supported police academies in Santa Lucia, Mazamari, and Ayacucho graduated 912 officers, including 76 women, with a minimum 3-year commitment to serve in counternarcotics units. In addition, 600 candidates graduated from PNP pre-academies that prepare students to become police recruits; of these, 154 were women and 22 were indigenous minorities. In 2009 1,916 DIRANDRO officers were operating in coca source zones east of the Andes, which is slightly below the number of counternarcotics police at the end of 2008. Three hundred and fifty one graduates will join them in January, 2010, resulting in a force of 2,267 counternarcotics police east of the Andes.

DIRANDRO conducted counternarcotics operations named “AMISTAD I” and “AMISTAD II” with police forces in Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador in past years. In 2009 DIRANDRO conducted drug investigations with Brazil resulting in the capture of a Brazilian drug kingpin. A DIRANDRO officer was later targeted by the organization and murdered as a result of the successful operation.

Peruvian authorities throughout the year arrested important SL terrorists, among them Felix Victoriano Ascencio Majia (aka “Mono”) and Ignacio Lino Solano (aka “Gringo”), who were in charge of logistics for SL in the UHV.

Maritime/Airport Interdiction Programs. USG analysts conclude that most cocaine that leaves Peru does so by maritime means. The GOP needs to devote more resources to Peru’s Coast Guard (DICAPI) and Navy to give them the capability to mount a credible interdiction force to combat maritime cocaine shipments. In 2010, with USG assistance, the GOP plans to construct a maritime intelligence center designed to improve intelligence, analysis, coordination, and ultimately, interdiction of suspect vessels in Peruvian waters.

During the year, Peruvian agencies involved in maritime and airport counternarcotics enforcement were responsible for seizures of 11.6 metric tons of cocaine. Of an estimated one million containers that pass through Peruvian ports each year, Customs (SUNAT) personnel intensively inspected an average of 427 per month in 2009, compared to 9,500 inspected per month in 2008. Interdiction efforts at Lima’s international airport resulted in the seizure of 3.3 metric tons of cocaine HCl, and the detention of 232 internal carriers (mules), while nearly 9,000 passengers were submitted to body scan x-rays to detect illicit narcotics and money.

SUNAT continued to expand its counternarcotics capabilities in 2009, especially at the leading seaport of Callao and at Lima’s international airport. SUNAT more than tripled the counternarcotics canine force from eight to 25 and acquired a money detection canine. These canines assisted in detecting 9 metric tons of cocaine seized. In addition, SUNAT added 10 new portable ion-scanners and a backscatter X-Ray van to its inventory of non-intrusive inspection equipment. In October, SUNAT deployed one body scanner at the border crossing facility in Tacna, and one at Cuzco international airport. These scanners immediately resulted in the detection and arrest of internal drug carriers.

SUNAT improved security at the port of Callao with the installation of a closed circuit camera system, and plans to do the same at Peru’s second largest port, Paita, in 2010. SUNAT now uses container and cargo electronic manifests for the ports of Callao, Paita, Salaverry, and Chimbote, and at the international airport in Lima. This capability provides analysts information to better detect and seize drug shipments. By year’s end, the District Attorney’s office had purchased two ion-scans and three portable trace detectors and had rented a container scanner for counternarcotics operations in Peruvian ports. Peru’s counternarcotics Dive Unit continued conducting underwater inspections of ship hulls, but to date has not found contraband.

Corruption. The GOP does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of the proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, drug trafficking generates vast proceeds in Peru, which are used to attempt to bribe officials to allow or to facilitate drug trafficking. For instance, on January 13, 2009, the police chief of San Miguel was arrested for drug trafficking after a shootout with police officers outside the city of Ayacucho. Police found 59 packages of cocaine in the police chief’s vehicle. In another incident, police captain Carlos Izaguirre and police officer Ernesto Ramos were arrested in Huamanga January 24, 2009, for allegedly reselling cocaine that had been confiscated in their jurisdiction in Ayacucho. Subsequently, Luis Henríquez Palacios, inspector general of the PNP, removed 120 police officers from duty in the VRAE; Henríquez told La República newspaper that 60 of these officers were suspected of using police weapons during their days off to seize cocaine from drug traffickers and resell it to competing traffickers, while 27 others were accused of corruption. The 120 officers were reportedly transferred to other posts pending investigation. Also, in January, 2009 a mid-level Customs official was arrested, along with employees of Lima Airport Partners and LAN-Chile Airlines, for drug trafficking. The case is pending trial.

The Comptroller General submitted a bill in 2008 modifying the Asset Forfeiture Law to include corruption of public officials as a predicate offense. The bill is pending in the Constitutional Committee. On January 14, a law was enacted modifying the criminal code to establish bribery of foreign public officials as a criminal offense. This is part of the GOP’s commitment to prevent and combat corruption, including bribery in international trade and investment as set forth in Chapter 19 of the Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Peru. The Public Ministry, the judicial system and the National Police, are implementing new procedures to investigate internal corruption cases. The Ministry of Interior has announced a special telephone line to report cases of corruption.

Agreements and Treaties. Peru is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances; the 1988 UN Drug Convention; the Inter-American Convention on Mutual assistance in Criminal Matters; the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption; the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols; and the UN Convention against Corruption. The United States and Peru are parties to an extradition treaty that entered into force in 2003. Peruvian law requires individuals to serve sentences and any probationary period in Peru before being eligible for extradition. Among the 13 pending U.S. extradition and provisional arrests, seven are related to narcotics trafficking. Four subjects of extradition requests remain at large. Two Peruvians were extradited to the U.S. on drug and money laundering charges in 2009. In November 2009 Peru signed separate bilateral agreements with the Government of Mexico and the Government of Brazil to increase intelligence sharing and cooperation on counternarcotics matters.

Cultivation and Production. The official U.S. Government estimate for 2008 indicated that 41,000 hectares of coca were under cultivation in Peru, a 14 percent increase from the 36,000 hectares in 2007. (The USG estimate is at variance with United Nations Office of Drug Control (UNODC) estimate of 56,000 hectares of coca under cultivation in 2008 in Peru.) The 41,000 hectares would potentially produce 215 metric tons of pure cocaine, and 235 metric tons of export quality cocaine. Successful interdiction and eradication actions eliminated approximately 30 percent (46 metric tons avoided by eradication and 19.7 metric tons of HCl and cocaine base seized) of Peru’s potential production of cocaine in 2009.

During 2009, the GOP continued eradication operations in the UHV, eliminating remaining coca in San Martin Department and commencing eradication in Huanuco Department. Throughout the year, coca growers and their leadership pressured the GOP to halt or limit eradication, but their disarray made the protests more a distraction than an effective impediment to counternarcotics efforts. Even a week-long strike and a journey to the capital in October by coca growers failed to get the government to halt eradication. Prime Minister Javier Velasquez Quequen refused to meet with coca growers and consider their demands. Day-to-day coordination among drug police, aviation components, and eradicators permitted eradication to continue at an optimum pace and CORAH counter measures reduced the incidence of attacks against eradicators and neutralized improvised explosive devices.

Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine HCl continues as the principal illicit drug product in Peru, where traffickers use large production laboratories and storage areas to prepare and store it. Cocaine is transported from coca production zones, primarily in the Upper Huallaga and Apurímac Valley regions, to Peru’s coastal and border areas for further processing and distribution.

Cocaine is transported over land to neighboring countries, and to Europe, the Far East, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the United States via maritime conveyances and commercial air flights. Maritime smuggling is the primary method for transporting multi-ton loads of cocaine. Colombians and Mexicans operate drug transportation networks in Peru, shipping cocaine to Colombia, Mexico, and the Caribbean. U.S. law enforcement agencies and their host nation counterparts from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand report that Peruvian cocaine trafficking and transportation organizations operate in the Far East.

In 2009, the PNP eradicated approximately 31.5 hectares of opium poppy and seized 77 kilograms of opium latex. The PNP reported instances of opium latex, intercepted at Lima’s international airport, being couriered by “drug mules” and/or mailed to European destinations.

Demand Reduction. The GOP, through its drug policy entity DEVIDA, engages in various media campaigns to inform public opinion. NGOs do most of the work educating, researching, and providing information. Most local/public schools have drug awareness education in the large cities, but drug use prevention programs are lacking in the regional education system and at the university level. Drug abuse of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and synthetic drugs (most notably Ecstasy) has been increasing in Peru in recent years. According to the Peruvian non-governmental organization (NGO) CEDRO, there are 200,000 drug addicts in Peru, of which 109,269 are marijuana users and 61,344 cocaine users.

The USG funds local NGOs in the development of 22 community counternarcotics coalitions (CAC) targeting poor, at risk communities in Lima, Pucallpa, Huanaco, Tingo Maria, Ayacucho, and Tocache. The CAC model is a formal organization of all sectors of a community working towards long-term, sustainable solutions and activities to reduce drug use. The CACs have proven effective in addressing community-specific drug demand issues especially among youth.

Public opinion is shifting about coca cultivation and the complicity of coca growers in drug trafficking, particularly when studies show that 93 percent of the coca leaf grown in Peru is illegal and destined for narcotics production. In Peru’s major cities the public is most concerned about the impact of drug trafficking on and the effect of drug abuse among youth. Furthermore, there is a growing awareness of the damage that illicit drug cultivation and production causes to the environment. According to DEVIDA, Peru has lost 2.5 million hectares of land to deforestation in the last three decades; experienced erosion of 30 cubic meters annually per hectare of coca cultivated, and suffered the dumping of 118 million liters of precursor chemicals in forests and streams over the past five years.

Alternative Development (AD) Program. At the close of the eighth year of the AD program, more than 700 communities have renounced coca cultivation and continue to participate in the alternative development program. This total is slightly lower than reported in 2008 due to subsequent merging of some communities, and in a few instances due to communities dropping out of the program for various reasons. In 2009 over 27,000 family farmers received technical assistance on 35,232 hectares of licit crops (cacao, coffee, African palm oil, etc.). With many of these long term crops now entering their most productive years, the AD program has expanded business development activities to link AD producers to local and world markets at optimum prices. In 2009, sales from AD-assisted farmers reached over $16 million in San Martin, Huánuco, and Ucayali.

The success in the productive activities was possible because of Peru’s emphasis on an integrated development approach. The program worked with 460 (of the 700) communities and tens of thousands of people in social capital strengthening. Perhaps the most visible and far-reaching social capital activity was the Selva Ganadora contest, in which 253 communities competed against one another in development-based themes, such as economic growth, environmental projects, and education and health projects. The contest galvanized the communities to take responsibility for their own development and the outcome for many of the communities was a leap forward in their development goals.

In 2005, USAID reoriented the AD program to work directly in areas with established CORAH eradication programs. The initiative was confronted with threats from armed groups pressuring communities in the Tocache, San Martin area to refuse to sign up for the program. However, through persistence and strong USG-GOP collaboration, the communities of San Martin resisted this pressure. The latest coca monitoring report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) presented further evidence that the San Martin region of Peru is a major success story—The report confirms that the region is essentially free of illicit coca after a multi-year program of programmed eradication combined with effective alternative development. This is now referred to as the “Miracle of San Martin,” heralding the success of linking alternative development and eradication efforts, serving as a model for future efforts.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. U.S. assistance to Peru focuses on strengthening governance and creating opportunities for legal activities in isolated areas where drug traffickers and terrorists operate, using aggressive eradication, interdiction, and control of precursor chemicals; coupled with alternative development to reduce dependence on illicit coca cultivation. The USG also provides support for GOP efforts to improve its counter-terrorism efforts and publicize the links between drug production and common crime; so that Peruvians understand that drug trafficking degrades the quality of their lives, damages the environment, and threatens economic development.

Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, the USG continued to work with the GOP on counternarcotics operations in the major drug source zones of the UHV and the VRAE. The PNP received USG assistance to increase police presence and improve police operational capabilities in these areas by supporting and renewing existing police bases and enhancing police training. Other U.S. government-provided training included maritime law enforcement and container inspection. With U.S. support, DIRANDRO commanders and field personnel received specialized counternarcotics courses and refresher courses in advanced airport drug interdiction and chemical field testing. The USCG provided mobile training to Peruvian officials in the areas of port security and container inspection. Law enforcement officials from other Andean countries also participated in the training courses, which contributes to regional cooperation in drug investigations and interdiction.

Peru’s law enforcement organizations conducted joint operations with neighboring countries and Europe, and participated in drug enforcement strategy conferences to address drug trafficking along its borders, such as the former Operation Seis Fronteras—now renamed Operation Sin Fronteras to show that chemical and drug trafficking have no borders. This multilateral initiative is conducted at various stages during the year to combat the diversion of controlled chemicals to illicit markets where these chemicals are utilized. Peru hosted the Operation Sin Fronteras Phase XI evaluation conference in September 2009.

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

Since 2005, the FAP Joint Anti-Drug C-26 Air Squadron has conducted counternarcotics reconnaissance and airlift east of the Andes. The C-26 Forward Looking INFRA-RED (FLIR) was used in 2009 to map suspected clandestine runways in Peru and update the status of known airstrips. The FAP C-26s provided critical overhead real time coverage for eradication workers, eradication police, and army personnel in the field. The planned 2010 installation in the C-26 of an electric optical camera will provide high quality imagery of coca fields to aid in planning eradication operations.

The Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) coordinated and conducted CNIES training for FAP personnel and shifted radar assets in response to intelligence indicating potential trafficking by air. FAP conducted joint training exercises with Brazil and Colombia.

The Road Ahead. The USG encourages the GOP to continue its efforts on core commitments to eradication, interdiction, and alternative development to reduce coca cultivation and cocaine production. The GOP’s five-year counternarcotics plan reflects an emphasis on control and interdiction of precursor chemicals, drug seizures, reduction in coca cultivation, enforcement of money-laundering laws, demand reduction, and improvement of local economic conditions by introducing development alternatives to reduce dependency on coca cultivation, but needs more GOP funding. It is important for the GOP to devote significant resources of its own to fight drug trafficking and focus more efforts on dismantling and disrupting major trafficking organizations. Passing legislation regulating the disposition of seized assets of drug traffickers, and legislation regulating disposition of seized precursor chemicals is also key. Completion of long time ongoing negotiations on maritime operational procedures for boarding suspect vessels will greatly facilitate cooperation with the DICAPI to counter illicit maritime trafficking.

