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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

2013 INCSR: Country Reports - Afghanistan through Costa Rica


Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Report
March 1, 2013

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Afghanistan

A. Introduction

Illicit drug cultivation, production, trafficking, and consumption flourish in Afghanistan, particularly in parts of the south and southwest where instability is high and state institutions are weak or non-existent. More than 90 percent of illicit poppy cultivation takes place in these regions. The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated that Afghanistan cultivated 154,000 hectares (ha) of opium in 2012, with a total yield of 3,700 metric tons (MT) of raw opium. This was an 18 percent increase in cultivation and a 36 percent decrease in opium production from 2011. Poor weather and naturally-occurring crop disease contributed to the lower yields. A symbiotic relationship exists between the insurgency and narcotics trafficking in Afghanistan. Traffickers provide weapons, funding, and other material support to the insurgency in exchange for the protection of drug trade routes, fields, laboratories, and their organizations. Some insurgent commanders engage directly in drug trafficking to finance their operations. The trade in narcotics undermines governance and rule of law in all parts of the country where poppy is cultivated and traffickers operate.

According to the United States government’s 2012 assessment of the drug problem in Afghanistan, poppy cultivation increased by 57 percent, from 115,000 ha in 2011 to 180,000 ha in 2012, while potential opium production remained steady at 4,300 MT, compared to 4,400 MT in 2011. The U.S. and UNODC estimates differ due to dissimilar methodologies for estimating poppy cultivation and opium yields.

Afghanistan is involved in the full narcotics production cycle, from cultivation to finished heroin to consumption. Drug traffickers trade in all forms of opiates, including unrefined opium, semi-refined morphine base, and refined heroin. Some raw opium and morphine base is trafficked to neighboring and regional countries, where it is further refined into heroin. While estimates are imprecise, approximately 95 percent of the opiates produced in Afghanistan are ultimately trafficked out of the country; roughly 5 percent are consumed inside Afghanistan. Afghanistan is also struggling to respond to a burgeoning domestic opiate addiction problem.

Afghanistan generally relies on assistance from the international community to implement its national counternarcotics strategy. Greater political will, increased institutional capacity, enhanced security, viable economic alternatives for farmers, and more robust efforts at all levels are required to decrease cultivation in high-cultivating provinces, maintain cultivation reductions in the rest of the country, and combat trafficking.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

The Government of Afghanistan is publicly committed to confronting the drug problem in Afghanistan, particularly focusing on what it identifies as the root causes of the drug economy including instability, poverty, unemployment; and organized crime. The Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) is the lead governmental agency for developing counternarcotics policy and coordinates the activities of other governmental bodies involved in issues related to the drug trade. MCN is currently drafting Afghanistan’s National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS) for the period 2012–2016. The draft NDCS vision is “to implement a five–year plan that seeks to reduce by 50 percent the cultivation of poppy from its 2011 baseline of 131,000 hectares and to increase the capacity to treat drug addicts by 40 percent.” MCN is also working to insert counternarcotics into the activities of the entire government by “mainstreaming” counternarcotics efforts into other existing national strategies and programs. 

Afghanistan has no formal extradition or mutual legal assistance arrangements with the United States. The 2005 Afghan Counter Narcotics Law (CNL), however, allows the extradition of drug offenders to requesting countries under the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

2. Supply Reduction

According to UNODC, Afghanistan cultivated 154,000 ha of opium poppy in 2012, up 18 percent from 2011. UNODC estimated that Afghan opium poppy crops in 2012 yielded 3,700 MT of raw opium, down 36 percent from 5,800 MT in 2011. According to the UNODC and MCN, the number of poppy free provinces (those provinces with less than 100 ha of poppy under cultivation) remained the same at 17. (Note: The U.S. and UNODC estimates differ due to dissimilar methodologies for estimating poppy cultivation and opium yields.) 

There is significant evidence of commercial cultivation of cannabis in Afghanistan. The UNODC and MCN’s 2011 cannabis survey found that commercial cannabis cultivation in 2011 was approximately 12,000 ha, capable of producing 1,300 MT of hashish per year. According to the survey, the number of households growing cannabis for commercial purposes increased by 38 percent from 47,000 in 2010 to 65,000 in 2011. UNODC also noted that, like poppy, most cannabis cultivation takes place in insecure areas.

MCN implements the U.S.-funded Good Performers Initiative (GPI) to reward provinces which successfully reduce poppy cultivation within their borders. Provinces that are determined to be poppy-free by UNODC, or where poppy cultivation has declined by 10 percent, receive funding for development projects proposed by provincial development councils and governors’ offices. In 2012, 21 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces received $18.2 million in GPI awards, including two provinces that received special recognition awards of $500,000 each. The MCN-run Governor-Led Eradication program reimburses governors for expenses incurred for eradicating poppy fields. Eradication is verified by UNODC. In 2012, a total of 9,672 ha was eradicated, an increase of 154 percent over 2011. Both the quality and efficiency of eradication improved substantially, but attacks by criminals and insurgents on eradication teams killed over 100 civilians and security personnel during the course of the year. An additional 127 people were injured in such attacks.

The Afghan government’s efforts to enforce its drug laws also enjoyed growing success. The Criminal Justice Task Force (CJTF) is a vetted, self-contained unit that consists of prosecutors, investigators, and first instance and appellate court judges. Under Afghanistan’s 2005 Counternarcotics Law, the CJTF prosecutes all drug cases that reach certain thresholds (possession of two kilograms of heroin, ten kilograms of opium or 50 kilograms of hashish or precursor chemicals) before the Counter Narcotics Tribunal. The Counter Narcotics Justice Center (CNJC) is a central facility for the investigation, prosecution, and trial of major narcotics and narcotics-related corruption cases and is considered a model of excellence within the Afghan justice system. Between April 2011 and March 2012, the CNJC primary court heard 468 cases and tried 788 suspects, involving more than 185 metric tons of illegal drugs. Those convicted receive sentences ranging from 11 to 20 years. The CNJC has a conviction rate of over 97 percent.

Afghan authorities made some progress in improving their capacity to interdict large quantities of narcotics and arrest narcotics traffickers. According to authorities, the police apprehended seven out of ten of the “most wanted” drug traffickers in 2011. Over the first nine months of 2012, Afghan and Coalition Forces conducted a total of 481 counternarcotics operations, 62 percent more operations than the previous year. They seized approximately three MT of heroin, 72 MT of opium, and 176 MT of hash in those operations. The Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) was established in 2003 as a specialized element of the Afghan National Police and is responsible for counternarcotics investigations and operations. The United States supports several specialized units within the CNPA, including the Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU), the Technical Investigative Unit (TIU), and the National Interdiction Unit (NIU). These units are partnered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The NIU is the tactical element of the CNPA and is capable of conducting independent evidence-based interdiction operations and seizures in high threat environments. The TIU and SIU are specially vetted and trained law enforcement units The SIU carries out complex CN and counter corruption investigations using intelligence developed by the TIU. Outside these special units, low capacity and corruption within law enforcement institutions and the lack of CNPA’s direct authority over its resources in the provinces hampers counternarcotics efforts.

Primary trafficking routes into and out of Afghanistan are through Iran to Turkey and Western Europe; through Pakistan to Africa, Asia, the Middle East, China and Iran; and through Central Asia to the Russian Federation. Drug laboratories within Afghanistan still process a large portion of the country's raw opium into heroin and morphine base. Traffickers illicitly import large quantities of precursor chemicals into Afghanistan; UNODC estimates that 475 tons of acetic anhydride are imported each year for manufacturing heroin.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The Afghan Government acknowledges a growing domestic drug abuse problem, primarily opiates and cannabis. Funded by the United States, the National Urban Drug Use Survey released in 2012 provides a scientifically-valid prevalence rate for the country’s urban population based on interviews and toxicology. The United States will begin supporting a National Rural Drug Use Survey to complement the urban study and provide a national prevalence rate. Other recently conducted studies indicate that the prevalence of addiction and severity of consumption among Afghan children is the highest documented in the world.

The United States expects to fund more than 60 inpatient and outpatient drug treatment centers across the country by the end of 2012; however, the demand for services exceeds the capacity of the centers, most of which have waiting lists for new patients. The United States also supports UNODC’s global child addiction program throughout Afghanistan to develop protocols for treating opiate-addicted children, training treatment staff, and delivering services through Afghan non-governmental organizations. The current annual treatment capacity of Afghanistan’s centers is over 15,000 persons. The Government of Afghanistan is planning an expansion of its treatment system by opening new clinics across the country. Private clinics have also proliferated in recent years, although many of these do not apply evidence-based practices, discharging clients after detoxification without follow-up, thereby resulting in high relapse rates.

The United States funds a multi-pronged public information program, implemented by the Colombo Plan with the support of the MCN, focusing on discouraging poppy cultivation, preventing drug use, and encouraging licit crop production. The United States has undertaken a vigorous public information campaign to reduce drug demand inside Afghanistan, including seeking the support of religious leaders in drug demand reduction efforts, engaging local media, and implementing an anti-drug curriculum in Afghan schools. In 2012, the U.S. government helped establish a partnership between the Colombo Plan’s Preventive Drug Education program and the Afghan Premier Soccer League to spread an anti-drug message to youth. The United States also funds an Afghanistan-specific mobile preventive drug education exhibit.

4. Corruption

As a matter of government policy, the Government of Afghanistan does not encourage or facilitate illicit drug production or distribution, nor is it involved in laundering proceeds from the sale of illicit drugs. However, many central, provincial, and district level government officials are believed to directly engage in and benefit from the drug trade. Corrupt practices range from facilitating drug activities to benefiting from drug trade revenue streams. The CJTF actively investigates and prosecutes public officials who facilitate drug trafficking under Article 21 of the Counter Narcotics Law, which criminalizes drug trafficking-related corruption. The CJTF has successfully prosecuted high ranking government officials, including members of the CNPA. Between April 2011 and March 2012, 44 public officials were prosecuted in the CJTF primary court.

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives

The U.S. government maintains a counternarcotics strategy that supports Afghanistan’s four priorities for disrupting the drug trade; developing licit agricultural livelihoods; reducing the demand for drugs; and building the capacity of the government’s CN institutions. The strategy is formulated to help restore Afghanistan’s agriculture economy, build Afghan institutional capacity, and disrupt the nexus between drugs, insurgents, and corruption.

In 2012, the United States signed agreements with the Afghan government laying the groundwork for a Kandahar Food Zone in 2013. The Kandahar Food Zone is a multi-sectoral drug reduction program that combines elements of alternative development, law enforcement and eradication, public information and drug treatment. Twenty million dollars are anticipated to be provided over two years to develop the Alternative Livelihoods component of the Kandahar Food Zone, a comprehensive approach to counternarcotics in the province, integrating its activities with U.S.-funded Counter Narcotics Public Information, Drug Demand Reduction, and Governor Led Eradication programs.

D. Conclusion

For Afghanistan to enjoy future success in combating the narcotics trade it must continue to strengthen the capacity of the MCN, actively combat corruption at all levels of government, and develop the ability of regular CNPA units to carry out operations. The Afghan government must also demonstrate the political will to challenge vested political and economic interests.

Farmers and those involved in processing and trafficking drugs must also have viable economic alternatives to involvement in the narcotics trade. Improvements in security and market access, as well as continued concentrated efforts to increase agricultural and other alternative livelihoods, will remain key to undermining the drug economy and the insurgency in Afghanistan. 

Albania

Albania is a transit and destination country for cannabis, heroin and cocaine. It is a source country for cannabis going to EU member countries. Albanian authorities effected significant increases in drug seizures and arrests in 2012, a rise in enforcement activity attributable to better police training and techniques, including enhanced risk analysis and better use of donated equipment. The drastic increase in marijuana seizures – a 175-percent increase over 2011 – also signifies an increase in local production after trending downward over the prior two years. Evidence suggests that trafficking networks may be taking advantage of reduced policing activities in neighboring countries, bypassing Albania, which has long served as a transit country to Western Europe. With the exception of cannabis, Albania is not a significant producer of illicit drugs, precursor chemicals, or synthetic drugs. The Government of Albania does not keep drug-use statistics, but consumption of drugs other than marijuana does not appear to be common.

Albania continued to improve its counternarcotics efforts in 2012, highlighted by the release of a National Counternarcotics Strategy. Albanian State Police (ASP) statistics for 2012 showed marked increases in seizures and arrests. Cannabis seizures totaled almost 21.2 metric tons, nearly double the amount seized in 2011. Heroin and cocaine discoveries also more than doubled to 87.7 kilograms (kg) and 4.6 kg, respectively. Despite increased seizures, cumbersome bureaucracy and weak judicial and law enforcement institutions resulted in few convictions. The ASP arrested 729 people in 2012 for drug-related offenses, mainly trafficking. The Serious Crimes Prosecution office initiated over 149 investigations, but forwarded only 46 cases to the courts. The Serious Crimes First Instance Court handed down 56 trafficking convictions during 2012.

Albania continues to receive narcotics-related assistance from the United States and European Union countries. Albanian law enforcement agencies continued to develop partnerships with their international counterparts. The ASP conducted 43 international operations between January and October, the majority in cooperation with Italian authorities. The United States supports institutional reform and capacity building efforts in areas such as Integrated Border Management and judicial sector reform, as well as equipment donations. Drug demand reduction efforts are improving as the United States, ASP, and the Albanian Education Ministry co-sponsor a drug demand reduction project in the Tirana public elementary schools. 

Argentina

A. Introduction

While Argentina continues to be a transit country for Andean-produced cocaine, domestic cocaine production and consumption are growing problems. Argentine officials believe there is increased transit through Argentina as a consequence of intensive counternarcotics efforts in Mexico and Colombia, forcing drug traffickers to utilize other routes to international markets. In June, after a year’s hiatus, the Ministry of Security (MOS) allowed the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to resume limited operations in Argentina.

Marijuana, the bulk of which is imported from Paraguay and used for domestic consumption, continues to be the most abused illegal drug in Argentina. Cocaine remains the leading illegal drug for which Argentines seek help at treatment centers, and the use of cocaine base, known locally as “paco,” remains a problem among the poor. Many Argentines believe that violent crime linked to drug trafficking and consumption is increasing. Argentine authorities made significant efforts in 2012 to reduce narcotics trafficking in the urban slums of Buenos Aires.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Security Minister Nilda Garre continued to implement reforms designed to improve police performance, but insufficient coordination among federal and provincial law enforcement agencies continued to hamper Argentina’s effectiveness in combating drug trafficking. The appointments of a new leader of the Secretariat of Planning for the Prevention of Drug Addiction and Drug Trafficking (SEDRONAR), a new Deputy Security Minister, and the replacement of the MOS’ Under Secretary for the Investigation of Organized and Complex Crime facilitated greater cooperation between the security forces and international partners, including DEA. Backlogs in the judicial system continued to complicate the prosecution of drug traffickers. Two complicating factors are the incomplete move from an inquisitorial system to an accusatorial system at the national level, and the lack of specialized alternative mechanisms, such as drug courts. The SEDRONAR Secretary served as the President of the Organization of American States’ until November.

Operation Northern Shield, an effort to deter illegal flights and illicit drug trafficking though improved radar coverage of the air space along Argentina’s northern border, was only partially implemented in 2012. Its centerpiece is the planned installation of seven 3D radars, only one of which was operational as of November 2012. The reduction of Argentine Border Guard forces along the borders with Bolivia may have eroded the government’s ability to interdict cocaine shipments from Bolivia. An October labor strike by public security forces protesting wage cuts, and the increased use of federal security forces for urban policing in Buenos Aires, including units re-deployed from border zones, may have reduced overall operational effectiveness of Argentina’s security forces to combat drug trafficking.

Despite the Supreme Court’s 2009 recommendation against imposing criminal penalties for the personal possession of small amounts of marijuana, Argentina’s Narcotics Law 23.737 has not been modified. Several late 2011 and early 2012 legislative bills proposing the decriminalization of marijuana (and in some cases other drugs) failed to advance in the lower house of the Argentine Congress. According to opinion polls, approximately 65 to 70 percent of Argentines oppose decriminalization, and a consensus around the need to first formulate a National Addiction Plan is growing.

2. Supply Reduction

The MOS estimates that Argentine security forces seized approximately 3.4 metric tons (MT) of cocaine from January through June 2012. The six-month total exceeds the 3.2 MT that the MOS estimates officials seized during the first six months of 2011, but represents a sharp decrease from the estimated 12 MT of cocaine Argentine authorities seized in 2010. Furthermore, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), using data provided by the Government of Argentina, estimated that Argentina seized 12.1 MT of cocaine in 2008 and 12.6 MT of cocaine in 2009. Government constraints on DEA operations within Argentina may have contributed to the decrease in cocaine seizures from 2010 to 2012. In October 2012, Argentine and Colombian law enforcement officials coordinated with DEA to successfully capture one of Colombia’s most wanted drug traffickers.

Most Andean cocaine transiting Argentina is smuggled across the Bolivian-Argentine border and is primarily destined for Europe. The seizure of increasing numbers of cocaine production facilities, as well as the widespread availability of paco, suggests that domestic production of cocaine in Argentina, though small, is growing. There is no widespread cultivation of coca leaf for the production of cocaine in Argentina; domestic production appears to use imported coca paste, known as “pasta base.”

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

According to the 2011 UNODC World Drug Report, Argentina had the highest prevalence of cocaine use (2.6 percent) among 15-to-64 year-olds in South and Central America. Argentine officials, however, estimate annual prevalence of cocaine use at 0.9 percent of the population. Fueled by reported seizures, there is growing concern about rising use of synthetic drugs by Argentine youth. The abuse of paco is another growing public concern. Paco is readily available on the streets, costs approximately $1.50 a dose, and produces a brief, intense high when smoked in pipes or mixed with tobacco. While there is no effective centrally coordinated strategy to treat drug addiction nationwide, Congress tabled a draft National Anti-Addiction Plan in October 2012.

4. Corruption

The Government of Argentina neither encourages nor facilitates the illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions, and there is no evidence to suggest senior government officials are engaged in such activity. An independent judiciary and an investigative press actively pursue allegations of corrupt practices involving government authorities. During the course of 2012, Argentine officials accused several security force members, including high-ranking officers, of either trafficking significant amounts of cocaine and/or marijuana or protecting drug trafficking organizations.

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives

Limited counternarcotics cooperation between DEA and Argentine security forces resumed in June, ending a year-long hiatus following the Argentine Customs’ confiscation of sensitive U.S. military cargo at the Buenos Aires international airport in February 2011. In response to MOS requests, the United States resumed information sharing and offered a limited number of counternarcotics trainings and seminars designed to enhance the capabilities of Argentine security forces, including maritime enforcement training. The MOS continued to discourage U.S. cooperation with provincial security forces, thereby limiting efforts to improve provincial counternarcotics capabilities.