The GOP is encouraged to continue its efforts to expand counternarcotics police presence east of the Andes. To aid in this effort, the USG is partnering with the GOP to build a new police academy in 2010 in Huanuco, the current epicenter of eradication operations. This facility will provide additional police capacity to help reduce coca cultivation and increase interdiction in critical source zones. Successful conclusion of negotiations on maritime operational procedures for counternarcotics and migrant interdiction initiated in 2006 would be a positive step forward consistent with Peru’s efforts on other counternarcotics fronts.

V. Statistical Tables

 

Coca

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

Net Cultivation* (ha)

TBD

41,000

36,000

42,000

34,000

27,500

29,250

34,700

32,100

31,700

Eradication (ha)

10,025

10, 143

11,057

10,137

8,966

7,605

7,022

7,134

6,436

6,206

Leaf: Potential Harvest ( MT)*

TBD
43,500

67,645

50, 000

56,300

48,800

41,000

49,000

42,500

42,000

HCI: Potential (MT)*

TBD
215

210

245

240

230

245

280

255

 

Seizures

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Coca Leaf (MT)**

1,016 **

2,090**

1,858**

14.6

11.3

7.6

11.5

7.1

6.4

9.0

Coca Paste (MT)

9.3

11.7

7.5

5.1

4.5

6.4

4.3

10.4

6.2

1.6

Cocaine (HCL) (MT)

10.4 l

16.2

7.9

14.1

11.7

7.3

3.5

4.1

2.9

2.8

Combined HCL & Base (MT)

19.7

27.9

15.4

19.2

16.2

13.7

7.8

14.5

7.1

4.4

Arrest/Detentions

12,185

10,383

11,197

7,633

11,260

10,149

10,608

13,158

13,343

2,836

Total Labs Destroyed

2519

1224

665***

724

1,126

821

964

238

72

97

Cocaine HCI (labs)

25

19

16

11

22

11

9

0

0

0

Base (labs)

2494

1205

649***

713

1,104

810

955

238

72

97

* Based on CNC estimates.
** In 2007 the basis of reporting coca leaf seizure was shifted from total for just "dry leaf" to dry leaf plus "macerated leaf."
*** Revised.


Philippines

I. Summary

The drug problem in the Philippines continues to pose a significant national threat, despite some reports of a possible decline in the supply and demand of illegal drugs in parts of the country. During the year, a widely publicized and controversial drug case involving prominent families highlighted drug use in the Philippines. President Arroyo appointed herself as the country’s counternarcotics czar, casting it as an effort to protect the country’s judicial system from corruption associated with drug trafficking. With the upcoming 2010 elections, there is fear that illicit narcotics funds may affect election results. Sophisticated foreign-based drug-trafficking operations remain the biggest challenge to Philippine law enforcement. Production of Methamphetamine is now primarily carried out via kitchen-type clandestine laboratories, rather than the large “mega-labs” previously seen. While marijuana remains the second choice of drugs users (behind Methamphetamine), Ecstasy users have increased in Manila, and usage has spread to other regions of the country where there are affluent families and tourists. The West African Drugs Syndicate (WADS) continues to infiltrate the Philippines with their operations. There is an increase in the recruitment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to smuggle cocaine and heroin in and out the country.

Counternarcotics law enforcement remains a top priority of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) actively pursue counternarcotics enforcement, although lack of resources continues to hinder operations. In 2009, the government succeeded in enforcing counternarcotics laws, including the dismantling of numerous clandestine mini-labs, assisting with the arrest of transnational drug traffickers in Malaysia, and arresting a member of an illegal drug syndicate who tried to smuggle methamphetamine to Guam.

Corruption poses a problem in Philippine law enforcement, due to low pay and lack of training. However, law enforcement leadership takes the issue seriously and is attempting to address the problem.

The Philippines is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of the Country

Despite some reports of a possible decline in the supply and demand of illegal drugs in parts of the Philippines, illegal drugs continue to pose a significant national threat, and the government recognizes them as such. According to law enforcement officials and the Director of PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), the drug problem in the Philippines could be considered a national security threat. In January 2009, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed the Philippine law enforcement agencies to wage a “fiercer war” against drug lords.

The media highlighted drug use in the Philippines following the high-profile case of three drug-trafficking suspects from prominent families called the “Alabang Boys,” which began in late 2008. The Alabang Boys case triggered national awareness of the Philippines’ problems with illegal drugs and corruption. In response, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), from the Office of the President to the local governments, made efforts to combat illegal drug distribution and trafficking and crack down illegal drug operations. The “Alabang Boys” incident brought to the surface long-simmering allegations of corruption in the Philippine law enforcement agencies, including the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. It also underscored the difficulties the government faces in the successful prosecution of drug-related crimes. The case featured competing allegations among prosecutors, NBI, PNP, and PDEA of corruption; although the House later initiated an investigation, no charges were filed as a result of this investigation. The case is still pending in court, and the suspects are still incarcerated.

According to the PDEA Director General, the value of illegal drugs trafficked in the Philippines totals $6.4 to $8.4 billion annually. According to the most recent Department of Interior and Local Government Survey (2008), the top three regions most affected were Cebu (Region 7), (Northern Mindanao) (Region 10), and Metro Manila (the National Capital Region). PDEA has publicly expressed fears that illicit narcotics money could influence the 2010 elections, and has pledged to pursue any evidence of such influence in order to be able to carry out arrests.

Estimates of the number of drug users in the Philippines range from 6.7 million, cited on a 2004 survey, to 1.7 million according to an unofficial 2008 estimate by DDB. Based on those patients now in drug rehabilitation centers, most drug users abuse multiple drugs. Their average age of drug abusers is 28; 57 percent are single, and 34 percent are unemployed. Male drug users outnumber females by a ratio of 9:1. Drug trafficking, manufacturing, and cultivation are the three major threat sources of illicit drug activities in the Philippines.

Among these threats, drug trafficking is the most common and prevalent activity. Traffickers increasingly take advantage of the Philippines’ long and porous maritime borders to use the country as a transit point for high-grade cocaine and heroin shipments, primarily from India and Pakistan. Transnational drug groups, particularly the West African Drugs Syndicate, also continue to recruit and use Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) as drug couriers to smuggle and transport illegal drugs to China, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Several Filipinos, mostly women, are jailed abroad for drug trafficking, and face severe prison sentences, including the death penalty in countries such as China. The media has reported on Filipino drug couriers arrested abroad, and the GRP has taken measures to combat this activity by coordinating efforts between Philippine law enforcement agencies and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as crystal methamphetamine or “shabu,” and marijuana, are the two major drugs that dominate the country’s illegal drug market. In addition to crystal methamphetamine and marijuana, MDMA and ketamine are subjects of abuse in the Philippines. Intensified nationwide counternarcotics operations by Philippine law enforcement agencies have apparently contributed to a reduction in drug supply, inasmuch as drug prices have been erratic in areas of increased enforcement.

Crystal methamphetamine ranks first in availability and remains the primary drug of choice in the Philippines. Approximately 95 percent of arrested drug users are addicted to crystal methamphetamine. The 2009 UN World Drug Report states that “the Philippines ranks fifth in the world in terms of methamphetamine hydrochloride seizures in the last 10 years and has remained a significant source of high-potency crystalline methamphetamine used both domestically and exported to locations in East and Southeast Asia and Oceania.” The price of methamphetamine in areas that reportedly have clandestine methamphetamine laboratories, particularly in southern Luzon, had been decreasing in the last quarter of 2009. For example, in Cebu City the street prices have decreased over the last few months. The street price of crystal methamphetamine in August 2009 was P9,000 per gram ($196), compared with P7,500 per gram ($163) in September and October. This may be due to recent law enforcement actions against drug traffickers in Luzon, which have prompted them to relocate to other areas such as Cebu, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

Wholesale quantities of crystal methamphetamine are smuggled into the country, and it continues to be manufactured clandestinely in the Philippines. Precursor chemicals are smuggled into the country from China, India, and Taiwan through international airports, seaports, the mails, as well as via large unpatrolled expanses of the Philippine coastline. There were nine known transnational criminal drug organizations operating in the country in 2009, compared with three in 2008. Chinese and Taiwanese chemists continue to establish clandestine laboratories in the Philippines for the manufacture of methamphetamine; these organizations remain the most influential foreign drug-trafficking groups in the Philippines, and control domestic methamphetamine production. These traffickers typically produce methamphetamine in relatively small-scale clandestine meth labs commonly referred to as “kitchen-type” labs. “Kitchen” labs more easily avoid detection by law enforcement authorities, and in the event that they are discovered and destroyed, less equipment and chemicals are lost. These Chinese and Taiwanese chemists rent apartment units, condominiums, and houses in small villages and affluent residential villages in rural and metropolitan areas. The move away from large “mega-labs” likely resulted from their having been targeted in the past by law enforcement agencies. In addition to large organized criminal transnational organizations, DDB reported that there were 85 local drug-trafficking groups in 2009.

While ethnic Chinese criminal organizations continue to dominate the upper echelons of drug-trafficking organizations in the Philippines, in their conversations with Embassy counterparts, PDEA, NBI, and other law enforcement authorities have alleged that ethnic Muslim Filipinos are involved in street-level distribution operations. In addition, Philippine law enforcement officials have reported that some drug traffickers are affiliated with various insurgent groups for security and protection.

The Philippines is a likely source of methamphetamine for other countries in East Asia and Oceania such as Australia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. In addition, the Philippines is a primary source of methamphetamine for Guam and Hawaii.

The Philippines produces, consumes, and likely exports marijuana, which is currently the second most-used drug in the country. Marijuana remains the “starter drug,” and is also considered as an alternative drug choice when crystal methamphetamine is not available. Much of the cultivation of marijuana is in mountainous regions, often in remote government-owned areas inaccessible to vehicles.

Although Philippine law enforcement agencies have been persistent and active in targeting known marijuana production sites and interdicting marijuana shipments, the often-remote locations of production sites and a lack of government resources hampers enforcement efforts. In addition, Philippine National Police officers reported that the terrorist group New People’s Army (NPA), a group of communist insurgents, controls and protects many marijuana plantation sites, particularly in the Cordilleras Autonomous Region of northern Luzon, and possibly in parts of Mindanao. Most of the marijuana produced in the Philippines is for local consumption, although some may be smuggled to other East Asian countries.

Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA or Ecstasy) is gaining in popularity, but its use is still limited due to the high price and low availability. It is used in night clubs and bars in Metro Manila by young, affluent members of Philippine society, and its use has spread to other regions in the country where there are affluent families and tourists.

The demand for Ketamine in the Philippines is slowly increasing among affluent club-goers. Transnational drug groups utilize the country as a venue for the production of Ketamine powder for export to other areas in the region, including mainland China and Taiwan.

In November 2009, the DDB approved the inclusion of N-Benzylpiperozine (BZP) in the list of dangerous drugs.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. In 2009, President Arroyo appointed herself as the country’s counternarcotics czar in the campaign against illegal drugs. She has also directed her Interior Secretary to ensure that all government officials are actively engaged in the counternarcotics drive. The Arroyo administration called on Philippine local chief executives to take an active role in combating illicit drug use, and warned them that they could face administrative and criminal charges if they are found to be negligent in their duties in the campaign against illegal drugs in their respective communities. To date, no local leaders have faced any repercussions from this directive

The administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo continues efforts to implement counternarcotics legislation, with PDEA as the lead counternarcotics agency. However, a dearth of financial resources has hampered PDEA’s efforts. In 2003, President Arroyo created the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF), the National Bureau of Investigation’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force, and the Bureau of Customs’ Anti-illegal Drugs Task Force to assist PDEA in the nation’s drug enforcement effort. But PDEA remains a relatively small agency; of the 1,875 total personnel it is authorized, PDEA has only 500 agents at present, 120 of whom are still in training. Both PDEA and AIDSOTF are currently sharing narcotics investigations workload.

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines is implementing a counternarcotics master plan known as the National Anti-Drug Strategy. The Strategy is executed by the National Anti-Drug Program of Action and contains provisions for counternarcotics law enforcement, drug treatment and prevention, and internal cooperation in counternarcotics, all of which are objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Drug distributors frequently recruit and exploit children as drug runners. The law protects children below 18 years old from prosecution; children often return to illegal drug activities after leaving youth rehabilitation centers.

PDEA has made a great effort to improve its public image and has implemented internal policing of its agent workforce. A 2009 Global Competitiveness Survey Report listed PDEA as one of the top 10 least corrupt agencies in the Philippines.

There is no effective restriction on the use of telephones or possession of cash in Philippine jails, allowing incarcerated drug traffickers to continue practicing their trade. To address the drug problem in jails and prisons, PDEA has worked in coordination with prison authorities to allow them to seize and gather evidence on prisoners who violate drug laws while incarcerated.

The prosecution of a typical narcotics case takes three to four years, on average. The slow judicial process not only demoralizes law enforcement personnel, but also enables drug dealers to continue their drug business between court dates. Cases against alleged criminals are sometimes dismissed, but can be reinstated. In a major success for 2009, the operator of a P900 million ($19.6 million) methamphetamine market and his common-law wife, who were arrested in 2006, were sentenced to life imprisonment. The Justice Secretary praised prosecutors for their persistence in the face of bribery attempts and threats. The DDB chair cited the conviction as a strong message “that the three pillars of enforcement, prosecution, and the judiciary are working together to hit drug peddlers full force.”

In 2009, the Philippine Congress was working on a bill creating the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Dangerous Drugs (OSPDD) that will have exclusive jurisdiction over illegal drug cases. If approved as law, the OSPDD would be under the control and supervision of the PDEA. The intent of the OSPDD is to create a drug prosecution unit that would be expert on drug cases and independent of political influence.

As a result of the problems in prosecution highlighted during the course of the “Alabang Boys” case, the Philippine DOJ has reinstituted its Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force. This task force focuses solely on drug cases, in an effort to improve accountability and transparency during the prosecution process.

To improve the judicial process for drug offenses, the DDB continue to conduct series of joint seminar-workshops for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges throughout the Philippines.