D. Conclusion

Though the Government of Argentina worked to improve aspects of the country’s drug control effort, the slow process of implementing operational reforms and re-allocating sufficient domestic resources, combined with the reduction of counternarcotics cooperation with the United States, likely eroded Argentina’s narcotics interdiction capabilities in 2012. The Argentine government could focus its diverse interdiction efforts on targeted investigations, assigning more personnel and enhancing use of technology such as x-ray scanning equipment, to reduce the amount of drug traffic that is currently escaping attention. Likewise, the Government of Argentina could complement its recent radar deployments in the northern border areas with additional equipment and human resources to ensure that better detection of air shipments of narcotics crossing the Bolivian and Paraguayan borders results in increased interdiction on the ground. Argentina could also improve cooperation among federal and provincial law enforcement entities to enhance the country’s effectiveness in combating the illegal drug trade. Further improving judicial efficiency in processing narcotics-related investigations and prosecutions would also be useful. 

Armenia 

Armenia is not a major drug-producing country, and domestic abuse of drugs is modest. Because Armenia is landlocked and the two longest of its four borders (with Turkey and Azerbaijan) are closed, the resulting limited transport options make the country less attractive for drug trafficking. With assistance from the United States and European Union, Armenia continues to develop and implement an integrated border management regime, improving its ability to detect illegal narcotics shipments. In addition, in July 2012, the United States provided narcotics interdiction training at Yerevan’s international airport and bus station.

The most common illicit drug in Armenia is marijuana, most of which is grown locally. Both marijuana and poppies grow in the wild, and the government sponsors an annual eradication event in August. In 2012, a combined total of nearly 82 metric tons were destroyed.

Narcotics seizures declined overall in 2012. Police credit the arrest and dismantlement of several trafficking rings in late 2011 and early 2012 as the reason for the decrease. According to police, the overwhelming majority of illicit drug imports are opiates originating from Afghanistan transiting through Iran, with a smaller volume entering from Turkey via Georgia (as the Turkish border is closed to all traffic). In October, a large seizure occurred on the Iranian border at the Meghri crossing, when opium was discovered in a false-bottomed suitcase.

A new smuggling trend along the Iranian border involves plastic balls with light-emitting diodes attached: the balls are thrown across the Arax River at night, with opiates going one way (into Armenia) and payment going the other (into Iran). In addition, authorities have seized smaller quantities of the synthetic opioid buprenorphine from flights originating in France and from parcels mailed from France and Spain. In the past, amphetamines were trafficked from Iran to Europe via Armenia, but this transit appears to have diminished significantly following a major bust. Precursor chemicals are strictly regulated and industrial users must provide status reports every three months.

Drug addiction treatment resources have increased in recent years, and since 2009 prior use has been decriminalized for those who seek treatment. 

Azerbaijan 

Azerbaijan is a significant transit country for heroin and other narcotics, as it is situated along major drug trafficking routes from Afghanistan and Iran to Europe and Russia. Drug use and cultivation exist on a relatively small scale in Azerbaijan and are less significant problems.

Due to Azerbaijan’s location along major drug smuggling corridors, up to 11 metric tons (MT) of heroin is estimated to transit Azerbaijan every year, much of it entering through the southern border with Iran. Azerbaijan may be an increasingly favored transit country for drugs over Georgia and Turkey, which have both strengthened their border control procedures in recent years. Azerbaijan has also expressed concerns related to its inability to secure international borders in the occupied territories that surround Nagorno-Karabakh.

The most recent drug seizure and arrest statistics available are for 2011. According to the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center, in 2011 Azerbaijan seized 557 kilograms (kg) of drugs during anti-smuggling operations, including: 164.9 kg of hashish; 52.2 kg of heroin; 298.9 kg of cannabis; and 14.1 kg of opium. These numbers were down considerably from 2010, when 1.86 MT of illegal drugs were reportedly seized. Also in 2011, 2,341 individuals were arrested for involvement in drug smuggling. Although the cultivation of drugs in Azerbaijan is not widespread, in 2011 Azerbaijan uncovered 59 cases of domestic illegal drug cultivation resulting in the seizure of 20.6 kg of poppy and 3.4 MT of cannabis.

Though the Government of Azerbaijan has expressed its desire to address drug addiction, government-sponsored programs targeting drug abuse remain inadequate, hindering substantial progress.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) re-engaged with Azerbaijan in 2011, and this relationship helped Azerbaijan pursue international drug trafficking organizations in 2012. The United States will continue to work with the Government of Azerbaijan to promote law enforcement cooperation, judicial reform, and the rule of law. 

The Bahamas 

A. Introduction

The Bahamas is not a significant drug producing country but remains a transit point for illegal drugs bound for the United States and other international markets. The Bahamas’ close proximity to the coast of Florida as well as Caribbean drug transshipment routes makes it a natural conduit for drug smuggling. Furthermore, The Bahamas’s 700 islands and cays, the vast majority of which are uninhabited, provide near ideal conditions for illicit smuggling. Smugglers readily blend in among the armada of pleasure craft traveling throughout The Bahamas archipelago spanning 100,000-square nautical miles. Recent law enforcement information points to increased smuggling through air traffic, both by newly established commercial traffic from South and Central America and through private planes. U.S. law enforcement analysts anticipate that sustained law enforcement pressure on networks in Central America will continue to compel illicit drug traffickers to reestablish both alternate and historic drug smuggling routes from producer countries to the United States, including through The Bahamas.

Surveys sponsored by the Bahamian government suggest the demand for cocaine has diminished, though casual and chronic use of marijuana is an area of concern. The government remains committed to reducing drug trafficking and demand for drugs.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

In 2012, the Bahamian government released its update to the 2004-09 National Anti-Drug Strategy. The new 2012-16 strategy lays out government plans for reducing drug demand and supply; strengthening anti-drug institutions; building international cooperation; and resourcing anti-drug efforts. Written at the end of the previous Free National Movement government’s tenure, the implementation of the strategy will fall to the new Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) government elected in May.

Among the PLP government’s new initiatives is the Swift Justice program which seeks to reduce processing time for serious cases through improved criminal case management. Construction of new facilities and increases in personnel are ongoing, and headway on its backlog of cases will depend on the flexibility and effective implementation of these measures by the criminal justice system.

The United States and The Bahamas are bilateral parties to both a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) and an extradition treaty. The United States and The Bahamas have a strong mutual legal assistance relationship. The MLAT facilitates the bilateral exchange of information and evidence for use in criminal proceedings. Joint activities between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bahamian government have resulted in evidence from The Bahamas being used to prosecute traffickers in the United States. Streamlining and establishing better protocols to expedite the flow of extraditions would bring drug crime offenders more quickly to trial and serve as a more credible deterrent for traffickers. Currently, defendants can appeal a magistrate’s decision up to Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. This process often adds years to an extradition proceeding; the last extradition occurred in 2010. Some subjects of U.S. extradition requests are known to continue illegal drug smuggling activities while out on bail awaiting the resolution of their cases.

The United States signed a comprehensive maritime agreement with The Bahamas in 2004 that enables cooperation in counternarcotics and migrant interdiction operations in and around Bahamian territorial waters, including the use of “ship riders” and expedited boarding approval and procedures.

2. Supply Reduction

Under Operation Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands (OPBAT), U.S. agencies led by the DEA and including the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection integrate with the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) to gather intelligence, conduct investigations, and execute interdictions. OPBAT remains the cornerstone of counternarcotics law enforcement cooperation in the region. In 2012, operations under OPBAT led to the seizure of 236 kilograms (kg) of cocaine; 162 metric tons of marijuana; 149,074 marijuana plants; 201 arrests; and $122,333 in assets. These operations are supported by marine and technical resources provided through U.S. assistance programs. With a small population base (353,000 people according to the 2010 census) and significant territory to cover, pooling U.S. and local resources and knowledge is essential to efficient deterrence and interdiction. The Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF), as well as law enforcement personnel in the Turks and Caicos Islands, participate in counternarcotics operations.

Smugglers exploit the wide distribution of numerous islands and the high number of recreational vessels flowing through the boating-friendly waters of The Bahamas. Large loads are known to split up into smaller loads before entering the southern Bahamas through the customs station in Great Inagua, which is strategically located between the Turks and Caicos Islands, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. Traffickers move cocaine through The Bahamas via go-fast boats, small commercial freighters, containers, and small aircraft. Small sport fishing vessels and pleasure crafts move cocaine from The Bahamas to Florida by blending in with legitimate traffic that transit these areas. Larger “go fast” and sport fishing vessels transport marijuana from Jamaica through The Bahamas and into Florida in the same manner as cocaine. Traffickers also skirt along the loosely monitored Cuban coast line, then head for Florida through Bahamian waters.

Haitian and Haitian-Bahamian drug trafficking organizations--increasingly networked between Haiti and the significant Haitian diaspora in The Bahamas--continue to play a major role in the movement of cocaine. Investigations of these organizations are hindered by a lack of trusted and appropriately assigned Creole speakers within the RBPF Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU). Investigations reveal that Bahamian drug trafficking organizations are using the Turks and Caicos Islands as a transshipment point. The Government of the United Kingdom suspended the Turks and Caicos Islands’ right to self-government in 2009 amid allegations of mismanagement of Crown land and other irregularities. Self-government was restored in late 2012.

Aviation routes are an increasing source of concern. Small, privately owned and operated planes ferry loads of cocaine from and between source countries South America into Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Information acquired by Bahamian law enforcement suggests that drug trafficking organizations have utilized airdrops and remote airfields to deliver large cocaine shipments to the Turks and Caicos Islands and to The Bahamas from Venezuela and Colombia. There has also been a rise in the interdiction of cocaine at the international airport by Customs and Border Protection agents working at the pre-clearance facility, with at least one case allegedly involving staff employed by the Nassau Airport Authority. Bahamian officials expect a significant increase in tourist traffic with the opening of new air routes from Latin America and the anticipated completion of the Bahamas megaresort in 2014.

Bahamian law enforcement agencies leverage their small fleet of vessels by prepositioning them in strategic locations on the archipelago. These vessels are located in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Exuma, Bimini, Andros, and other islands depending on operational needs. Effective use of this limited number of vessels over a vast area of coverage depends on effective use of quality intelligence and aviation support during critical interdiction missions. Additionally, the RBDF operates a fleet of 14 vessels and various small boats out of New Providence, Grand Bahama Island, Bimini, Abaco, and Great Inagua, which conduct regular patrols.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The Bahamian government determined in its most recent anti-drug strategy that cocaine dependency in The Bahamas is predominantly limited to those who became addicts during the 1980s and 90s. The report further reveals that experimentation and use of marijuana is increasing among school-aged groups. Intake surveys and testing found that many inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison at Fox Hill (Nassau), the only prison in The Bahamas, tested positive for drugs and that some inmates maintain access to drugs during their incarceration.

The government’s strategy employs a multi-tiered approach to reducing demand. Its main institutional bodies are the National Anti Drug Secretariat, the Bahamas National Drug Council, and the Sandilands Rehabilitation Center. In its approach, the Bahamian government seeks to strengthen its connections with civil society organizations that work with youth, addicts, and ex-convicts.

4. Corruption

The Bahamian government does not encourage nor facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, or other controlled substances. It also does not support the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior official in the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas was investigated for drug-related offenses in 2012.

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives

The Bahamas is one of the most active and strategic contributors in the Caribbean Basic Security Initiative, both at the Ministry of National Security and senior police levels. Such contributions have made the Bahamian government a respected and welcomed voice in these regional fora.

U.S. assistance funds supported The Bahamas’ maritime capabilities. In 2012, the United States funded new marine engines for the 40-ft Avenger interceptor. First donated by the United States in 2001, the Avenger will be the most capable law enforcement interceptor in the northern Bahamas until the new 41-foot SAFE boat interceptor arrives in 2013. Though the RBPF Marine Unit has effectively refurbished and maintained its marine vessels, it has not received additional funding for new law enforcement specific vessels.

RBPF, DEU and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) maintain an enduring presence on Great Inagua and, in four other locations in The Bahamas, to assist with counternarcotics enforcement. USCG is nearing completion of a hurricane-resilient aviation hangar adjacent to permanent living quarters, which will be used by rotating aviation and counter drug personnel, both U.S. and Bahamian. Since Hurricane Ike destroyed the original Great Inagua aircraft hangar in 2008, USCG helicopters have temporarily operated out of the Turks and Caicos Islands, as part of its participation in OPBAT.

In order to build regional safety and security capacity, the United States provided training in maritime law enforcement, small boats operations, port security, engineering and maintenance, and professional development for the RBDF’s officer and enlisted corps. The RBDF uses the USCG Officer Candidate School as one of its primary officer ascension programs.

The United States has delivered training needed by RBPF counterparts to combat criminal networks in The Bahamas. For example, members of the RBPF were trained by DEA in proper forced entry and homicide investigations techniques. The RBPF has also benefited from a study tour of the Denver Gang Taskforce and an anti-gang seminar delivered by FBI and Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel.

U.S. assistance funds for demand reduction have supported the Bahamas National Drug Council in its work to prevent drug abuse in the outer Family Islands, improve the ability of civil society groups to develop and implement projects, and through the donation of 500 drug test kits to the Her Majesty’s Prison. U.S. Mission personnel conduct outreach activities (particularly among youth) in support of demand reduction.

D. Conclusion

The United States and The Bahamas remain strong partners and enjoy a cooperative counternarcotics relationship. Funds associated with the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative will require intensified coordination and strategic planning. Long delays in extradition requests and lack of Creole speakers in key Bahamian law enforcement units endure as challenges. Better integration of financial monitoring and investigations would improve counterdrug efforts. 

Belize

A. Introduction

Belize is a major transshipment country for cocaine and precursor chemicals used in the production of synthetic drugs. Due to its position along the Central American isthmus, Belize is susceptible to the transshipment of cocaine between drug producing countries in South America and the United States, as well as chemicals bound for processing into finished drugs in Mexico. The United States estimated that more than 80 percent of the primary flow of the cocaine trafficked to the United States first transited through the Central American corridor in 2012. Large stretches of remote, unpopulated jungles on its borders with Guatemala allow smuggling of cannabis and synthetic drugs. A relatively unpatrolled coastline including hundreds of small islands and atolls make maritime drug interdiction difficult. Belize is bordered by countries where the drug trade is controlled by organized and violent drug cartels.

Belize generally tolerates the use of cannabis. The National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) reported that there was an increase in the use of marijuana in 2012 and crack cocaine remained the second most abused drug.

The Belize Coast Guard (BCG) and the Anti-Drug Unit (ADU) undertook enhanced efforts to monitor the country’s coastal waters in 2012. Nevertheless, limited funds, equipment and personnel continued to hamper these organizations. Belize’s overall counternarcotics efforts suffer deficiencies in intelligence gathering, analysis, and capacity of the judicial sector, in addition to corruption and inadequate political will. 

B. Drug Control Accomplishment, Policies and Trends

1. Institutional Development

In 2011, Belize passed the Interception of Communications Act to allow judicially-authorized wiretaps of telephones and other forms of communication, but the Government of Belize did not develop the capacity to intercept communications to implement this law. Belize completed mandatory registration of all existing prepaid cellular phones in compliance with the Act in June, 2012.

Citizen security deteriorated countrywide in 2012. There were 145 homicides over the course of the year, surpassing Belize’s all-time high of 129 in 2010. The northern district of Corozal, bordering Mexico, experienced a 120-percent increase in murders compared to 2011. Law enforcement officials reported that at least 36 percent of these murders were drug related.

The Government of Belize readily assists in the capture and repatriation of U.S. citizen fugitives. Seven fugitives were repatriated to the United States via expulsion orders in 2012. Although the United States and Belize have an extradition treaty, Belize’s response to formal U.S. extradition requests is slow, in part due to limited resources in its criminal justice system. As of October, three narcotics related extradition requests lodged in 1998 remained pending.

To enhance Belize’s border security, the U.S. government provided training to support the establishment of a Mobile Interdiction Team. The team includes Belizean immigration, customs, and police officers and aims to interdict narcotics and other contraband at ports of entry along Belize’s roads and highways.

Belize is one of six countries (along with Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, France, Guatemala and the United States) to ratify the Caribbean Regional Agreement on Maritime Counter Narcotics, which is in force.

The United States and Belize maintain a counterdrug bilateral agreement used to facilitate maritime operations against drug trafficking. Two Belizean law enforcement officials participated in the Multilateral Maritime Counterdrug Summit, held in Peru, which also included participants from Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and most Central American countries. Bilateral agreements between the United States and Belize include an extradition treaty that entered into force in March 2001, and a mutual legal assistance treaty that entered into force in 2003. 

2. Supply Reduction

Belize does not produce cocaine, heroin, or precursor chemicals, but is used as a transshipment point for the substances. There are indications that trafficking organizations are increasing their use of Belize as an air trafficking route. In 2012, Belizean authorities seized and destroyed 19.1 metric tons (MT) of marijuana, 156 MT of precursor chemicals, 55.4 kilograms (kg) of cocaine, 1.4 kg of crack cocaine and 4.9 kg of crystal methamphetamine. A Guatemalan national pled guilty to trafficking the 4.9 kg of methamphetamine and was sentenced to three years imprisonment and fined fifty thousand dollars. Belizean authorities also recovered an additional 59.5 kg of cocaine that was found abandoned, leading to no arrests (classified separately from seizures in Belize). 

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

NDACC is the central coordinating authority responsible for the activities of demand reduction, supply reduction, and control measures. The Council has 21 regular employees and a 2012 budget of $175,000, a 16-percent increase over the 2011 budget. However, these funds are limited to administrative expenses and not necessarily designated for the development and implementation of programs. 

Marijuana, crack cocaine, and cocaine hydrochloride are the most abused illicit drugs in Belize. NDACC reported that there was an increase in the use of marijuana in 2012 and in the number of clients approaching its office for assistance and referrals for drug treatment. Between January and June, a total of 186 people sought assistance from the Council. 

Belize has three operational drug rehabilitation centers. The primary facility operates at the Belize Central Prison and is run by the non-governmental Kolbe Foundation. The program, which started in 2006, is a 120-day residential program open to inmates and members of the public who are willing to overcome addiction. Between January and September 2012, the program produced 141 graduates. As of October, 80 people were engaged in the program and scheduled to complete it in December. The second rehabilitation center is run by a religious organization and has approximately 35 participants at any given time. Belize also has an upscale rehabilitation center that targets overseas clients. 

NDACC has 11 drug educators countrywide who conduct demand-reduction education programs in schools, as well as community empowerment and public education campaigns. 

The Government of Belize appointed an eight-member committee to explore the possibility of decriminalizing marijuana in small quantities. Any amount of marijuana under 60 grams is considered possession and carries a fine of up to $25,000 and/or up to three years imprisonment. One proposal made to the committee discussed instituting small penalties or no penalties for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana. The committee will evaluate proposals from the public and make recommendations in 2013. 