DDB established a toll-free telephone hotline in 2008 for citizens to report drug trafficking tips and complaints of alleged abuses by PDEA and other counternarcotics law enforcement agencies. The PNP’s “Text 2920,” created in 2007, continues to provide the PNP with text messages of illegal drug tips and complaints about illegal drug issues.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Counternarcotics law enforcement remains a top priority of the GRP. In general, Philippine law enforcement agencies such as PNP, PDEA, NBI, and BOC actively pursue counternarcotics enforcement operations. Although each agency is diligent in its efforts to carry out its mission, counternarcotics efforts are hampered by a lack of interagency cooperation at higher levels. Severe budgetary constraints also restrict operations and training.

Continued U.S. government support in the areas of training, including attendance of law enforcement personnel at International Law Enforcement Academy and DEA/JIATF-West training events, has contributed to building professional capacity and helped make counternarcotics operations more efficient and effective. U.S. DEA assisted Philippine law enforcement agencies in a number of investigations, exchanging leads and information on illegal drug operations.

GRP law enforcement agencies continued to vigorously pursue transnational drug syndicates, such as ethnic Chinese methamphetamine traffickers and the WADS traffickers. This has included raids on clandestine laboratories, arrest of drug chemists, and international cooperation in the arrest of WADS members abroad.

PDEA reports that in 2009, authorities seized 931 kilograms of methamphetamine, valued at $152 million (at $163 per gram); 1,300 kilograms of processed marijuana leaves and buds, valued at $710,000; 6.3 million plants (including seedlings); valued at $22.3 million; 216 kilograms of cocaine; 2,090 tablets of Ecstasy valued at $54,340 (at $26 per tablet); and $408,135 worth of chemicals intended for narcotics processing. From January to December 2009, the Philippine authorities claimed to have conducted 8,452 counternarcotics operations, including the dismantling nine clandestine laboratories and three warehouses, eradication of 186 marijuana plantations and the arrest of 8,056 individuals for drug-related offenses. By comparison, in 2008 Philippine authorities seized $52.4 million in narcotics, dismantled six clandestine laboratories and four warehouses, eradicated 106 marijuana plantations, and arrested 6,589 individuals for drug-related offenses.

As an example, in July 2009, PNP conducted an undercover operation leading to the seizure of 20 kilograms of methamphetamine and the arrest of several Chinese traffickers. During the year, PDEA and PNP also raided several clandestine laboratories, resulting in the seizure of chemicals and laboratory equipment along with the arrest of ethnic Chinese chemists and traffickers. In addition, NBI cooperated with Malaysian police to conduct an undercover operation in Malaysia that led to the seizure of significant amounts of heroin and the arrest of eleven WADS members. This case also highlighted the use of Filipino Overseas Workers as drug couriers by the WADS.

On December 22, 2009, PDEA seized 100 kilograms of high-grade methamphetamine near Aurora province, east of Manila. According to PDEA, this methamphetamine was smuggled ashore by small boats.

In December 2009, Philippine authorities found 16 kilos of high-grade cocaine that was valued at 112 million pesos ($2.4 million) inside two reefer vans at a container yard at an old airport in Davao City, Mindanao. The reefer vans were shipped in from international ports. At this time, the source and the intended destination of the cocaine remain unknown. However, Philippine authorities are investigating to determine if there is any connection to a Philippine drug trafficking organization.

During December 2009, PDEA and PNP recovered over 200 kilograms of high-grade cocaine valued at 100 million pesos ($21.7 million) in eastern Samar, Visayas, that had apparently been dumped at sea recently. PDEA organized recovery operations and informed the public of the dangers and penalties of using/possessing cocaine. The recovery operations continue in an effort to prevent the spread of the cocaine into urban areas.

In December 2009 the PNP arrested a 41-year old male American national of Filipino heritage at Ninoy Aquino International Airport; the suspect was carrying 200 grams of methamphetamine worth more than a million pesos ($21,000). The drug trafficker is a member of illegal drug syndicates that supply methamphetamine to Guam and Hawaii. This case illustrates that the Philippines continues to be a source of methamphetamine for Guam.

In the area of international cooperation, PDEA took the lead in hosting the International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) in Manila in September 2009. PDEA continues to develop international drug law enforcement partnerships.

Despite limited resources at its disposal, PDEA has instituted good recruitment and training programs to increase agency effectiveness, and developed stricter preoperational planning policies for drug enforcement operations (including PNP and NBI), in order to improve coordination and accountability among Philippine enforcement agencies. However, coordination problems have caused some negative reactions from other agencies, and PDEA and its counterparts are working on more effective coordination mechanisms. PDEA, a relatively young organization, remains too small to address the entire nation’s problems with the trafficking and sale of illicit drugs. It currently relies on other agencies for seconded personnel assistance. However, PDEA has established stronger regulatory guidelines and practices, and if provided necessary resources, should continue to develop into an effective drug-enforcement agency and establish successful cooperation with other Philippine law enforcement agencies.

With the bulk of the nation’s manpower and law enforcement personnel, the PNP continues to play a key role in combating illicit drugs. The PNP seeks to formalize its counternarcotics units (which are currently temporary task forces), in order to obtain regular appropriations for this activity and become more effective in carrying out its mission. The PNP’s Anti Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) has been an effective drug law enforcement unit and scored several successes during 2009.

In comparison with the PNP and PDEA, NBI has played a smaller role in drug enforcement, due to NBI’s very limited manpower and multi-mission focus. However, its investigative and technical expertise is vital to the overall Philippine counternarcotics efforts, especially in more complex investigations.

Corruption. Corruption poses a problem in Philippine law enforcement, due primarily to low pay and lack of training. However, law enforcement leadership takes the issue seriously and is attempting to address the problem. In 2009 there were 131 PNP personnel who were dismissed from service and 151 PNP personnel who were criminally charged for not appearing as witnesses in court drug cases.

The courts have been making efforts in convicting law enforcement officers who are in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. In 2009, the Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s conviction of two police officials who facilitated the release of two Hong Kong drug dealers in exchange for 650,000 pesos in 1999.

The GRP has criminalized public corruption in narcotics law enforcement through the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, which prohibits GRP officials from laundering proceeds of illegal drug actions.

As a matter of government policy, the Philippines does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

No known senior official of the GRP engages in, encourages, or facilitates the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Several active and former politicians and officials have been implicated in drug trafficking and money laundering, but have yet to be formally charged.

Agreements and Treaties. The Philippines is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, as well as to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention. The Philippines is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the UN Convention against Corruption. The U.S. and the GRP continue to cooperate in law enforcement matters through a bilateral extradition treaty and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. During 2009, the Philippines refused extradition of a Philippine citizen indicted in the U.S. for exporting cocaine to the United States, so that Philippine law enforcement authorities could pursue their own investigation. PDEA has subsequently opened a criminal case against the individual.

Cultivation/Production. PDEA claimed that 152 marijuana plantation sites spread throughout mountainous areas in nine regions of the Philippines were eradicated in 2009. The eradication process is always carried out manually, rather than by aerial application of chemicals. Government agencies claim to have successfully uprooted 6.8 million plants and seedlings valued at 924 million pesos ($20 million) in 2009, compared with 4.8 million plants and seedlings in 2008.

Drug Flow/Transit. The Philippines remains a narcotics source and transshipment country. Illegal drugs and precursor chemicals enter and leave the country through seaports, economic zones, and airports. Overseas Filipino workers continued to be used in smuggling of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. The Philippines comprises more than 7,000 islands and 36,200 kilometers of coastline; vast stretches of the Philippine coast are sparsely inhabited and unpatrolled. Privately operated seaports with limited Customs and law enforcement controls and an underfunded Coast Guard allow traffickers to use cargo ships (which off-load to smaller craft), shipping containers, fishing boats, and “go-fast” boats to transport multi-hundred kilogram quantities of methamphetamine and precursor chemicals. AFP and law enforcement marine interdiction efforts are hindered by a lack of intelligence sharing and insufficient fuel for patrol vessels. Maritime smuggling is prevalent in the tri-border region with Malaysia and Indonesia, and in northern Luzon. Commercial air carriers and express mail services remain the primary means of shipment of illegal drugs to Guam, Hawaii, and to the mainland U.S., with a typical shipment size of one to four kilograms.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. As part of its demand reduction strategy, DDB continues to create sector-specific programs and activities to reach youth through an effective counternarcotics campaign. The PNP-AIDSOTF also continued the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, which promotes drug awareness nationwide and reached 17,000 students, 8,000 workers, and 47,000 village residents during 2009. PNP reported that community awareness of the drug problem resulted in information tips passed to PNP by local citizens.

In 2009 the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) began random drug testing of students and faculty members from approximately 1,726 higher education institutions nationwide. At the same time, the Department of Health and the Department of Education jointly conducted random drug testing on 87,000 students from 8,750 high schools and 2,000 colleges. The results of such drug testing cannot be used in criminal proceedings, or be grounds for disciplinary action or expulsion.

The Philippines has 57 residential and 4 nonresidential rehabilitation facilities. In 2009, there were 1,384 new admittances and 345 re-admittances to drug rehabilitation centers. There are 332 out-patients.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

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

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

Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. assists Philippine counternarcotics efforts with training, intelligence gathering, and infrastructure development. In 2005, DEA and the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force-West (JIATF-W) began to develop a network of drug information fusion centers in the Philippines. The primary facility, the Interagency Counter Narcotics Operations Network (ICON) is located at PDEA Headquarters in Quezon City. There are three ICON outstations located at the headquarters of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, Zamboanga del Sur (southwestern Mindanao); Coast Guard Station, General Santos City (south-central Mindanao); and at Poro Point, San Fernando, La Union (northwestern Luzon). The ICON facility at PDEA Headquarters is used to produce intelligence products and conduct intelligence training for PDEA agents. The outstations are also currently used as training sites. As PDEA development leads to manpower increases and improved coordination with other law enforcement agencies, the concept of interagency drug intelligence coordination may be realized.

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

 

Poland

I. Summary

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

II. Status of Country

In 2009, the Law on Combating Drug Addition was revised to include new types of recreational drugs. Compared to 2007, public expenditures on counternarcotics programs increased in 2008. Polish law enforcement agencies have succeeded in breaking up organized crime syndicates involved in drug trafficking, yet trafficking activities continue to become more sophisticated and global in nature. According to statistics provided by the Polish National Police (PNP), the number of drug-related crimes has not changed significantly as a result of Poland’s accession to the European Union’s Schengen zone. However, there have been improvements in information sharing via the EU’s Schengen Information System. Police officials acknowledge that statistics probably do not reflect the full scale of narcotics transiting through Poland. Cooperation between USG officials and Polish law enforcement has been excellent and Poland’s EU accession in 2004 made the GoP more earnest about enforcing narcotics policy.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Budget: The 2008 expenditures on the National Program for Counteracting Drug Addiction totaled approximately 149 million PLN ($50 million), compared with 136.5 million PLN (approx. $58 million) in 2007 This figure includes expenditures of the National Bureau for Drug Prevention, National AIDS Center, the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Border Guards, the National Health Fund, provincial and municipal Governments, various training programs, and many other associated expenses. This figure excludes Police Headquarters and Central Management Board of Prison Service expenses. Some of the apparent increase in dollar terms can be ascribed to exchange rate fluctuations.

Legislation. On March 20, 2009 a revision of the Law on Combating Drug Addiction was adopted to include new types of recreational drugs (such as Benzylpiperazine, or BZP) to the list of prohibited substances. The Ministry of Health is currently implementing the fourth National Plan on HIV and AIDS for the years 2007-2011. The first National Plan was developed in 1995. In 2008, the Justice Ministry established a special inter-ministerial group to revise the 2005 Law on Combating Drug Addiction and to encourage alternative forms of punishment to incarceration for drug addicts or simple possession offenders. The Justice Ministry completed a resulting draft bill in July 2009, which is currently under inter-ministerial review. Although under current law, drug users can be required to attend specialized therapy and have their cases suspended or dropped if therapy succeeds, this option is rarely utilized. Polish law permits the use of informants, telephone taps, and controlled deliveries to fight international crime, and a witness protection program is in place. The maximum sentence for narcotics trafficking is 15 years. All forms of possession are punishable.

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

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBS), Poland’s December 2007 accession to the EU’s Schengen zone has not led to a significant change in the number of drug-related crimes committed in Poland. While tighter border controls along the eastern border make it more difficult to traffic drugs from Eastern European countries such as Ukraine and Russia, it is easier to export narcotics to Western European countries. Anecdotal information indicates that Poland’s role as a transit nation has remained constant or might even be on the rise. The PNP reports that it now has better access to information from the Schengen Information System. Poland works with Interpol and EUROPOL to combat the transnational narcotics trade. Poland also cooperates with several neighboring countries on counternarcotics programs, including Project Eagle, a Polish-Swedish project against trafficking of amphetamines. One sign of the success of local law enforcement in uncovering amphetamine labs is the relocation of labs from Warsaw to more remote, rural areas. Between January and September 2009, the CBS closed down 8 amphetamine labs, compared with 16 in 2008.

In 2008, 25,971 suspects were identified as being involved in drug-related crimes, including 2,923 underage suspects, and over 57,382 drug-related crimes were registered. In February 2009, the Warsaw based office of Drug Enforcement Administration completed a long-term investigation into a South America-based international cocaine trafficking organization. The investigation was conducted together with numerous domestic and foreign DEA offices and several host national counterparts, including the Polish Internal Security Agency (ABW). The investigation culminated with the seizure of approximately 1.2 tons of cocaine and the arrest of several high ranking members of South American and European drug trafficking organizations. In July 2009, CBS arrested in Warsaw five members of an organized criminal group responsible for bringing to Poland more than 8 kilograms of cocaine from Brazil. The net worth of the narcotics was 3 million PLN (about $1 million). In May 2009, CBS dismantled a nine-person organized group responsible for trafficking cocaine from South America to Poland, seizing 11 kilograms cocaine with a street value of 4 million PLN (about $1.3 million). In April 2009, CBS arrested three members of a criminal gang on charges of distributing 6 kilograms of cocaine from South Africa. In February 2009, as part of a two-year police investigation, CBS arrested 10 members of a narcotics gang in Poznan, Warsaw and Opole responsible for trafficking drugs to Sweden and Ireland. To date, a total of 45 people have been arrested. In September 2008, four tons of hashish worth 120 million PLN (approx. $51 Million) was seized in Germany, as the result of cooperation between the Polish Central Bureau of Investigation (CBS) and German and Dutch Police. On the basis of recent seizures, the Polish CBS assesses that it has managed to reduce the flow of narcotics from Pakistan to Western Europe.

Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Government of Poland does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

Agreements and Treaties. Poland has fulfilled requirements to harmonize its laws with the EU’s Drug Policy and closely cooperates with the EU Monitoring Center in Lisbon on Drugs. Poland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Poland is a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Poland is also a member of the Dublin Group. An extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty are in force between the U.S. and Poland. All 27 EU member states, including Poland, 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 Poland, and they will enter into force on February 1, 2010.

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

Drug Flow/Transit. A significant percentage of Polish-produced amphetamines are exported to Scandinavia. Precursors for amphetamines are not locally available and must be imported from other countries. The profitability of Poland’s small amphetamine labs remains low. Shipments of heroin, hashish, cocaine, and Ecstasy frequently transit the country, destined for Western Europe. Ecstasy prices in Poland in 2009 ranged from 12 to 20 PLN ($4 to $7) per pill, compared with 15 to 40 PLN (or $6.50 to $17) in 2008. Ecstasy can be bought wholesale for 6-8 PLN ($2 to $3). Opium originating from Afghanistan and Pakistan is also frequently shipped through Poland to Western Europe.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The NBDA has a comprehensive plan for reducing drug addiction and programs to discourage new users. The GoP estimates there are between 100,000 and 120,000 drug users in Poland. In 2008, 85 drug-free residential facilities (not including psychiatric hospitals) were in operation, including 33 facilities that accepted underage drug addicts. The facilities accommodated up to 2,900 patients. In 2007 (the last year for which statistics are available) 15,125 patients were treated in residential facilities, compared with 13,198 in 2006. Apart from residential facilities, there were 295 outpatient clinics that provided treatment to drug addicts, experimental users, and their family members. There were also 30 detoxification centers in operation. In 2009 there were 17 active substitution treatment programs offered in outpatient clinics and five programs in detention facilities; the total number of patients treated in those facilities was 1,583 (including 71 persons in detention facilities). Notwithstanding the extensive treatment programs, a gap exists between prison substitution programs and general programs which can lead to addict relapse. In 2008, the National Bureau for Drug Prevention co-financed the implementation of prevention programs for at-risk children and adolescents, focusing on recreational drug use. Programs like Monar, which targets discotheques and clubs, and Parasol, which focuses on commercial sex workers, are two of the seven demand reduction programs. The National Bureau for Drug Prevention also launched a “Watch Your Drink” program to combat date rape drugs like GHB, Ketamine, and rohypnol.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. Bilateral cooperation between U.S. and Polish counternarcotics agencies remains strong, especially since the stationing of two DEA officers in Warsaw in 2005. One of the challenges to cooperation on a policy level remains the high turnover of senior- and managerial-level Polish police officials. Differences between the U.S. and Polish judicial systems continue to make cooperation and investigation of some leads problematic. Nonetheless, DEA and LEGAT assess that there is good cooperation at the working level. Cooperation has also been effective in cases where the USG has been able to supplement Polish resources and capabilities and to coordinate regional and intercontinental investigations. In 2009, the PNP cooperated with DEA in several narcotics investigations targeting criminal organizations that import controlled substances into and through Poland.

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

 

Portugal

I. Summary

Portugal once again saw a significant decline in cocaine seizures as shipments to Europe are increasingly being routed through African nations rather than northern Atlantic routes. As a result, seizures of cocaine decreased from 2.6 metric tons in the first six months of 2008 to 1.6 metric tons during the same period in 2009. Portugal also saw a drop in heroin and hashish seizures. Seizures of heroin decreased from 49 kilograms in 2008 to 39.2 kilograms in 2009. Hashish seizures decreased from 24.4 metric tons in the first half of 2008 to 16.7 metric tons in the first half of 2009. U.S.-Portugal cooperation on drugs has included joint investigations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and on-going cooperation facilitated by USG liaison officers at the Maritime Analysis Operations Center for Narcotics (MAOC-N) in Lisbon. To continue with this cooperation, DEA will be opening an office in Lisbon in 2010. Portugal is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

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

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

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

Law Enforcement Efforts. Portugal has seven separate law enforcement agencies that deal with narcotics: the Judicial Police (PJ), the Public Security Police (PSP), the Republican National Guard (GNR), Customs Directorate (DGAIEC), the Immigration Service (SEF), the Directorate General of Prison Services (DGSP), and the Maritime Police (PM). The PJ is a unit of the Ministry of Justice with overall responsibility for coordination of criminal investigations. The PM reports to the Ministry of Defense while the remaining entities are units of the Ministry of the Interior. According to a 2009 semi-annual report prepared by the PJ, Portuguese law enforcement forces arrested 2,748 individuals for drug-related offenses in the first six months of 2009 as “traffickers/consumers.” Of those arrested, 2,284 were Portuguese citizens; the foreign nationals arrested included citizens from Cape Verde (173), Guinea Bissau (71), Spain (38), Angola (35), and Brazil (32). The report indicates a decrease in the cocaine, hashish, and heroin seized in the first half of 2009 compared to the first half of 2008. Cocaine seizures fell from 2.6 metric tons to 1.6 metric tons in the first half of 2009. Also over the first six months of 2009, compared to the same timeframe in 2008, hashish seizures fell from 24.4 metric tons to 16.7 metric tons. Heroin seized decreased from 49 kilograms to 39.2 kilograms in the first half of 2009. Ecstasy seizures in 2009 totaled 31.3 grams; 143 grams of amphetamine were seized. Additionally, PJ’s first semester report on 2009 activities noted the seizure of over 1 million Euros in cash, plus the equivalent of over 8,000 Euros in foreign currency. The PJ also seized 15 vehicles, 16 boats, 80 weapons, and 1,516 cell phones.

On October 25, 2009, GNR seized 550 kilograms of cocaine on a yacht at Horta, located on the island of Faial in the Azores. The seizure was the largest ever of cocaine in the Azores.

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

Agreements and Treaties. Portugal is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Portugal is party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. In September 2007 Portugal ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. A Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) has been in force between Portugal and the U.S. since 1994. Portugal and the U.S. have been parties to an extradition treaty since 1908. 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.

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

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Responsibility for coordinating Portugal’s drug programs is with the Ministry of Health. The Government also established the Institute for Drugs and Drug Addiction (IDT) by merging the Portuguese Institute for Drugs and Drug Addiction (IPDT) with the Portuguese Service for the Treatment of Drug Addiction (SPTT). The IDT gathers statistics, disseminates information on narcotics issues, and manages government treatment programs for narcotic addictions. It also sponsors several programs aimed at drug prevention and treatment, the most important of which is the Municipal Plan for Primary Prevention. Its objective is to create, with community input, locality-specific prevention programs in 36 municipal districts. IDT runs a hotline and manages several public awareness campaigns. Regional commissions are charged with reducing demand for drugs, collecting fines, and arranging treatment for drug abusers. A national needle exchange program was credited with significantly reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, although HIV infections resulting from injections are still a major concern in the Portuguese prison system. In November 2006, Lisbon city officials approved plans for legalized assisted narcotics consumption centers or “shoot houses” to open in late 2007, but the heated internal debate has stalled plans to open them.

Portugal is implementing its National Drugs Strategy: 2005-2012, with an intermediary impact assessment that took place in 2008. Portugal’s strategy builds on the EU’s Drugs Strategy 2000-2004 and Action Plan on Drugs 2000-2004, focusing on reducing drug use, drug dependence and drug-related health, and social risks. This new strategic cycle created an innovative integrated drug demand reduction program, incorporating prevention, “harm reduction”, treatment, and rehabilitation. The 2008 strategic Action Plan strategy included prevention programs in schools and within families, early intervention, treatment, “harm reduction”, rehabilitation, and social reintegration measures. The internal evaluation for the 2008 Action Plan culminated with a report presented to the Ministry of Health in May 2009. This internal evaluation was run by a specialized subcommittee of the Interministerial Technical Committee, heading the work of nine other specialized subcommittees in all areas of the Action Plan. Together, the ten specialized subcommittees gathered 36 institutions from the Central Public Administration, the National Council on Drugs, the Portuguese Economical and Social Council, Civil Districts and Local Administration, for a total of 88 representatives. These subcommittees also created the new Action Plan for 2009-2012.

Representatives from producers, marketers, and distributors, as well as Central Public Administration, collaborated on a proposal for a National Plan to Reduce Problems Linked to Alcohol Abuse.

Both proposals for the Action Plan for 2009-2012 and the National Plan to Reduce Problems Linked to Alcohol Abuse are waiting Ministry approval. Delay was due to the 2009 electoral cycle and change of Government.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

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

In December 2008, DEA and PJ culminated a joint investigation with the seizure of 957 kilograms of cocaine, $745,200, three vehicles, and arrest of four members of the organization responsible for the cocaine shipment. This investigation was conducted with the additional cooperation of DEA San Juan, DEA Caracas, JIATF-South, and the Spanish National Police. The organization targeted in this investigation was responsible for multi-hundred kilogram quantities of cocaine being shipped into Portugal and distributed throughout Europe. The enforcement actions included the execution of an International Controlled Delivery that was possible due to the considerable coordination between the investigating agencies. This investigation is one example of the good working relationship that exists between DEA and Portuguese authorities.

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

To address changing drug trafficking patterns, DEA plans to open a DEA Country Office in Lisbon in mid-2010. This office will consist of one Country Attaché, one Special Agent, and one Administrative Support Specialist, with plans to add an Intelligence Research Specialist in the near future. This office will be able to conduct joint investigations with Portuguese authorities targeting large drug trafficking organizations that utilize Portugal as a point of entry for their European shipments.

As of October 2009, the Joint Inter Agency Task Force South (JIATF-S) has a permanent observer and liaison officer in the MAOC-N.

 

Romania

I. Summary

Romania is not a major source of illicit narcotics. However, Romania continues as a major transit country for narcotics and lies along the well-established Northern Balkan Route for opium, morphine base, and heroin moving from Afghanistan to Central and Western Europe. Synthetic drugs and precursor chemicals move eastward along this route towards Turkey and the Middle East (synthetic drugs like Captagon) and beyond back to Afghanistan (precursors), where the refining of opium into heroin and base increasingly occurs. Romania’s counternarcotics agencies were re-organized in early 2009, resulting in the elimination of the national counternarcotics agency. Additionally, the global economic crisis made its mark on all Romanian government agencies, and resources for all remaining counternarcotics units were more scarce than usual. Despite these challenges, Romanian authorities continue to work closely with U.S. and regional counterparts for successful and effective international seizure operations. Drug use remained relatively constant, with some increase noted in the use of un-controlled pharmaceuticals by Romanian youth. The illicit traffic in pre-cursor chemicals, for use in heroin and synthetic drug production in countries further East increased in Romania. Romania is a party to the1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Romania lies along the Northern Balkan Route, and therefore is a transit country for narcotics. Heroin and opium move from Southwest Asia to Central and Western Europe. Romania also sits astride a developing branch for the transit of synthetic drugs, such as MDMA (Ecstasy), from Western and Northern Europe to the East. Some MDMA, temporarily stored in Romania, may be bound for the USA and Canada. Romanian authorities estimate that eighty percent of the drugs that enter Romania are destined for Western Europe. It is believed that heroin, MDMA and other drugs are stored in large quantities in Romania awaiting further transshipment. Romania is increasingly becoming a storage location for large amounts of heroin, smuggled from Afghanistan through Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania via the Southern Balkan route, bound for Europe. A newly discovered branch of the Northern Route used by heroin drug trafficking organizations passes through Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine. A large amount of precursor chemicals transit Romania from Western European countries moving towards Turkey, and beyond to Afghanistan. While Romania is not a major source of production or cultivation of drugs, it may be a source of amphetamines. Use of Romania as a transshipment point for South American cocaine to Western Europe also appears to be increasing, as evidenced by a large seizure of cocaine from South America in early 2009. African-based hashish trafficking organizations may also be using Romania as a transshipment point.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Romania’s counternarcotics agencies suffered a setback with the re-organization of the Ministry of Interior in 2009. The General Directorate for Countering Organized Crime and Anti-Drug (DGCCOA) as well as the National Anti-Drug Agency were demoted into services rather than independent agencies, with the result that there is no longer a national drug agency in Romania. Also, the change resulted in position cuts for qualified and trained narcotics officers. Along with these changes, as of May 1, 2009, the Romanian Border Police were no longer involved in narcotics investigations and drug seizures except for those which occur at a border crossing. Despite these organizational changes and the resultant lack of continuity among the counternarcotics forces, Romania continues to play an active role on the Anti-Drug task force of the Bucharest-based Southeast European Cooperative Initiatives Regional Center for Combating Trans-Border Crime (SECI Center), as well as the Southeast European Prosecutors Advisory Group (SEEPAG).

Law Enforcement Efforts. Romanian National Police reported that during the first nine months of 2009 they have seized 59.5 kilograms of heroin, just 18 grams of opium, 1,283.5 kilograms cocaine, 13,761 MDMA pills, approximately 27.3 kilograms of cannabis and minimal amounts of other drugs such as amphetamines, “magic mushrooms”, and tablets. This is an increase of 310 percent over last years’ seizures.

During the period of 2008 through September 2009, 713 persons were indicted for drug-related crimes, such as drug and precursor trafficking, possession, and consumption. 5,506 cases were opened in this period; of these 4,061 cases were suspended or dropped. 1,622 people were taken to trial in this period, including 38 minors. Total number of drug-related cases in 2008 numbered 3,103 and only 2,403 through September 2009.

Romanian authorities had significant international successes against drug trafficking organizations in 2009. Large quantities of cocaine are being shipped from South America to the Port of Constanta, Romania for further distribution throughout East and West Europe. A 1,204 kilograms cocaine seizure made at the Port of Constanta in January 2009, was the largest cocaine seizure in Romanian history. An international, multi-agency follow-up investigation led to the seizure of an additional 3.8 tons of cocaine in Brazil, from the same drug organization that was involved with the drugs seized in Constanta.