4. Corruption 

The Government of Belize does not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit drug production or distribution and in 2012the Belizean government was not involved in laundering proceeds of illicit drug sales. A lack of resources, weak law enforcement institutions, an ineffective judicial system, and inadequate compensation for civil service employees and public safety officials combined to provide a facilitating environment for illegal activities. Belize lacks laws that specifically address narcotics-related corruption. Its Prevention of Corruption Act – passed in 2000 – includes measures to combat the misuse of public funds while holding public office and also provides a code of conduct for civil servants. Belizean authorities did not charge anyone under this Act during 2012. 

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives 

Through the provision of equipment, training, and technical assistance, including through the Central America Regional Security Initiative, the United States bolstered Belize’s efforts to disrupt and decrease the flow of narcotics, weapons, and illicit proceeds generated by sales of illegal drugs, and to confront gangs and criminal organizations in 2012. U.S. support included infrastructure upgrades, training, and the provision of equipment for the Belize Defense Force. The United States provided funding to implement an interconnected Personal Identification and Registration System at all immigration offices, land, sea and air border posts in Belize. The project will install a computerized information management system designed to detect and register all entries and exits of persons, and strengthen the capacity of immigration services to more efficiently manage the country’s borders. 

The Belize Coast Guard continued to receive U.S. assistance in 2012, including maritime law enforcement training and professional development of officers and enlisted corps, but was unable to maximize the utilization of donated equipment due to insufficient fuel and other operational resources. 

D. Conclusion

Drug trafficking and drug-related violence continue to rise in 2012, threatening the security of Belizean citizens and the integrity of the country’s borders. These threats will continue if more serious measures are not taken by Belize’s government. The United States encourages Belize to continue to strengthen its public security and law enforcement institutions through more effective anti-corruption legislation, comprehensive background checks and vetting for new and existing personnel, better training, and continuing education programs. Belize should strengthen its border security through better management and leadership, increased training and coordination amongst the border management staff. Belize’s criminal justice system requires improved efficiency, and better resources and training are required for prosecutors in the Director of Public Prosecution’s office and police department. The United States will maintain its strong partnership with Belize, and assist its fight against drug trafficking organizations and other criminal groups. 

Bolivia

A. Introduction

Bolivia is one of the three largest cocaine producing countries in the world and a significant transit zone for Peruvian cocaine. Significant amounts of Peruvian-origin cocaine have been intercepted in Bolivia in 2012, and two Bolivian-flagged aircraft loaded with Peruvian cocaine were seized in Peru in September. Most Bolivian cocaine flows to other Latin American countries, especially Brazil, for domestic consumption or onward transit to West Africa and Europe. The United States estimates that approximately one percent of cocaine seized and tested in the United States originates in Bolivia. 

In September 2012, the President of the United States determined for the fifth consecutive year that Bolivia “failed demonstrably” to make sufficient efforts to meet its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements. This Presidential determination was based, in part, on evidence that Bolivia has not been able to stop the increase in cocaine production resulting from the use of more efficient technology in the production process, as well as insufficient law enforcement efforts to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. The United States estimates that in 2011, cocaine production potential in Bolivia increased 29 percent from 2010 to 265 metric tons (MT). 

The National Drug Control Council, chaired by the Ministry of Government, is the central counternarcotics policymaking body in Bolivia. The Vice Ministry for Social Defense (VMSD) is the body with the mandate to combat drug trafficking, regulate coca production, and advance coca eradication and drug prevention and rehabilitation. The Special Counternarcotics Police Force (FELCN) is comprised of approximately 1,600 personnel and reports to the VMSD. The Joint Eradication Task Force conducts manual coca eradication with approximately 2,300 personnel. 

Bolivian President Evo Morales, who remains the president of the coca growers’ federation in the Chapare region, one of two major coca growing areas, maintains a "social control" policy for illicit coca eradication in which the government negotiates with coca growers to obtain their consent for eradication. Bolivia continues coca eradication efforts, reporting the eradication of over 10,000 hectares (ha) for the second consecutive year, in spite of resistance from some coca growers. However, illegal cultivation for drug production remains high, and the Bolivian government has inadequate controls to prevent the diversion of "legal" coca production to illicit cocaine production. 

Bolivia’s ability to identify, investigate and dismantle drug trafficking organizations remains diminished following the 2008 expulsion of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which provided assistance to Bolivian counterparts. Colombian, Brazilian, Peruvian and other foreign nationals engage in financing, producing and exporting drugs and laundering drug proceeds within Bolivia. Bolivia denies foreign drug cartels operate in Bolivia, but acknowledges that cartel emissaries are present. 

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development 

For several years, Morales administration officials have called for new legislation to increase the ceiling for licit coca cultivation from 12,000 to 20,000 ha. Movement on such legislation was delayed pending release of a study funded by the European Union (EU) to estimate the number of hectares required for traditional coca consumption. The study, originally requested in 2005, has remained with the Bolivian government for over a year for review and revision, despite international requests that it be published. Bolivia agreed to complete a separate study of cocaine yields by 2014 with UNODC support. 

The Bolivian government, through the Executing Unit for the Fight against Narcotics, budgeted $25.5 million in 2012 for counternarcotics operations. Since 2011, the United States has worked with the Bolivian government to take over operational and financial responsibilities for several U.S.-supported programs; this process continued in 2012. 

FELCN’s operations continue to focus on money laundering cases and leads from law enforcement counterparts from neighboring countries. In 2012, Bolivia continued to seek counternarcotics support from other countries, especially Brazil and Argentina. In particular, Bolivia and Brazil continued to work together on border security and other counternarcotics efforts, including the donation of four Brazilian helicopters to Bolivia. 

The United States, Bolivia, and Brazil began a trilateral pilot project in January 2012 that will enable Bolivia to eradicate illegal coca more efficiently, detect the re-planting of eradicated coca, and improve the credibility of Bolivia's eradication results through satellite imagery. The United States has provided computer and digital measuring equipment as well as training to Bolivian personnel. 

Bolivia’s efforts in 2011 to amend the UN 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs led it to withdraw from the Convention, effective January 1, 2012. In December 2011, Bolivia requested to re-accede to the Convention with a proposed reservation for coca chewing. The United States formally objected to the Bolivian reservation in July 2012, noting that it could lead to a greater supply of available coca, thereby fueling narcotics trafficking and related criminal activity. 

The United States and Bolivia are parties to an extradition treaty that entered into force in 1995 that permits the extradition of nationals for the most serious offenses, including drug trafficking. In practice, however, the treaty is not fully utilized. While Bolivia does not have a mutual legal assistance treaty with the United States, various multilateral conventions to which both countries are signatories are used for requesting mutual legal assistance. 

2. Supply Reduction 

The 2011 U.S. government coca cultivation estimate for Bolivia of 30,000 ha was 13 percent lower than the 2010 estimate of 34,500 ha. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated 27,200 ha of cultivation for 2011, a 12percent decrease from 2010. Bolivia has stated its intention to reduce net coca cultivation to 20,000 ha by 2015. 

Under an agreement with the Government of Bolivia, Chapare coca grower federations began enforcing a 2003 “coca zero” policy that legalized one “cato” (40 x 40 m) of cultivation per member of the federations. Because many farmers were growing two or more catos, the federations have implemented a “self-control” policy whereby growers voluntarily eradicate coca in excess of one cato. However, since 2003 only 261 farmers have lost the right to cultivate coca for one year and 71 farmers have lost the right to grow coca for life as punishment for violating the one-cato limit by planting additional catos of coca. 

During 2012, the U.S.-supported Integrated Alternative Development (IAD) Program continued to help diversify the economies of Bolivia’s coca growing regions, reduce communities’ dependency on coca, and complement the Bolivian government’s coca eradication efforts. In its last year of implementation, the IAD Program completed more than 70 projects, generated nearly 700 new jobs and $5.2 million in sales of U.S.-supported products for the direct benefit of approximately 6,800 families. 

The FELCN achieved numerous high-profile successes in 2012, including the destruction of multiple cocaine labs in the Carrasco National Park and the Yapacani region. According to the Bolivian government, FELCN seized 32.1 MT of cocaine base and 4.2 MT of cocaine hydrochloride (HCL), representing a 13 percent increase in the amount of cocaine base seized and a 26 percent decrease in the amount of HCL seized over 2011. FELCN also destroyed 37 cocaine HCL processing labs and 4,433 rustic cocaine labs, a 48 percent increase and 16 percent decrease from the same period in 2011, respectively. 

The FELCN arrested and charged 4,317 individuals on narcotics-related offenses in 2012, a 10 percent increase from 2011 in which 3,930 individuals were charged with narcotics offenses. Prosecutors reported 465 drug convictions in 2012, although some of these convictions may have stemmed from arrests made in previous years. 

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The last Bolivian-sponsored domestic drug use study was completed in 2008. A U.S.-sponsored study entitled “Drug Use in Bolivia 1992-2010” showed a steady increase in drug use throughout the country. A 2011 study on student drug use also show increased consumption of marijuana, cocaine, and cocaine base, but no studies were performed in 2012. 

The United States sponsored a UNODC-implemented school-based drug abuse prevention program targeting 100,000 students. The United States also funded four drug-abuse prevention and rehabilitation projects as well as a drug education and rehabilitation program with a Bolivian youth soccer academy. Internet resources were developed for drug demand reduction and treatment in two cities. 

There are approximately 80 drug treatment and rehabilitation centers in Bolivia, the majority of which are private initiatives funded primarily by religious organizations from the United States and Europe. The national government does not allocate funds for these types of programs. No impact evaluations have been performed in this area. Forty percent of drug treatment and rehabilitation centers in Bolivia provide outpatient services based on counseling and education. 

4. Corruption

The Ministry of Anticorruption and Transparency and the Prosecutor’s Office are responsible for combating corruption. Corruption accusations were frequent and often unaddressed by an already strained judiciary. As a matter of policy, Bolivia does not encourage or facilitate illegal activity associated with drug trafficking. There were arrests and investigations of corrupt officials in 2012, but most were not related to corruption associated with drug trafficking. 

In 2012 all FELCN members took the polygraph test and those who did not pass were transferred out of the program. 

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation and U.S. Policy Initiatives

Since 2011, the United States has worked to transfer operational and financial responsibilities for U.S.-supported counternarcotics programs to the Bolivian government, a process that remained underway in 2012. U.S. assistance seeks to augment Bolivia’s capacity to generate and disseminate law enforcement information by improving border controls and checks on the internal movement of goods and persons. The United States also supports initiatives to promote greater cooperation between Bolivian law enforcement agencies and their international counterparts to advance investigations of drug trafficking and other transnational crimes, and participate in international law enforcement information-sharing networks. U.S. law enforcement capacity-building programs also promote the use of enhanced investigative tools and techniques for the arrest and prosecution of members of criminal organizations. The United States has worked with the Bolivian government to increase the effectiveness of Bolivia’s counternarcotics laws to combat money laundering, precursor chemicals, and asset forfeiture, and continues to encourage the Bolivian police to improve internal anti-corruption efforts. 

The United States also provides Bolivian law enforcement, prosecutors and judges with training. In 2012, the United States supported the training of 1,792 police officers, prosecutors and other officials through 60 training courses, seminars and conferences, including sending Bolivian police officers and officials for training in Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, El Salvador and the United States. The number of officers participating in this training decreased significantly from 2011, partially because of a decision by the police not to participate in U.S. training programs for part of the year. 

D. Conclusion 

Although Bolivia’s eradication program is surpassing its stated targets, eradication and interdiction results were not sufficient to reverse increased potential cocaine production levels caused by new efficiencies in the narcotics production process, combined with the potency of Bolivian coca. Bolivia's policy to consider 20,000 hectares of coca cultivation as licit and its withdrawal from the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs undermined Bolivia's efforts to meet its international drug control obligations. The release of the results of an EU study confirming the true number of hectares needed for licit consumption has been significantly delayed, raising suspicion that the results will be much lower than current production levels, and probably lower than the 20,000 hectares Bolivia considers licit. 

Bolivian public, media, and experts perceive that the challenge to Bolivian institutions from corruption and criminality associated with drug trafficking increased during 2012. 

Bolivia should strengthen efforts to tighten controls over the coca leaf trade in order to stem diversion to cocaine processing in line with international commitments, achieve further net reductions in coca cultivation and enhance law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute drug traffickers. Enacting new asset forfeiture legislation and other counternarcotics measures would provide Bolivian law enforcement agencies with necessary tools. Those nations most directly affected by Bolivian cocaine exports are encouraged to increase their support to Bolivia as the United States transitions from operational support to training and law enforcement capacity building. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina (“Bosnia”) is not a significant producer, consumer, or producer of illicit drugs or precursor chemicals. Bosnia is considered primarily a transit country for drug trafficking due to its location along traditional Balkan smuggling routes and between drug production and processing centers in Southwest Asia and markets in Western Europe. Bosnia achieved modest improvements in reducing the flow of illicit narcotics through its territory in 2012, but the capacity of law enforcement and security institutions at all levels of government requires further enhancement.

Weak state institutions, fragmented law enforcement structures, lack of capacity, and imperfect cooperation and information sharing among responsible authorities at the various levels of government contribute to Bosnia’s vulnerability to narcotics trafficking. The political will to improve narcotics control performance exists in many quarters of the Bosnian government. Faced with competing demands, the government has prioritized its limited law enforcement resources on problems such as investigating and prosecuting war crimes, counterterrorism, and trafficking in persons, and has not developed comprehensive counternarcotics intelligence and enforcement capabilities.

Bosnia has a national counternarcotics coordination body and a commission for the destruction of illegal narcotics, but resource constraints have hampered their work. The United States and the European Union provide technical assistance to help improve Bosnia’s ability to combat narcotics trafficking and to achieve compliance with relevant international conventions. Bosnian law enforcement agencies have increased cooperation with regional and international law enforcement counterparts, and have, often in cooperation with neighboring countries, succeeded in making narcotic-related arrests and seizures. The Border Police, the Indirect Taxation Authority (the Bosnian customs service), and the State Investigative and Protection Agency (SIPA) have undergone improvements, but continued underfunding and insufficient staffing and equipment remain challenges. SIPA continues to coordinate investigations and share information with U.S. law enforcement authorities.

Indigenous and regional organized crime groups are engaged in distributing narcotics within the country. There is evidence of links between Bosnian criminal elements and organized crime networks originating in Russia, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia, Austria, Germany, Italy, and increasingly South America. There is no credible evidence at this time linking senior officials to the illicit narcotics trade, although anecdotal evidence exists of corruption among lower-level officials.

The United States will continue working with Bosnian authorities to strengthen Bosnian law enforcement and judicial institutions, promote the rule of law, and combat organized crime, terrorism, and corruption. 

Brazil 

A. Introduction

Brazil borders all of South America’s cocaine-producing countries and is both a major transit and destination country for cocaine and a destination country for Paraguayan marijuana. The country’s borders with Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay measure 5,656 miles – over three times the length of the U.S. border with Mexico. The Brazilian drug trade is controlled by large, violent and well-organized drug trafficking organizations operating throughout the country. 

Much of the cocaine transiting Brazil is destined for Europe via West Africa with some shipments destined for the United States. While the Government of Brazil understands the importance of, and is committed to, combating drug trafficking and transnational crime, it faces significant challenges to stemming the flow of illegal drugs across its borders. 

Brazil suffers from a substantial and growing domestic crack cocaine consumption problem that has reached epidemic proportions. Brazil is the world’s second largest consumer of cocaine hydrochloride and potentially the largest consumer of crack cocaine. As such, Brazil places significant emphasis on drug abuse awareness, demand reduction, and treatment policies. 

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies and Trends

1. Institutional Development.

The Government of Brazil’s lead agency for counternarcotics is the Federal Police (DPF). The DPF reports to the Ministry of Justice and maintained a force of slightly fewer than 500 personnel working on counternarcotics issues in 2012. The DPF’s limited staffing underscores the importance of inter-agency cooperation, which has increased and become more successful since the launch of the Strategic Border Plan in 2011. 

In 2012, pursuant to the Strategic Border Plan, the DPF, military, National Secretariat of Public Security’s National Force, Secretariat of Federal Revenue, Federal Highway Police, and state police forces worked together to strengthen security and enforce laws (against drugs, arms, and human trafficking; financial crimes; environmental crimes; and homicide) along Brazil’s 9,600-mile land border. 

Brazil has signed bilateral narcotics control agreements with the United States and every country in South America. The agreements provide the framework for capacity improvement, joint investigations, enforcement operations, and sharing law enforcement information. Brazil maintains formal partnerships with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Commission, and INTERPOL, and is a signatory to the main UN and regional drug, corruption, and transnational crime conventions. Brazil has also signed extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties with the United States. 

2. Supply Reduction 

Brazil continues to be a major channel to world markets of cocaine. Colombian and Peruvian cocaine is smuggled into Brazil via the Amazon River system which provides the primary conduit for cocaine laden fishing, cargo, and passenger vessels bound for the ports of Manaus and Belem. Once there, large multi-ton shipments are containerized for transshipment to Africa and Europe on commercial freighters. Bolivian cocaine enters Brazil across a 2,127-mile land border on commercial trucks using cover loads, privately owned vehicles, and commercial buses as well as via small aircraft. Cocaine loads are transported within Brazil in cargo or passenger vehicles while air couriers transport shipments via luggage, body-carry, and ingestion. 

Brazil launched a new cross-border cooperation strategy in 2012 with the government of Peru under which DPF agents worked with Peruvian police to eradicate 900 hectares (ha) of coca on Peruvian soil. In addition, the Paraguayan and Brazilian bilateral agreement provides for joint marijuana eradication operations in Paraguay which resulted in the eradication of 600 ha of marijuana in 2012. An estimated 80 percent of marijuana production in Paraguay is destined for the Brazilian market. The DPF conducted quarterly marijuana eradication campaigns in the Northeastern states of Bahia and Pernambuco, where the majority of marijuana is grown in Brazil. 

In 2012, the DPF reported seizing 19.9 metric tons (MT) of cocaine; 111.2 MT of marijuana; 446,178 dosage units (DUs) of ecstasy; and 65,033 DUs of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). In addition, Brazilian authorities eradicated 184.9MT of marijuana, conducted 3,999 arrests and/or indictments on drug related charges, and seized $34.9 million in assets. 

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment. 

In 2012, the Secretariat of National Drug Policy concluded a landmark nationwide study of drug and alcohol use pursuant to the Integrated Plan to Confront Crack and Other Drugs launched in 2010. The results of the study are expected to be released in early 2013, and press reports indicate it may confirm Brazil’s place as the world’s second-largest market for cocaine hydrochloride and potentially mark Brazil as the world’s largest consumer of crack cocaine. 