Law enforcement cooperation was continuing to expand and become more sophisticated with the assistance of foreign training programs such as those offered by the SECI Center. However, the global economic crisis had a significant negative impact on narcotics units already strained for resources. Romanian police had to stretch their resources and operations and occasionally suffered setbacks due to the lack of resources. Some officers were even forced to supplement their official budgets with their own personal money. Romanian police forces were able to secure some technical equipment, but lacked force protection equipment. Threats of pay cuts, and forced unpaid leave due to the economic crisis were having an impact on morale government-wide. Romanian authorities were concerned that their resources were out of line with their increasing responsibilities as an EU frontier country.

Corruption. Corruption remains a serious problem within the Romanian government, including within the judiciary and law enforcement branches. Convictions for many crimes, including drug-related crimes, were difficult to obtain, and as many as fifty percent of those convicted do not serve their full sentences. As a matter of government policy, however, Romania does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There is no evidence that senior Romanian officials engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of dangerous drugs or substances, or launder proceeds from illegal transactions.

Agreements and Treaties. Romania is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. A new extradition treaty between the U.S. and Romania entered into force on May 8, 2009 replacing the 1925 treaty. The new treaty requires Romania to extradite its nationals to the U.S. The new agreement is in compliance with agreements previously signed between the EU and the United States as well as with a 2002 decision of the EU Council concerning arrest warrants and transfer procedures. The U.S.-Romanian Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters has been in force since 2001. The U.S. and Romania have a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement in force. Both governments have also ratified and exchanged instruments regarding a Protocol to the MLAT. These instruments form the basis for a modern law enforcement regime and implement obligations under the U.S.-EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements. Romanian legislation on precursor substances is consistent with that of the European Union. Romania is party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the UN Convention Against Corruption.

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

Drug Flow/Transit. Illicit narcotics from Afghanistan enter Romania along the northern Balkan Route: by land from Ukraine, Moldova and Bulgaria, and by sea through the Black Sea Port of Constanta. Once in Romania, the drugs move through to Hungary or Serbia for onward distribution in Western Europe, notably Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The Balkan Route also runs transshipment of drugs and precursor chemicals eastward towards Turkey, the Middle East, and back to Afghanistan. Cocaine is moved primarily by sea, with some use of land and air routes.

Domestic Programs. Despite predictions to the contrary due to the economic crisis, illicit drug user rates remained relatively stable. On the other hand, the government was unable to devote any increased resources to prevention programs. Romanian authorities assessed that urban Romanian youth, mostly males aged 14-25, primarily used cannabis and injected heroin. Methamphetamine use has not yet taken hold in Romania. Authorities were concerned about a rise in use of un-controlled pharmaceuticals and household products as inhalants by youth as a cheap and easy replacement for illegal drugs.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009 Romania, and the region, continued to benefit from U.S. financial assistance to the SECI Center for Combating Trans-border Crime. The U.S. paid 1.2 million dollars, two years of annual dues and other assistance in 2007, to cover the period 2007-2008. An additional 1.3 million dollars was given in 2009. In addition to financial support, the U.S., which is a permanent observer country at the SECI Center, provides expertise and personnel to support the SECI Center’s law enforcement efforts. A Supervisory Special Agent, and a Supervisory Intelligence Research Specialist from the DEA are posted at the SECI Center, as well as a U.S. Department of Justice Resident Legal Advisor and a Supervisory Special Agent (retired) FBI liaison. The DEA personnel assigned to SECI augment the DEA Athens, Greece Country Office, which has Romania within its area of responsibility. DEA personnel from the Athens, Greece Country Office and SECI assist in coordinating narcotics information sharing, maintain liaison with participating law enforcement agencies, and coordinate with Romanian narcotics police on case-related issues. The resident legal advisor provides advice and technical assistance on various aspects of the SECI Center’s mandate, including enhancing cooperation to combat drug trafficking. Training of a number of senior Level Law Enforcement officers in 2009 was supported by DoD through the U.S. European Command.

The Road Ahead. The DEA increased their presence in Romania during 2009, with the permanent addition of the Supervisory Intelligence Analyst position at the SECI Center. Bilateral and multilateral cooperation and partnership continue to grow and result in joint successes in international drug trafficking investigations. The United States stands ready to assist Romania and the region in meeting the continuing challenge of drug trafficking. There are significant concerns however, that the recent restructuring of Romania’s counternarcotics agencies and the economic crisis will continue to have a negative impact on the ability of the Romanian police to fight narcotics trafficking.

 

Russia

I. Summary

Russia is a major transit and destination country for heroin from Afghanistan. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports (October 2009) that Russia has become the largest single market for Afghan-origin heroin, consuming approximately 75,000-80,000 kilograms per year (about 11 percent of the annual production of Afghan opium). The Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) estimates (March 2008) that 5.1 million Russians (3.6 percent of its population) take drugs on a regular basis. Russian officials estimate that 30,000-40,000 people die annually of drug overdoses and another 70,000 deaths are considered drug-related. Health experts estimate that nearly 65 percent of newly detected HIV cases can be attributed to injecting drug use and that among HIV-positive injecting drug users, about 85-90 percent are Hepatitis C positive.

Four federal agencies in Russia conduct investigations of drug trafficking: FSKN, the Ministry of the Interior (MVD), the Federal Security Bureau (FSB) and the Customs Service. According to the UNODC, Russian law enforcement agencies seize approximately 4 percent of the heroin reaching its territory. However, information on seizures by FSKN and MVD in 2009 was not available for this year’s report. The Customs Service reported seizures in 2009 of 498.5 kilograms of heroin.

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

II. Status of Country

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

III. Country Actions Against Drugs In 2009

Policy Initiatives. The FSKN, originally established in 2003 as the State Committee for the Control of Traffic in Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances (GKPN), was restructured in 2004 to become the Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN). The FSKN has an authorized staffing level of 40,000 employees, with branch offices in every region of Russia.

The FSKN has continued its efforts to implement effective monitoring of the chemical industry. Russia is a producer of several precursor chemicals including the amphetamine precursor benzyl methyl ketone (aka Phenyl-2-Propanone or P2P and the chemical Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), a dangerous “Date-Rape” drug itself, and a precursor in the production of Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), also used as a “date rape” drug. In Russia, the production and distribution of GBL is licensed, and controlled for its licit uses. Prior to the creation of FSKN, precursor chemicals and pharmaceuticals were governed by a patchwork of regulations enforced by different agencies. Production, transportation, distribution, and import/export of controlled substances now require licensing from FSKN. The last Acetic Anhydride (AA) producing factory in Russia (located in Dzerhinsk) closed in 2009, so this precursor for heroin is no longer available from Russian domestic sources.

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

The FSKN has been given authority to station drug liaison officers in foreign states to facilitate information sharing and joint investigations. The FSKN also has recently posted a drug liaison at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., to focus on cooperation with the United States, including assistance in combating the trafficking of heroin and “White China” from Afghanistan into Russia. The FSKN has said that its drug liaison officer in Kazakhstan will work with the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC), which has been established by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and is based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. CARICC serves as a regional focal point for communication, analysis and exchange of operational information in “real time” on cross–border crime, as well as a center for the organization and coordination of joint operations. In addition to Russia, which joined in 2009, CARICC includes Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. CARICC became fully operational in early 2009, and held their official inauguration at their new building on December 9, 2009.

As part of the NATO-Russia Council’s counternarcotics project, Russian trainers conducted training courses Central Asian counterparts at the Domodedovo training centre of the Ministry of the Interior in Moscow during 2009. These training courses assist Central Asian police entities in combating major heroin trafficking organizations.

Law Enforcement Efforts. FSKN officials have stated that they see synthetic drugs as the threat of the future as new users opt for drugs that they perceive to be safer and more stylish than heroin. According to reports, nearly 90 percent of synthetic drugs are imported into Russia from China, but there is some domestic production as well. Drug users may purchase ephedrine or medications that contain ephedrine, add water and potassium permanganate, and heat the mixture to create a solution whose active ingredient is methcathinone. The solution is then administered intravenously. Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are also used to produce amphetamine. Authorities frequently report large seizures of pseudoephedrine in Russia’s far eastern regions, but methamphetamine is rare. It appears that most pseudoephedrine seized in Russia is intended to produce other forms of amphetamine or methcathinone.

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

The St. Petersburg police shut down an illegal drug lab in 2008. According to reports, an organized group of individuals were planning on producing 30 kilograms of methadone for inmates of the 3rd and 4th penitentiaries in Fornosovo (Leningrad Region). Four homes were searched, four people arrested, and an unknown quantity of drugs and chemicals were seized, along with forged identification papers and weapons. No laboratories were reported as being shut down for CY 2009.

Since the end of 2005, tri-methylfentanyl has spread through the western regions of the country. Soviet authorities first encountered 3-methylfentanyl in 1990 but seizures were rare until the end of 2005. According to MVD chemists, they encounter tri-methylfentanyl in two forms. First, it is used to spike highly diluted heroin to improve its narcotic effect. Second, tri-methylfentanyl is added to lactose or other inert substances to produce a mixture with the potency of a similar weight of heroin. The FSKN believes that tri-methylfentanyl is most often smuggled into the country from Belarus or Ukraine, but they admit that it may be synthesized in Russia as well. The FSKN also reports encountering tri-methylfentanyl mixed with methadone. The FSKN reports that a majority of tri-methylfentanyl seizures occur in small amounts (300-600 grams) in the northwest and western parts of Russia. There is no information found in 2009 which would indicate this is a growing problem.

Cocaine abuse is not widespread, but is increasing. Disposable incomes in Russia have risen steadily over the past few years, while cocaine prices have remained static, making the drug more affordable to a growing number of potential users. Cocaine is fairly easy to obtain in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Cocaine is frequently brought into Russia through the ports of St. Petersburg, and to a lesser extent Novorossiysk. Sailors aboard fruit carriers and other vessels operating between Russia and Latin America (especially Ecuador) provide a convenient pool of potential couriers. From January through November 2009, the Russian FTS made seizures of cocaine totaling 100 kilograms from cargo ships, only .005 kilogram exiting the country at the border, and 1.1 kilograms entering the country across a land border. The majority of ships in which cocaine is discovered have sailed from Ecuador.

In an example of effective international law enforcement cooperation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Russian law enforcement agencies conducted operations which resulted in several seizures, totaling more than 30 kilograms of cocaine in 2008. These seizures involved Latvian, Ukrainian and Russian crewmembers aboard banana vessels smuggling multi-kilogram cocaine shipments from South America to the Russian port of St. Petersburg. For 2009, similar operations produced 96.2 kilograms of cocaine from maritime vessels. In addition in March 2009 the DEA office in Moscow requested the FSKN provide their latest information on the drug situation in the Russian Far East. Several factors noted by the DEA showed indications that drug smuggling activity in Russia’s Far East would probably increase. On December 9, 2009, Victor Ivanov, FSKN Director, held a press conference in Svobodnyy (Amur Region) of Russia to announce that the Far East is facing an expansion of Afghan heroin and synthetic drugs from China and Europe. Director Ivanov stated that “...an analysis of the drug situation in the Far East shows considerable growth in the number of drug addicts...the number of opium addicts grew fivefold and the synthetic drug addicts nine fold.”

Another less common smuggling method involves couriers traveling on commercial flights bringing cocaine into Russia, often through third countries in Europe, as well as the U.S. In 2009, Russian Customs detained two subjects at a Moscow airport after they deplaned from the Dominican Republic. One had swallowed 101 capsules of cocaine, and the second swallowed 102 capsules of cocaine. Total weight was approximately 1.7 kilograms. In December 2009, the Russian Federal Security Service met with the DEA Moscow office and related that a group of Russian nationals now living in the Dominican Republic were arranging the smuggling of cocaine out of Ecuador to the D.R., then by plane directly to Moscow. The DEA and the FSB are renewing their focus in disrupting this narcotics smuggling route.

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

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

In June 2009, the Duma passed a law, the development of which was supported by a U.S. technical assistance program, on cooperating witnesses. Russian organized crime investigations, including those of drug trafficking rings, have typically fizzled out at the lowest level due to the inability to develop accomplice testimony, a problem the new law is meant to address.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the GOR does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No GOR senior officials were known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

Several criminal cases against drug law enforcement were made public in 2008 for drug corruption-related offenses, including the arrest for drug smuggling in St. Petersburg of a senior police officer. He and two other officers from St. Petersburg were convicted of “abuse of official powers” in 2009 and sentenced to 3 years and 6 months, 9 years, and 9 years, respectively. They were acquitted of organized crime charges. In September 2009, the Prosecutor’s Office of St.Petersburg appealed to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation for a re-trial of the case insisting on the convicts’ involvement in organized crime.

The Deputy Head of the Leninskiy District (Vladivostok) Directorate of Internal Affairs was arrested in 2008 for selling three kilograms of heroin. In he was sentenced for “preparation for an especially grave crime—illegal distribution of narcotic substances committed by a group of persons in a preliminary conspiracy” to imprisonment for a term of 8 years and 3 months. Two other two co-conspirators, also police officers from the same department, were sentenced to 8 years and 3 months and 9 years, respectively.

The Investigative Committee of the General Procuracy stated in November 2008 that its investigation of the general in charge of the FSKN’s Department of Operative Support has been completed and that he would stand trial for abuse of power, accepting and paying bribes, illegal wiretapping and money laundering. In October 2009, the defense claimed that the Prosecutor General’s Office had returned the case to the Investigative Committee “for the removal of identified shortcomings.” Neither the Prosecutor General nor the Investigative Committee has commented on this claim.

A number of serious crimes involving drug law enforcement personnel were reported in the media during 2009:

  • A senior investigator of the FSKN Moscow office was sentenced to imprisonment for two years for soliciting a bribe from a person under criminal investigation.
     
  • A criminal case was initiated against a senior operative of the FSKN Irkutsk Region on a charge of swindling on an especially large scale for allegedly taking a bribe to release a detainee from custody.
     
  • An operative of the FSKN St. Petersburg office received a suspended sentence of two years for involvement in drug trafficking and possession of narcotics and psychotropic substances.
     
  • An operative of the FSKN St. Petersburg office was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of five years for extorting money from the relatives of a person under investigation and for coercion to drug trafficking.
     
  • A senior operative of the FSKN Krasnodar Territory office was sentenced to imprisonment for four years for threatening to fabricate a criminal prosecution against a person and for taking a bribe to drop the charges.
     
  • A criminal case was initiated against an officer of the FSKN St.Petersburg office for drug trafficking and possession of over two kilograms of marijuana.
     