Brazilian state and federal governments continued to promote drug abuse awareness and demand reduction through various media and outreach campaigns including the PROERD program, Brazil’s version of Drug Abuse Resistance Education, which is implemented in schools by state police forces. The federal government’s signature campaign “Crack, It’s Possible to Win” continued in 2012 with a focus on demand reduction courses that trained 70,000 teachers; 15,000 prosecutors and judges; 15,000 health and social workers; 40,000 community leaders; 10,000 religious leaders, and 5,000 treatment center representatives. Despite the emphasis on drug abuse awareness, demand reduction, and treatment, Brazil’s programs are not yet commensurate with the size of the addict population. 

4. Corruption

As a matter of government policy, Brazil does not encourage or facilitate illegal activity associated with drug trafficking and there was no evidence to suggest that senior government officials are engaged in such activity. Narcotics related corruption did not appear to be a major issue in Brazil in 2012. 

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in 2008 between the United States and Brazil on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement established projects designed to enhance the capacity of Brazilian federal and state agencies to address illicit narcotics trafficking and chemical diversion, organized crime and related criminal enterprises, and drug abuse awareness and demand reduction. 

Pursuant to the MOU, in 2012 the United States provided support to the DPF canine program, airport interdiction program, and the DPF Special Investigation Units (SIUs), which produce the tactical intelligence that drives enforcement actions. The SIUs, in coordination with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, are routinely involved in conducting complex criminal investigations. The United States also provided maritime law enforcement training to Brazilian military and civilian agencies in 2012. The United States also partnered with Brazil’s National Secretariat for Drug Policy to support non-governmental organizations working with addicts and the families of addicts. 

D. Conclusion

Brazil’s commitment to inter-agency cooperation to combat drug trafficking is significantly progressing, as is the level of political will behind Brazil’s extensive demand reduction activities. However, the physical size of Brazil and the complex trans-border river system in the Amazon basin, coupled with a growing demand for cocaine, has placed significant resource challenges on the government. Brazil should continue to increase its focus on building Brazilian capacity to perform interdiction and eradication operations along its borders and with third countries in order to have a direct impact on stemming the flow of illegal narcotics into and through Brazil. 

Bulgaria

Bulgaria serves as a major transshipment point for heroin from Southwest Asia smuggled along the Balkan Route to Europe. Organized crime groups in Bulgaria are heavily involved in drug trafficking. Heroin and synthetic drugs are the primary drugs transported through Bulgaria, principally via overland methods of transportation. Small amounts are smuggled by air. In recent years, there has been in a rise in cocaine smuggling from South America to Bulgaria. Cannabis cultivation, mainly for local consumption, has recently increased. Several small laboratories for synthetic drugs were uncovered in 2012. 

Counternarcotics enforcement is primarily the responsibility of the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP) within the Ministry of Interior (MOI), and the Customs Agency under the Ministry of Finance. The MOI actively combats narcotics, with GDBOP leading counternarcotics investigations and operations. GDBOP has led or facilitated several marquee seizures of cocaine, heroin, and other narcotics, including a joint operation with Spanish authorities in 2012 that netted three metric tons (MT) of cocaine from a Bulgarian-crewed ship off the coast of Spain.

The Customs Agency has authority to investigate drug trafficking at Bulgaria’s borders and maintains an extensive database of information. Data sharing between Customs and GDBOP is improving. In 2012 the Customs Agency made two large seizures of hashish (4.2 MT) and precursor chemicals (600 kilograms). However, a de-facto policy of prioritizing the search for taxable contraband (i.e., cigarettes) over narcotics continues to result in low seizures for heroin.

According to the Bulgarian Institute for Addictions, Bulgaria has approximately 300,000 drug addicts, a number that has not fluctuated much in recent years. Marijuana is the most widely used narcotic, followed by heroin and synthetic drugs.

Bulgarian officials have vowed to increase their efforts to combat drug smuggling by Bulgarian nationals. On April 2, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) opened a Country Office in the U.S. Embassy in Sofia. The opening was the culmination of many years of robust law enforcement cooperation between the United States and Bulgaria, a positive trend that should continue. 

Burma

A. Introduction

Burma continues to be a major source of opium and exporter of heroin, second only to Afghanistan. However, there remains a significant gap between Burma and Afghanistan related to acreage and volume of poppy cultivation for opium production, with Burma’s levels considerably lower than during the 1980s and 1990s, when production was at its peak. Since 1996, Burma has also become a regional source for amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). Production sites for heroin and ATS are often co-located and are primarily situated along Burma’s eastern borders with Thailand and Laos in areas controlled by ethnic armed groups beyond Government of Burma’s immediate jurisdiction. The 2012 Joint Burma-UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) illicit crop survey reported that for the sixth straight year, opium poppy cultivation increased. UNODC estimated that the total area under opium poppy cultivation was 51,000 hectares (ha), an increase of 17 percent compared to 2011 (43,600 ha). In addition, UNODC estimated that during 2012 the potential production of opium increased by 13 percent to 690 metric tons (MT). Methamphetamine production in Burma is also a major concern. While there is no reliable methodology to estimate methamphetamine production, information derived from local and regional seizures indicates that methamphetamine production and trafficking is increasing. The last U.S. government joint opium yield survey occurred in 2004; however, prior to the visit of the Secretary of State in December 2011, the Government of Burma agreed to restart the survey, scheduled for February 2013.

Though police officers from the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) continue to make efforts to enforce Burma’s narcotics laws, they lack training and funding. In addition, Burma faces the special challenge of having vast swaths of its territory, particularly in drug-producing areas, controlled by ethnic armies, border guard forces, or people’s militias. The Burmese government considers drug enforcement secondary to national stability and is willing to allow narcotics trafficking in border areas in exchange for cooperation from ethnic armed groups and militias. 

Burma is not currently a significant source or transit country for drugs entering the United States. However, Burma remains a major regional source of opium, heroin, and methamphetamine, particularly for neighboring Thailand and China. The overall level of drug abuse is low in Burma compared with neighboring countries, in part because most Burmese are too poor to be able to support a drug habit. 

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Burma’s official 15-year counternarcotics plan, launched in 1999, called for the eradication of all narcotics production and trafficking by the year 2014, one year ahead of an ASEAN-wide plan of action to make the entire region drug-free by 2015. In pursuit of this goal, the CCDAC, chaired by the Minister of Home Affairs, directs all drug-enforcement efforts in Burma. This includes the drug enforcement efforts of 26 police anti-narcotics task forces located in major cities and along key trafficking routes within Burma. Opium and methamphetamine production has been on the rise since 2006. In October 2012, the CCDAC admitted that Burma will not meet its own goal be narcotics-free by 2014 and extended its deadline to 2019. 

Burma cooperated with its neighbors on drug control with varying levels of interaction. This ranged from regular positive cooperation with China and Thailand, to infrequent contact with India and Bangladesh. 

Burma did not begin any major policy or operational initiatives during 2012; the applicable legislation remained unchanged and enforcement efforts followed longstanding patterns. 

2. Supply Reduction

Aggressive domestic efforts over the past 15 years, accompanied by some international assistance, had yielded a generally downward trend in Burma’s opium cultivation from a 1996 estimated apex of 163,000 ha. However, since 2006, Burmese farmers have increased opium poppy cultivation each year. The 2012 joint UNODC-Government of Burma survey estimated that 51,000 ha were devoted to opium cultivation. This represents a 17-percent increase from 2011 levels (43,600 ha). UNODC estimated that during 2012, the potential production of opium increased 13 percent from 2011 levels to 690 MT due to increased hectares under cultivation. 

According to the Government of Burma’s statistics, law enforcement officers destroyed 23,584 ha of opium poppies in 2012 compared to 7,058 ha in 2011 and 8,268 ha in 2010. These government statistics cannot be verified. Furthermore, U.S. and UNODC reporting often reflects that eradication occurs after the poppies have been harvested. 

The Burmese government again failed to provide sufficient suitable alternative development opportunities targeted at opium cultivators, though in December 2011 the CCDAC outlined an alternative development plan for the first time. Burma’s alternative development plan will cost approximately $500 million over three years. However, despite Burmese appeals for aid from the international community, no international donors pledged to support the plan during 2012. 

While there is no reliable method to determine production levels, information derived from seizure data indicates that there has been a sharp increase in the production, consumption, and export of ATS since 1996. A 2011 UNODC ATS survey reports that Southeast Asia has experienced significant increases in the seizures of methamphetamine pills originating from Burma. UNODC reports that ATS is manufactured in Shan State and trafficked to Thailand, China, and Laos. 

Though under-resourced and hampered by political constraints, the CCDAC continued drug interdiction efforts during 2012. From January through September 2012, Burmese police seized 15.97 million ATS tablets (1.6 MT) and 100 kilograms (kg) of crystal methamphetamine. During the same period, Burmese authorities seized over 1,350 kg of high-quality opium, approximately 21 kg of low-quality opium, and over 113 kg of opium oil. Heroin seizures totaled 148 kg. 