  • A criminal case was initiated against a senior investigator of the FSKN Investigative Department on charges of fabricating a criminal prosecution of a business person and taking a bribe not to initiate criminal prosecution against that person.
     
  • An investigator of FSKN Amur Region office was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of seven years and six months for taking a bribe to withdraw an attachment with regard to a suspect’s property.
     
  • An officer of FSKN Chelyabinsk Region office was sentenced to imprisonment for four years and six months for appropriation of material evidence in a number of criminal cases that he investigated.
     
  • A criminal case was initiated against five officers of FSKN Moscow Western District office charged with robbery and exceeding official powers.
     
  • A criminal case was initiated against two operatives of FSKN office for Primorskiy who have been charged with exceeding their official authority and drug trafficking.
     
  • An investigator for especially important cases of the FSKN Moscow office was charged with swindling—taking a bribe from a suspect on a promise to re-qualify a criminal case in order to mitigate punishment.

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

The GOR has signed over 30 bilateral agreements on counternarcotics cooperation including a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to enhance bilateral cooperation to combat illegal drugs and their precursor chemicals.

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

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

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

Drug Flow/Transit. Opiates (and hashish to a lesser degree) from Afghanistan are smuggled into Russia through the Central Asian states along the “Northern Route.” The UNODC estimates (October 2009) that 30 percent of Afghanistan’s exported heroin is moved along this Northern Route, a total of 75-80 metric tons being consumed in Russia itself. Contraband is typically carried in vehicles along the region’s highway system that connects populated areas of southwestern Russia and western Siberia. Smuggling vehicles often utilize cover loads such as onions, cabbage, watermelons and honey. Couriers sometimes use the region’s passenger trains and incidents involving internal body carriers or “swallowers” are also common.

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

To disrupt this trafficking, each year since 2003, law enforcement agencies of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization-CSTO (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan) have participated in “Operation Canal.” However, seizure statistics from this operation include narcotics and weapons seized in parts of the world not applicable to the identification of smuggling trends in Russia and the Central Asian countries. NOTE: Operation CANAL expanded its contributing members to include representation from countries such as Venezuela, Columbia S.A., Italy, Spain, Germany, China, et al. All statistics from these countries are included in the total statistics for each phase. Unfortunately, individual country reports are not available; therefore total seizure amounts (and predictive trends for Central Asia) are skewed by inclusion of activity from non-Central Asian countries.

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

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

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Russian authorities are attempting to implement a comprehensive counternarcotics strategy that combines prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. A federal program, was launched in September 2005, aimed at reducing by 2010, the scale of drug abuse in Russia by 16-20 percent compared to the 2004 level, a reduction of the drug user population by 950-1,200 persons. Authorities report that this effort is on track to achieve this objective, with an estimated 5.1 million abusers in 2008 versus an estimated 5.9 million in 2004-5.

With support from the USAID “Healthy Russia 2020” project and the U.S. Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), demand reduction messages are being incorporated into a Ministry of Education-sanctioned health education curriculum for high school students and training materials for teachers. Healthy Russia, for example, has established a peer-to-peer outreach program that targets youth approximately 15 to 18 years of age through vocational schools, youth clubs, NGO activities, summer camps and other special programs set up by regional governments to reach teenagers at greatest risk. The peer-to-peer program encourages youth to discuss the impact of substance abuse and introduces life skills to avoid drug use. In 2009, Healthy Russia’s program reached almost 15,000 youth with substance abuse and HIV prevention messages in Irkutsk and Sakhalin, and trained teachers to help institutionalize the program.

USAID partner Population Services International (PSI) reached over 10,000 youth under 18 years of age in two pilot sites in the Leningradsky and Orenburg regions with substance abuse prevention messages, constructive recreational activities, and individual and family therapy in 2008. Professionals from the drug control, substance abuse treatment and HIV/AIDS services participate in providing services for these youth at risk of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS.

A Human Rights Watch study (November 2007) concluded that the effectiveness of treatment offered at state drug treatment clinics in Russia “is so low as to be negligible” and constitutes a “violation of the right to health.” A few new models of cognitive therapy which expand the breadth of substance abuse programs and rehabilitation are being implemented in treatment centers in St. Petersburg and Orenburg, but substitution therapy (such as programs using methadone or buprenorphine) has not been fully explored, and remains illegal and politically sensitive. The U.S. National Institutes of Health has begun work with Russian research facilities in St. Petersburg to explore alternative drug treatment regimens, such as naltrexone which might be more acceptable to the GOR. This past year several study tours to the U.S. were arranged by USAID-partners such as Healthy Russia Foundation, the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC, formerly Transatlantic Partners Against AIDS) bringing medical and substance abuse clinicians together to observe drug rehabilitation programs. With non-U.S. funds, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) supported a study tour to China (where Medically Assisted Therapy is practiced) for health experts of the Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-being (Rospotrebnadzor), the Federal Drug Control Service and representatives of the Institute of Forensic and Social Psychology, all key participants in the debate on MAT.

USAID partners such as Healthy Russia Foundation and UNODC also provided technical assistance to help expand the spectrum of drug treatment services available (including out-patient services) and to integrate HIV prevention into substance abuse services. Additionally, in 2009, a number of high-level conferences and workshops were devoted to HIV/AIDS and substance abuse, particularly injecting drug use. USAID partner, GBC helped facilitate a Parliamentarian meeting in April 2009 on Harm Reduction, which resulted in the development of five working groups to further review the impact of such programs, costs and feasibility of such programs in Russia—the reports are due soon. Additionally, in October of 2009, UNAIDS assisted the Government of Russia in hosting the 3rd European Conference on HIV/AIDS, which provided an opportunity for the international community to express support for many aspects of HIV prevention and care programs, including methadone and other MAT programs in the region. While resistance to methadone continues at senior levels of the Ministry of Health and Social Development and the FSKN, information sharing at international conferences, such as those hosted in Russia, continue to play an important role in demonstrating how progress may be made in the future.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

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

Bilateral Accomplishments. In 2002, the U.S. through the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) negotiated a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the GOR calling for direct assistance to the GOR in the area of counternarcotics and law enforcement. Three projects under the terms of the 2002 LOA include the “Southern Border Project,” an effort that will eventually lead to the establishment of drug interdiction units along the Russian-Kazakh border in the Siberian cities of Orenburg, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Saratov and Kurgan; the “Northwest Customs Project,” which provides technical assistance to the Federal Customs Service in St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad; and the “Southern Seaports Project,” which includes technical assistance to the Federal Customs Service at the Caspian and Black Sea seaports of Astrakhan, Novorossisyk and Sochi. The U.S. is also providing technical assistance in support of institutional change in the areas of criminal justice reform, mutual legal assistance, anticorruption, and money laundering.

The USCG conducts annual combined operations with the Russian Federal Security Service (Federal’naya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti, FSB) Border Guards under the auspices of the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum (NPCGF). NPCGF member nations include Canada, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States. Counternarcotics is one of the five NPCGF working groups and is expected to receive additional attention in the years ahead. The Russian FSB will conduct a combined training operation during the summer of 2010 that will have a counternarcotics focus. The USCG and the Japan Coast Guard are expected to deploy air and surface assets in support of this combined exercise.

The Road Ahead. The GOR places high priority on counternarcotics efforts and has indicated a desire to deepen and strengthen its cooperation with the United States and other countries. The USG will continue to encourage and assist Russia to implement it’s comprehensive, long-term national strategy against drug trafficking and use with multidisciplinary sustainable assistance projects that combine equipment and technical assistance. Recent meetings in 2009 involving visits to Moscow by President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and several high-level officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration have provided a more specific focus on increasing the level of cooperation between the U.S. Government and the Russian Federal Narcotics Service (FSKN). In addition, in 2009, the Working Group on Drug Trafficking was established within the framework of the United States—Russian Federation Bilateral Presidential Commission created by the decision of the Presidents of Russia and the United States on July 6, 2009. The Drug Trafficking Working Group, which had its first meeting in September 2009, promotes cooperation between the relevant authorities of the two countries, and identifies effective methods to combat illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and their precursors.

 

Saudi Arabia

I. Summary

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

II. Status of Country

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has no significant drug production. Due to its conservative religious values and 1988 UN Drug Convention obligations, the SAG places a high priority on fighting narcotics abuse and trafficking. Narcotics-related crimes are punished harshly. Narcotics’ trafficking is a capital offense enforced against Saudis and foreigners alike. Approximately seven individuals were executed for narcotics related offenses in 2009 . The SAG maintains a network of overseas drug enforcement liaison offices and state-of-the-art detection and training programs to combat trafficking.

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

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

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

SAG efforts to treat drug abuse are aimed solely at Saudi nationals, while expatriate substance abusers are usually jailed and summarily deported. In addition, the cost of drug treatment facilities is often so high that many expatriate abusers, especially those in low-wage occupations, are unable to afford treatment. There are three facilities offering treatment: Al-Amal Mental Health and Narcotics Hospitals, in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam, and one Al-Amal health clinic in Qassim Province offering free detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare to Saudi nationals. Each hospital has 200 beds and the Qassim clinic has 50 beds for male inpatients (Update). Al-Amal Hospital in Riyadh has a 6-bed ward for female inpatients (Update). The hospitals in Jeddah and Dammam treat women as outpatients. The head of the Al-Amal Hospital in Jeddah stated that 100 women were treated for drug abuse within the last year, although the hospital lacks a female ward. Health officials describe a noticeable increase in drug-addicted inpatients and outpatients throughout the country in 2009. Hospitals officials say that 13 new mental health and addiction hospitals will be built throughout the country over the next few years.

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

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

III. Country Actions Against Drugs In 2009

Policy Initiatives. The lead agency in Saudi Arabia’s drug interdiction efforts is the General Directorate for Drug Control (GDDC), under the Ministry of Interior, which has 19 overseas offices in countries representing a trafficking threat. The SAG has drug liaison offices in the following countries: Nigeria, Lebanon, Thailand, UAE, Pakistan and Egypt and several not listed. In addition, the SAG continues to play a leading role in efforts to enhance counternarcotics intelligence sharing among the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Sources indicate that a series of judicial reforms passed in 2004 and implemented within the last several years has led to a dramatic increase in inter-state cooperation, with greater coordination between various Gulf and Arab countries for drug interdiction and pursuing traffickers. Saudi Arabia also has narcotics related bilateral agreements with Egypt, Pakistan, Libya, Iran, Jordan, Turkey, and Syria. Security agreements signed with France, Italy and Poland also include cooperation on drug trafficking issues. Negotiations with other countries, including Russia, are still on-going. As a matter of policy, the government also continues to block internet sites deemed to promote drug abuse.

The General Directorate for Combating Narcotics coordinates SAG efforts across Ministries. The women’s branch was established in 1988 and has approximately 40 female employees. The National Committee for Combating Drugs (NCCD) directs a 12-step rehabilitation program for Saudi addicts in each of the Kingdom’s 13 provinces. The program, which began 8 years ago, runs between 3 months to 2 years depending on the case. 1,250 former addicts have participated in the program, which includes performing the annual hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. According to Abdelilah al-Sharif, advisor to the Committee, only 20 of the 1,250 who performed the hajj have relapsed to addiction.

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

On April 16, 2009, Minister of Interior Prince Nayef called for a national research project to study drug abuse in Saudi Arabia, and to adopt effective methods to combat and treat addicts.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The year 2009 saw increased reporting on the efforts of Saudi Arabian border guard units, or Frontier Police. Counternarcotics units within the Frontier Police were reported to have played a significant role in drug-interdiction campaigns along the borders. In addition, Prince Nayef stated in April 2008 that in the course of the Kingdom’s counternarcotics campaigns, “more that 400 policemen had lost their lives.” Prince Nayef also noted the connection between drugs and terrorism, stating that most of the terror suspects held by police were under the influence of narcotics.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the SAG does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal transactions. There is no evidence of SAG officials’ involvement in the production, processing, or shipment of narcotic and psychotropic drugs and other controlled substances. Attempts to bribe prison officials for drug smuggling were reported this year, and anecdotal evidence suggests that drugs are widely used in Saudi prisons where certain guards are involved in selling and distribution.

Agreements and Treaties. Saudi Arabia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol. Saudi Arabia is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols. Saudi Arabia has signed, but not ratified, the UN Convention Against Corruption.

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

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

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

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

On October 31, the newspaper, ASharq Al-Awsat, reported that the Ministries of Education and Higher Education will launch a joint awareness campaign in cooperation with the General Directorate to protect students from drugs, and to create an awareness of the dangers posed to the youth.

The SAG announced in 2008 that approximately 3 percent of drug addicts in Saudi Arabia are female. Several media articles pointed out an increase in drug treatment of females. The Committee for the Care of Female Inmates and their Families announced in October it would develop a more thorough and larger scale treatment program directed at women.

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

Executions of convicted traffickers by well-publicized public beheadings are believed by SAG officials to deter narcotics trafficking and abuse. The country’s influential religious establishment actively preaches against the use of narcotics and SAG treatment facilities provide free services to Saudi addicts. Al-Hayat reported on July 6 2008 that 60 percent of Saudi prison inmates were charged with “drug use and trafficking,” and that Saudi courts investigate at least 20 cases of drug use and trafficking daily.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. SAG officials actively seek and participate in United States Government (USG)-sponsored training programs and are receptive to enhanced official contacts with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The SAG maintains a Drug Liaison Office in Cairo, Egypt as part of the Saudi Arabian Embassy. The Saudi General Directorate of Drug Control in Cairo, Egypt works closely with the DEA in Cairo sharing information on international drug trafficking organizations.

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

 

Serbia

I. Summary

The Republic of Serbia is a major transit country for narcotics and other drugs along the Balkan smuggling corridor from Turkey to Central and Western Europe. In 2009, Serbia took measures to improve its capacity to combat drug trafficking through new laws and law enforcement initiatives that tightened the regulations on narcotics, corruption, and organized crime, including legislation authorizing plea bargaining and the use of cooperating witnesses. Serbia’s updated drug laws are adequate; however improved communication and strategic coordination among law enforcement and judicial bodies can considerably enhance the comprehensive law enforcement landscape. A small amount of smuggled narcotics remains in Serbia for domestic consumption. As Yugoslavia’s successor state, the Republic of Serbia is party to the 1988UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Serbia is primarily a transit country for the movement of narcotics. The number of seizures in the first part of 2009 seemed headed for a slight decrease in comparison with 2008, possibly due to law enforcement adapting to shifting trends of increased cocaine trafficking. Serbia’s borders remain porous, but Serbia has increased border cooperation with many of its neighbors. Increased international law enforcement cooperation has led to some important arrests, but cooperation with Kosovo remains limited. Heroin is the most prevalent narcotic, transported from Central Asia along the Balkan Route. Marijuana is grown in, and transported from Albania. Serbian organized crime groups are increasingly smuggling cocaine from South America directly to Western Europe, although some comes to Serbia overland or through the postal system. The Serbian government estimates that relatively small amounts of narcotics, mostly heroin, remain in the country for domestic consumption.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Serbia’s Parliament passed amendments to the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code in August 2009 to enhance Serbian law enforcement’s efforts to combat narcotics smuggling, organized crime, and corruption, including the use of plea bargaining and increased use of cooperating witnesses and special investigative techniques such as wiretapping. Parliament is considering draft versions of a new Customs Law and a new Customs Service Law to replace the current Customs Law. The new laws, if adopted, would bring Serbia’s Customs Service into compliance with European Union standards, most importantly by giving the Customs Service law enforcement status and the ability to testify in court. The government also adopted a National Strategy for the Fight against Drugs in February 2009 and a National Action Plan to implement the Strategy in April 2009. The government created a minister-level coordinating body to fight organized crime in 2009 as well as established an Anti-Corruption Agency, which will investigate allegations of official corruption. The Agency will be operational in 2010.

Law Enforcement Efforts. A number of law enforcement agencies are responsible for combating drug-related crimes, including the Interior Ministry’s Drug Smuggling Suppression Department, Border Police, and Drug Addiction Suppression Department; and the Finance Ministry’s Customs Administration. While these agencies report generally good operational cooperation, there is no government-wide coordinating body that addresses counternarcotics trafficking law enforcement efforts. The Interior Ministry is currently going through a strategic planning process that could result in improved formal cooperation. The Commission for the Fight against Drugs, composed of the Ministries of Health, Education and Sport, Interior, Social Welfare, and Justice, meets to develop activities to implement the National Strategy for the Fight against Drugs, but there is no clear lead ministry.

Serbia’s cooperation with police in other countries has been intensifying. Serbia hosts law enforcement liaison officers from Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Australia. In March 2009, Serbia hosted a regional UN Office on Drugs and Crime conference on “Promoting the Rule of Law Human Security in South Eastern Europe,” and in September 2009 the Ministries of Justice and Interior hosted a regional organized crime conference. Serbia also continued to participate in Southeastern Europe Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Regional Center for Combating Trans-border Crime activities, such as a September 2009 organized crime conference. In May 2009, Serbia and Croatia signed an agreement on police cooperation.

The Interior Ministry conducts joint investigations with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Croatia and provides intelligence to other neighbors and Western European countries, which aids in seizures and arrests in those countries. Increasingly, Serbia is working with South American countries with U.S.assistance. In October 2009, Serbian law enforcement, working in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, contributed to the seizure of over 2 tons of cocaine in international waters near Uruguay. Serbian authorities arrested eight Serbian citizens in connection with the case, and they are in detention in Serbia awaiting trial.

Cooperation with the Republic of Kosovo remains an exception to this trend. The Serbian government does not recognize Kosovo as an independent country and therefore will not cooperate directly with representatives of Kosovo’s government, permit them to attend conferences that Serbia hosts, or participate in multilateral events with Kosovo representatives. The Interior Ministry signed an agreement with the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) in September to cooperate on law enforcement issues, and the Customs Service cooperates informally with EULEX, but both forms of interaction need to increase significantly.

Serbia’s Customs Administration Law Enforcement Directorate and all Interior Ministry agencies made a total of 3,634 seizures from January to September 2009. During this period, Serbia interdicted a total of 655.3 kilograms of drugs including 107.4 kilograms of heroin, 501.3 kilograms of marijuana, 9.9 kilograms of cocaine, 15.4 kilograms of hashish, 7.6 kilograms plus 202 tablets of Ecstasy, 91 tablets of LSD, 5.5 kilograms plus 204 tablets of amphetamines, and 8.2 kilograms plus 14,607 tablets of other illegal drugs. This is a decrease in quantity of drugs seized compared to the first part of 2008, but law enforcement officials note that total quantity of drugs seized is not indicative of success, since many seizures involve small quantities and other seizures yield unexpectedly high results. The Serbian Drug Smuggling Suppression Department believes an increase in seizures of cocaine and Ecstasy and a decrease in seizures of all other drugs is due to Serbian organized crime groups increasingly focusing on cocaine instead of heroin.

Serbian law enforcement agencies report that while most interdictions to date have been the result of good investigative work, the government is introducing equipment to aid in border inspections, such as the upcoming purchase of 10 mobile x-ray systems for the Customs Administration.

In October 2009, the government launched the nationwide “Operation Morava,” targeting drug dealers. The government reported during the initial phase of the operation on October 31 that police temporarily detained 500 individuals throughout Serbia, with 100 taken into custody. It is anticipated that approximately 80 will be charged with narcotics-related offenses. The Interior Ministry reported seizing $1.05 million in counterfeit U.S. dollars, currency, weapons, luxury vehicles, stolen vehicles, several kilograms of illegal drugs, and other items.

Under Article 246 of the Criminal Code, Production, Distribution, and Possession of Narcotics, in the first nine months of 2009, police arrested and charged 3,592 individuals. Under Article 247, Facilitating the Consumption of Narcotics, police arrested and charged 155 individuals. In the first 11 months of 2009, 2,836 individuals were indicted under both articles. In 2008, 4,178 individuals were tried under Article 246, and 3,870 were convicted. More than half of the sentences were probation, fines, or community service, and most prison sentences were three years or less. The majority of prosecutions (70 percent in 2008) were for possession, which carries more lenient sentences than for production or distribution (29 percent of cases in 2008).

Corruption. Corruption within Serbia’s law enforcement agencies responsible for counternarcotics remains a problem, in large part due to low pay. The Customs Administration reported that there was no organized crime influence but that there were continued instances of officers accepting small bribes from drug dealers or users. The Customs Administration reported that it investigated and referred for prosecution 10 percent more officials suspected of corruption in 2009 than in 2008. The Drug Smuggling Suppression Department reported reduced corruption and noted that there were no police investigated for narcotics-related corruption in the first nine months of 2009.

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

Agreements and Treaties. Serbia became the legal successor state to the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro on June 3, 2006. All international treaties and agreements continue in force, including the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its three protocols.. Serbia has cooperative agreements with Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina on issues relating to cross-border narcotics trafficking. Serbia signed a trilateral agreement with Romania and Bulgaria for counternarcotics cooperation in 2008. The 1902 Extradition Treaty between the United States and the Kingdom of Serbia remains in force between the United States and Serbia. In 2009, the Parliament passed a law on international cooperation in criminal matters that permits the extradition of Serbian nationals if a binding international treaty exists.

Drug Flow/Transit. Serbia sits directly on the Balkan narcotics trafficking route. The UNODC estimates that over 80 tons of heroin travels along this route each year. Serbia’s location and porous borders make it attractive for transit. There is no inspection of transit cargo entering on boats on the Danube and only inspection of container seals and documents for cargo destined for Serbia. Serbian officials report that large organized crime groups that currently smuggle heroin appear to be restructuring to smuggle cocaine.

Heroin grown and processed in Afghanistan is smuggled through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, and Kosovo into Serbia, and onward into Western Europe. Police reported an increase in the street price of heroin at the end of October, likely a reaction to recent large interdictions; it is too early to tell if this is a trend. An estimated 5 percent-10 percent of heroin stays in the country, but Serbia primarily serves as a transit point. Large amounts of marijuana flow from Albania through Montenegro and onward through Serbia to Western Europe. The Customs Administration reports greater flows of drugs from Montenegro and Kosovo this year. Some cocaine transits Serbia along the Balkan route. The Customs Administration reported a significant seizure of cocaine at a border crossing with Bulgaria, where it is more common to discover heroin; it is too early to tell if this represents a trend. The Drug Smuggling Suppression Department believes that Serbian organized crime groups are bypassing Serbia and smuggling cocaine directly from South America to Western Europe. Some of this cocaine comes overland to Serbia, and police have recently discovered that some is sent to Serbia through the postal system and commercial courier services. There is an increase in trafficking of synthetic drugs and precursors from Western Europe, either for the domestic market or transiting along a reverse Balkan Route to Turkey.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The government conducts an addiction prevention program in primary and secondary schools, “Drug Zero, Life One,” which includes lectures for students, parents, and teachers and referrals for families who seek help, but the program is currently only offered in Belgrade and individual schools choose whether to participate. The government is expanding the program from Belgrade to the cities of Nis and Novi Sad. The National Network for the Fight against Drugs, a network of counternarcotics NGOs, maintains a website with information about drug addiction and prevention.

According to the Public Health Service, there were 60,000 drug users in Serbia in 2008. According to a 2009 Public Health Service study, 15 percent of high school freshmen have tried narcotics. Serbia’s only dedicated government-run drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic treats about 1,100 patients per year. The clinic provides emergency services and inpatient and outpatient detoxification, using opiate receptor blockers or methadone; psychotherapy, and reintegration skills workshops are also used to treat patients. Public hospitals, including prison hospitals, run outpatient and inpatient drug rehabilitation programs, and the Health Ministry has a pilot project to provide methadone substitution in primary care clinics. The Serbian Orthodox Church also operates several drug rehabilitation centers. In May 2009, there were allegations of patient abuse at a center in Crna Reka in Serbia’s Sandzak region. The Church dismissed the head of the center, and the district prosecutor requested an investigation of the center’s two top officials on charges of abuse and torture.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The Serbian Government works closely with the United States, the OSCE, and EU countries to reform and improve its law enforcement, judicial capacity, and border management. The United States has provided extensive technical assistance and equipment donations to the police, customs services, border police, and judiciary. Several USG agencies have programs that directly or indirectly support counternarcotics activities in Serbia, including the Department of Justice programs (funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the Department of State ) : International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT), Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and Department of the Treasury. The OPDAT program has been instrumental in supporting the Special Court for Organized Crime and War Crimes. The programs are aimed at professionalizing the police and customs services, building skills for new prosecution and investigation techniques provided for in new legislation, improving the ability of Serbia to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate corruption and organized crime, including money laundering and illicit trafficking, and increasing the ability of the judiciary to effectively address serious crime.

In 2009, INL-funded DOJ ICITAP assisted in the formation of Serbia’s first undercover police unit by addressing personnel selection issues, training, and mentoring. The unit chief attended additional FBI undercover agent selection process training. In March, the Departments of State and Justice provided instruction in an OSCE undercover operations training course. An undercover officer successfully completed the unit’s first undercover purchase of illegal narcotics in April 2009, leading to charges against two drug traffickers. In November, ICITAP and OPDAT held an international narcotics trafficking course for police and prosecutors. During 2009, members of the Serbian Border Police attended U.S. Coast Guard training on small boat operations as well as courses on small boat engineering and maintenance.

The Road Ahead. The United States will continue to support the efforts of Serbian law enforcement to combat narcotics smuggling in the region. During the next year the United States would like to see Serbia increase its cooperation with Kosovo and EULEX. Serbia’s own goals for the future are: continue progress on judicial and law enforcement reform, strengthen interagency coordination, and fully define the structure and activities of the Commission for the Fight against Drugs. Serbian demand reduction personnel believe that increased public awareness campaigns could decrease domestic demand for drugs.

 

Sierra Leone

I. Summary

Sierra Leone has taken steps to combat illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and has mounted efforts against drug abuse. It has done this despite having limited enforcement capacity. Sierra Leone’s treatment and rehabilitation programs are also limited. Corruption and a lack of resources seriously impede interdiction efforts. The 2008 seizure of over 700 kilograms of cocaine culminated in a criminal court case that ended this year in fifteen convictions, but many believe that this demonstration of Sierra Leone’s willingness and capacity to pursue some traffickers has not been a deterrent to traffickers generally. Overall Sierra Leone made limited efforts to combat the drug flow in 2009, hampered by resource issues and limited operational sophistication. Sierra Leone-U.S. law enforcement coordination on the narcotics issue increased in 2009, culminating in expulsions of wanted narcotics traffickers into U.S. custody in April. This unprecedented level of cooperation has already set the tone for further collaboration and engagement in the future. Interagency coordination among Sierra Leone’s law enforcement entities is a challenge, but the Joint Drug Interdiction Task Force (JDITF) created in 2008 is now a well-functioning group that spans agencies and interests. Sierra Leone is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Despite all its difficulties, Sierra Leone’s effort against trafficking is still perhaps the most effective in West Africa.

II. Status of Country

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

Trafficking has also fueled increasing domestic drug consumption. Cannabis cultivation is on the rise in Sierra Leone. Law enforcement officials are concerned that narcotics rings are growing in size and influence. Major drug traffickers pay local accomplices in kind, and Freetown now has a “street price” of 40,000 Leones ($10) for a gram of cocaine. Diversion of precursor chemicals is not a problem.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The National Drug Control Act was passed in 2008 to bring Sierra Leone into conformity with international conventions and norms. The Act expands on the Pharmacy and Drugs Act (2001), which had major substantive drafting problems and inadequate punishment for narcotics abuse and trafficking. The 2008 Act established a National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to serve as the focal point on policy issues and investigations. The new law also defined stricter penalties for all charges, has mutual legal assistance provisions, and authorized a budget appropriation to support prevention and control activities. While the new Act was a positive step for Sierra Leone, harmonizing Sierra’s legislation with international standards, many authorities have noted that revisions are required to increase its effectiveness. The new law’s provisions covering offenses by legal “persons”, i.e., corporations and its provisions for complicit or insufficiently responsible commercial carriers have been identified as inadequate. In addition the sections on forfeiture and foreign assets are in need of improvement. The Act also fails to adequately address prevention measures and treatment options for addicted drug abusers. The law will likely be revised in 2010, following the conclusion of the appeals process for individuals convicted under the Act in 2009.

The new NDLEA created by the Act has a limited budget and staff. Sixty officers have been seconded from the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) to the NDLEA, but the force lacks equipment and support to effectively perform its duties. The Agency has offices in five locations outside of Freetown, but they are not yet operational. The Agency intends to increase its efforts in the area of demand reduction and public awareness.

Government of Sierra Leone representatives participate in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) conferences and Mano River Union meetings, striving for better sub-regional cooperation. Law enforcement agencies cooperate with their counterparts in neighboring countries on specific cases and identifying new trends in drug trafficking.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Sierra Leone law enforcement agencies cooperated to combat narcotics trafficking through the Joint Drug Interdiction Task Force, which was established in 2008. The Task Force includes representatives from the SLP, Office of National Security (ONS), NDLEA, Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, Immigration, Civil Aviation Authority, Anti-Corruption Commission, and the National Revenue Authority. The 2008 cocaine bust is counted as the Task Force’s main success to date, and a significant one. The Task Force performed with distinction during this high profile incident, and has continued to expand and increase in sophistication in 2009. Thanks to significant training efforts supported by international partners, the Task Force consists of 60 enforcement officers, including surveillance and forensic specialists. The Task Force is now a pro-active unit which generates and shares intelligence, conducts large-scale operations, and responds quickly to emergent threats. It will continue to be the primary government body responsible for narcotics-related crime enforcement until the new National Drug Law Enforcement Agency becomes fully operational.

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

The Government of Sierra Leone is working to improve the regularity and reliability of statistics maintained on arrest rates, prosecutions, and convictions. Data kept by the Sierra Leone Police (“SLP”) between January and October, 2008, recorded seventeen seizures of cannabis and cocaine, netting approximately 10,602 kilograms of the former, and 743.5 kilograms of the latter. Twenty-one people were charged with various offenses surrounding the 2008 case, and 17 faced narcotics charges in the High Court. Fifteen individuals were ultimately convicted, with sentences ranging from three to five years. There were no narcotics-related extraditions to or from the United States in 2009.

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

Corruption among law enforcement officials is also a problem in Sierra Leone due to the low levels of pay and general endemic poverty. Two SLP officers and one ONS officer were convicted for assisting traffickers in the July 2008 cocaine bust.

Agreements and Treaties. Sierra Leone is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. U.S.-Sierra Leone extradition relations are governed by the 1974 Extradition Act. Sierra Leone is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption. In March 2008, Sierra Leone ratified the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, five years after they became signatories. Though Sierra Leone signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols in 2001, it has yet to ratify them.

The Government of Sierra Leone signed an agreement with the United States in June 2009 concerning cooperation to suppress illicit transnational maritime activity including without limitation “illicit traffic” as defined in Article 1(m) of the 1988 Convention. The Agreement established procedures for shipboarding of vessels flagged in Sierra Leone and embarking Sierra Leone law enforcement officials to conduct operations from U.S. vessels.

Cultivation and Production. Cannabis is widely cultivated and consumed locally, and is also transported to surrounding countries and to Europe. The Joint Drug Interdiction Task Force conducted multiple raids of cannabis farms, and noted that cultivation appears to be increasing; the government is concerned that cannabis production is crowding-out regular subsistence farming, and is a threat to food security. One “joint” costs approximately 1,000 Leones, (25 U.S. cents) on the streets of Freetown.

Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine is the main drug that transits Sierra Leone. Cocaine comes from South America en route to Europe. Sierra Leone’s unguarded and porous maritime border makes it highly vulnerable to traffickers moving shipments by sea. Narcotics are often held and repackaged in Sierra Leone for reshipment to Guinea, though some go directly to Europe via shipping containers or in air cargo. Individuals also carry small amounts on passenger aircraft, sometimes in their baggage or items with hidden compartments, and through body cavity concealment. In October, a Nigerian citizen was stopped with 12 balloons of cocaine in his stomach; authorities believe that this practice is increasing in Sierra Leone.

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

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

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. Government’s counternarcotics and anticrime goals in Sierra Leone are to strengthen Sierra Leonean law enforcement capacity generally, improve interdiction capabilities, and reduce Sierra Leone’s role as a transit point for narcotics. In 2008, Sierra Leone became eligible for ILEA-U.S Law Enforcement Academy training, and officers have started attending courses. Narcotics-specific training, as well as related training, was prioritized in 2009; the JDITF and others benefited from several USG-sponsored events, including surveillance training and investigation techniques for transnational organized crime cases. The USG is also providing maritime related training, including maritime law enforcement training, to personnel in the Sierra Leone Maritime and Air Wing.

Sierra Leone further demonstrated its commitment to strengthening counternarcotics cooperation with the U.S. by granting permission to USCG Law Enforcement authorities to board two Sierra Leone flagged vessels in FY 2009. Occurring at separate times in FY 2009, both vessels were spotted in the Eastern Pacific Ocean by U.S. assets and were suspected of engaging in illicit activity. The USG made approaches via diplomatic channels to the Government of Sierra Leone for permission to stop, board, and search the vessels. First case took place in October 2008 and led to the removal of over 5,556 lbs of cocaine. The second case took place in December 2008 and led to the removal of over 11,770 lbs of cocaine. Both cases were excellent examples of the type of cooperation USG seeks to build with partner nations.

In April, 2009, Sierra Leone expelled three foreign nationals into U.S. custody. These individuals, who were prosecuted in Sierra Leone for their role in the 2008 cocaine bust, were removed to the United States to face charges there and assist with significant ongoing investigations. Though there is no overarching bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty between Sierra Leone and the U.S., eight months of negotiation and collaboration paved the way for a successful expulsion by the authorities in Sierra Leone. The expulsion sent a powerful message that Sierra Leone is an active and cooperative partner in the global war on drugs, using both their own domestic legal framework and their positive relationships with other nations to bring criminals to justice.

The Road Ahead. The April conviction of 15 traffickers, including 7 foreigners, strongly indicated that Sierra Leone is trying to stem the tide of organized crime that is infiltrating the sub-region. Ongoing efforts to train and mobilize the enforcement group, as well as willingness to collaborate with international partners, also demonstrate Sierra Leone’s tough stance on drugs. However, having a will does not necessarily mean that there is a way—limited funding to effectively enforce the 2008 law remains a significant problem. Enhancing law enforcement’s capacity to combat the drug trade through training and equipment and reducing corruption within the ranks require funds the Sierra Leonean government simply does not have. Enforcing strict controls over financial transactions, to prevent funds earned from the narcotics trade being used for further criminal activity, is also an unaffordable budget requirement for Sierra Leone. Strengthening law enforcement capabilities, enhancing security measures at the airport, and improving surveillance of the ports and waterways are important priorities that the government can ill-afford to ignore if it seeks to prevent Sierra Leone from becoming an even more attractive target for criminal organizations.

 

Singapore

I. Summary

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

II. Status of Country

In 2008, there was no known production of illicit narcotics in Singapore. Singapore is one of the busiest transshipment ports in the world. The sheer volume of cargo passing through makes it likely that some illicit shipments of drugs and chemicals move undetected. With few exceptions, Singapore does not screen containerized shipments unless they enter its customs territory. Neither Singapore Customs nor the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) keeps data on in-transit or transshipped cargo unless a Singapore consignee is involved in the shipment.

According to Government of Singapore (GOS) figures, authorities arrested 1,925 drug abusers in 2008, compared to 2,166 in 2007. Arrests of first-time offenders decreased to 508 in 2008 from 520 in 2007. In 2008 arrests of repeat drug offenders decreased to 1,417 as compared to 1,691 in 2007. Authorities arrested an additional 820 drug abusers in the first six months of 2009; 73 percent were repeat offenders and only 27 percent were first-time offenders. Synthetic drug abusers, including abusers of methamphetamine, MDMA-Ecstasy, Buprenophine hydrochloride, and Nimetazepam, comprised 51 percent of total drug abusers in 2008, a drop from 63 percent in 2007. However, the most significant increase was registered in the number of heroin abusers. During 2007 heroin offenders accounted for 31 percent of total drug abusers; in 2008, they accounted for 46 percent. Slight decreases were observed in the number of MDMA (Ecstasy), Ketamine, and Nimetazepam abusers in 2008, while Buprenorphine abusers significantly decreased from 38 percent of all drug abusers in 2007 to 19 percent in 2008.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

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

Singapore has continued efforts to curb abuse of synthetic drugs, among which Ketamine is the most prevalent. Anyone in possession of more than 113grams of Ketamine is presumed to be trafficking in the drug and can face maximum penalties of 20 years imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane.

Repeat synthetic drug abusers are subject to long-term imprisonment. Those arrested for a third time are subject to up to seven years imprisonment and seven strokes of the cane, and up to 13 years imprisonment and 12 strokes of the cane for subsequent offenses. Singapore’s long-term imprisonment regime is a contributing factor in curbing the country’s heroin use.

The Misuse of Drugs Act classifies Buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Subutex (used to maintain heroin abusers during treatment), as a Class A Controlled Drug. This means that, unless dispensed by a licensed physician or practitioner, the importation, distribution, possession, or consumption of Subutex is a felony offense.

Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2008, authorities executed 41 major operations and dismantled 25 drug syndicates. In the first six months of 2009, authorities launched 32 additional operations and dismantled 11 more drug syndicates. Most arrests occurred during sweeps of drug distribution groups that had been infiltrated by undercover Singapore narcotics officers.

CNB officers frequently perform undercover work, purchasing small, personal-use amounts of narcotics from generally low- and mid-level traffickers and drug abusers. These sweeps often produce additional arrests when subjects present at arrest scenes test positive for narcotics in their system.

A new trafficking trend observed in 2008 was the use of Singaporean females as couriers for West African drug trafficking groups. Several Singaporean women were arrested in Asia, Europe, and South America while attempting to receive or deliver drugs. The Government of Singapore has created public service announcements to warn women of West African men attempting to gain their trust and induce them to assist in drug trafficking activities.

Singapore’s CNB seized the following quantities of narcotics in 2008: 44.2 kilograms of heroin; 3.3 kilograms of cannabis; 6,948 tablets of MDMA; 1.8 kilograms of crystal Methamphetamine; 1,130 tablets of tablet Methamphetamine; 13.5 kilograms of Ketamine; 37,181 Nimetazepam tablets; and 2,092 Buprenorphine tablets.

The CNB seized the following further quantities of narcotics in the first six months of 2009: 16.51 kilograms of heroin; 2.74 kilograms of cannabis; 6,534 tablets of MDMA; 1.47 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine; 496 tablets of tablet methamphetamine; 4.87 kilograms of Ketamine; 20.833 Nimetazepam tablets; and 874 Buprenorphine tablets.

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

Agreements and Treaties. Singapore is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Singapore and the United States continue to cooperate in extradition matters under the 1931 U.S.-UK Extradition Treaty. Singapore and the United States signed a Drug Designation Agreement (DDA), a mutual assistance agreement limited to drug cases, in November 2000. Singapore has signed mutual legal assistance agreements with Hong Kong and ASEAN. The United States and Singapore have held discussions on a possible bilateral MLAT, most recently in December 2005, although there have been no formal negotiations since 2004. Singapore has ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime but has not signed any of its protocols. Singapore has signed but not ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. Singapore’s domestic legislation allows for mutual legal assistance cooperation with countries with which Singapore does not have a bilateral treaty.

Cultivation/Production. There was no known cultivation or production of narcotics in Singapore in 2009.

Drug Flow/Transit. Singapore is one of the busiest seaports in the world. Approximately 80 percent of the goods flowing through its port are in transit or are transshipped and do not enter Singapore’s customs area. Similarly, the Port of Singapore is the second largest transshipment port in the world for cargo containers destined for the United States. According to Government of Singapore statistics, in 2008, 1.6 million gross tons (GT) of shipping passed through the maritime Port of Singapore. This represents an increase of 11 percent from the previous record of 1.5 million GT set in 2007. Given the extraordinary volume of cargo shipped through the port, it is highly likely that some of it contains illicit materials. In 2009 there were instances of drugs being shipped through Singapore to final destinations elsewhere in Asia.

Singapore does not require shipping lines to submit data on the declared contents of transshipment or transit cargo unless there is a Singapore consignee to the transaction. The lack of such information creates enforcement challenges. Singapore Customs authorities rely on intelligence to uncover and interdict illegal shipments. They reported no seizures of transit or transshipped cargoes involving illicit narcotics shipments in 2008 or during the first ten months of 2009. GOS officials have been reluctant to impose tighter reporting or inspection requirements at the port, citing concerns that inspections could interfere with the free flow of goods, thus jeopardizing Singapore’s position as the region’s primary transshipment port.

When Singapore scrutinizes goods, it does so primarily as part of an enhanced posture to combat terrorism and control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their precursors. In 2003 Singapore became the first Asian port to join the Container Security Initiative (CSI), under which U.S. Customs personnel work with Singapore Customs personnel to prescreen U.S.-bound maritime cargo. Singapore also participates in other counterterrorism-related programs, such as the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Megaports Initiative. Singapore implemented an expanded strategic goods control list effective January 2008. While these initiatives aim to prevent WMD from entering the United States, the increased scrutiny and information they generate could also aid drug interdiction efforts.

Singapore is a major regional aviation hub. In 2008, Changi International Airport handled 37.7 million passengers, a 3 percent increase over 2007 figures; in the first eight months of 2009, traffic amounted to 22.9 million passengers. The Changi Airfreight Center is one of the world’s busiest and operates as a free trade zone where companies can move, consolidate, store, or repack cargo without need for documentation or payment of customs duties.

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

Adopting the theme, “Prevention: The Best Remedy,” Singapore authorities organize sporting events, concerts, plays, and other activities to reach out to all segments of society on drug prevention. Drug treatment centers, halfway houses, and job placement programs exist to help addicts reintegrate into society.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. Singapore and the United States enjoy good law enforcement cooperation with respect to narcotics issues under the DDA. In 2008, approximately 12 GOS law enforcement officials attended drug training courses at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok; during the first ten months of 2009, another five trainees attended ILEA Bangkok, and three high-ranking CNB officers attended the June 2009 International Drug Enforcement Conference in Cancun, Mexico.

Under the terms of the DDA, the GOS has cooperated with the United States and other countries in the forfeiture of drug-related proceeds discovered in Singapore banks, including the equitable sharing of such funds with the United States.

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

Country Reports - Slovakia through Zambia



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