During the reporting period, Burmese law enforcement made two notable seizures. On January 12, CCDAC Anti-Narcotics Task Force officers seized 98,200 tablets of methamphetamine in Rangoon, Burma. Follow-up investigations assisted by U.S. Embassy Rangoon resulted in the seizure of an additional 1,709,300 tablets (170.94 kg) of methamphetamine. The seizure totaled 1,807,500 tablets of methamphetamine and was the largest recorded seizure of methamphetamine in Rangoon. On February 13, CCDAC Anti-Narcotics Task Force officers seized 8,726,400 tablets of methamphetamine (873 kg) from a storage location in Tachilek, Shan State, Burma. This was the largest seizure of methamphetamine made by Burmese authorities since August 2009.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The overall level of drug abuse is low in Burma compared with neighboring countries, in part because most Burmese are too poor to be able to support a drug habit. Traditionally, farmers use opium as a painkiller and antidepressant because they lack access to other medicine or adequate healthcare. There has been a shift in Burma away from opium smoking toward injecting heroin, which has contributed to Burma having one of the highest rates in the world of HIV infection attributable to intravenous drug use. ATS is also increasingly injected and is an additional cause for concern. 

The Government of Burma maintains that there are only about 65,000 registered addicts in Burma; this number cannot be confirmed. Surveys conducted by UNODC, as well as non governmental organizations (NGOs), suggest that the addict population could be as high as 300,000. NGOs and community leaders report increasing use of heroin and synthetic drugs, particularly among disaffected youth in urban areas and by workers in mining communities in ethnic minority regions. 

Burmese demand reduction programs are in part directed and in part voluntary. Addicts are required to register with the government and could be imprisoned for three to five years if they fail to register and accept treatment. Demand reduction programs and facilities are limited. In 2012, there were six major drug treatment centers under the Ministry of Health, 49 other smaller detoxification centers, and eight rehabilitation centers. 

4. Corruption

Burma has no laws specifically targeting corruption, and the country has signed but not ratified the UN Corruption Convention. Many inside Burma assume some senior government officials benefit financially from narcotics trafficking, but these assumptions have never been confirmed through arrests, convictions, or other public revelations. Credible reports from NGOs and media claim that mid-level military officers and government officials were engaged in drug-related corruption; however, no military officer above the rank of colonel has ever been charged with drug-related corruption. The Government of Burma does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. 

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation and U.S. Policy Initiatives

In 1988 the United States suspended direct counternarcotics assistance to Burma. However, the United States maintained limited engagement with the Burmese government through the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) attaché office in the U.S. Embassy Rangoon. Through this mechanism, DEA continues to share drug-related intelligence with the Government of Burma and conducts joint drug-enforcement investigations with Burmese counternarcotics authorities. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, these joint investigations led to several seizures, arrests, and convictions of drug traffickers and producers. 

There are no longer any U.S. funded or supported alternative development programs aimed at opium poppy growers. No U.S. counternarcotics funding directly benefited or passed through the Government of Burma. 

While in the past U.S. policies have limited direct assistance to the Burmese government, in September 2012 the President signed a national interest waiver which allows for the possibility of providing such direct assistance in the future. The last U.S. government joint opium yield survey occurred in 2004, though Burma and the U.S. agreed to restart this survey before the Secretary’s visit in December 2011. Planning is currently underway for the survey to begin in February 2013. In addition, the U.S. is exploring opportunities to include Burmese counternarcotics police in International Law Enforcement Academy training programs in Bangkok in 2013. 

D. Conclusion

In 2012, Burma continued the series of positive political reforms and reengagement with the United States that began in 2011 with the establishment of a civilian led government. For the first time since 1990, as a result of restoring full diplomatic relations, the United States has an Ambassador in Rangoon. However, despite the momentous political changes over the last year, Burma’s economic situation has not changed dramatically, and the country remains the poorest in Southeast Asia. While economic development is necessary to provide an alternative to drug production, such development, particularly in ethnic areas, has not materialized. The economic reality, coupled with the Government of Burma’s own lack of resources, significantly reduces the efficacy of Burma’s counternarcotics efforts. Politics, as well as economics, drives opium production in Burma, as much of the territory in Burma remains outside of government control. While the Burmese government has signed cease fire agreements with 10 of 11 ethnic armies, the parties have failed to reach a political solution; the brokered peace remains fragile, and some of the ethnic groups continue to be engaged in narcotics production and trafficking to support themselves. As a result of these factors, opium crop production has increased for the sixth year in a row. While difficult to quantify, most experts believe that ATS production has increased as well. 

Burmese counternarcotics officials remain open to resuming counternarcotics cooperation with the United States, and the United States is open to collaborating on specific projects with the Burmese. While such joint activities may begin on a modest scale, over time such cooperation has the potential to become significant. Any U.S. assistance must be matched with efforts by the Government of Burma to reach a political solution to the conflict with its ethnic minorities, address official corruption, and dedicate more resources to their existing counternarcotics laws. Only genuine and sustained efforts on both sides will enable Burma to reverse the disappointing trend and begin to decrease narcotics production. 

Cambodia

Cambodia is a source, transit, and destination country for amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). Criminal networks, many of which are Asian and West African, also use Cambodia to illegally produce and export natural safrole oil, which can be used as a precursor for MDMA (ecstasy).

ATS are the most prevalent narcotic in Cambodia, and both ATS tablets and crystalline methamphetamine are widely available. Heroin addiction remains limited to a small number of users concentrated in Phnom Penh. Cocaine, ketamine, and opium are also available. It is a common practice among the homeless, particularly minors, to sniff glue or similar inhalant products. The availability and quality of drug treatment centers remains inadequate to cope with demand. Government rehabilitation centers lack trained professionals and resources and provide low quality care, although some international efforts are underway to improve the skills of drug counselors.

The volume of seizures increased considerably in the first nine months of 2012 compared to 2011, although the number of drug-related arrests decreased. A dual methamphetamine/MDMA laboratory in Phnom Penh was seized along with more than 3,000 liters of safrole oil allegedly smuggled from Thailand, and pseudoephedrine packaged as cold medicine from Vietnam.

Customs officials at the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap international airports intercepted four Thai and one Vietnamese women, transporting cocaine and methamphetamine through Cambodia to Thailand. Arrests also included high-profile targets. On August 24, the Cambodian National Police arrested the two-star general Deputy Chief of Staff of the Infantry Division of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and his bodyguard for narcotics trafficking. Police seized more than one kilogram of ecstasy, approximately 85,000 tablets of methamphetamine, and a large cache of illegal luxury wood during the arrest. Also charged is a Cambodian-Laotian couple who confessed to supplying the general with the narcotics.

The Royal Government of Cambodia conducted joint operations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and enacted an amended drug law in a joint effort with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to strengthen penalties and eliminate procedural loopholes in the previous law. Counternarcotics authorities also cooperated closely with other regional counterparts to improve Cambodian law enforcement’s capacity to disrupt and reduce international narcotics trafficking.

The United States provided maritime law enforcement training to Cambodian authorities both within Cambodia and the United States. Cambodia also took part in the U.S.-led Gulf of Thailand Initiative, an ongoing maritime law enforcement capacity building initiative involving Southeast Asian states. 

Canada

A. Introduction

In 2012, the Canadian government continued its robust efforts in combating the production, distribution, and consumption of various illicit drugs. Canada is a substantial producer of ecstasy (MDMA) for domestic use and is the primary supplier of ecstasy to the United States. As part of its five-year National Anti-Drug Strategy, Canada has rolled out new initiatives specifically intended to fight the trafficking of marijuana and synthetic drugs. Canada and the United States cooperate extensively in counternarcotics efforts by sharing information and conducting joint operations. 

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies and Trends

1. Institutional Development

In March 2012, the Government of Canada passed the Safe Streets and Communities Act (C-10) into law, increasing the penalties for serious drug crimes. C-10 amends the “Controlled Drugs and Substances Act” to include mandatory prison terms for drugs listed in Schedule I, such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, and in Schedule II, such as marijuana. 

In October, the United States and Canada announced a bilateral shiprider agreement to combat transnational maritime criminal activity. Vancouver/Blaine and Windsor/Detroit will be home to the first two regularized locations of the integrated cross-border maritime law enforcement operations. 

In September, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) launched the Marihuana Grow Initiative (MGI). The MGI renews the RCMP’s commitment to combating marijuana production by organized crime groups. 

Canada is party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials, and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. 

2. Supply Reduction

Canada is the primary foreign source of ecstasy to the United States with production occurring primarily in British Columbia, and to a lesser extent in Ontario and Quebec. Canada also supplies ecstasy to Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Precursor chemicals for the production of ecstasy are smuggled into Canada from source countries such as China and India. 

Cultivation of cannabis is extensive in Canada, mostly in the form of high-potency, indoor-grown marijuana destined for both domestic consumption and export to the United States. Significant cultivation has been identified primarily in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. Most exported Canadian marijuana is destined for the United States. 

As of June 2012, the MGI centralized database listed 191 marijuana grow operations or clandestine labs dismantled by the RCMP since 2011. A clear majority of these operations were in British Columbia. 

Although most cocaine destined for Canada originates in South America, the United States is the predominant transit point for cocaine smuggled into Canada. Recent smuggling patterns suggest, however, that traffickers may be increasing their efforts to ship cocaine directly to Canada via air, parcel, and maritime conveyances. 

Canadians are among the heaviest consumers of pharmaceutical opiates globally, according to Canadian government reports, but organized crime involvement in this market remains small when compared with other drugs. The most commonly trafficked pharmaceuticals are diazepam, clonazepam, lorazepam, methylphenidate, pentazocine, oxycodone, and steroids.

Domestic production of methamphetamine remains steady, and it continues to be exported to the United States and other countries. Methamphetamine is also used as a compound in Canadian-produced ecstasy.

No overall drug seizure statistics are available at the time of this report from the Canadian government for 2012.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

According to a Canadian government study, the prevalence of past-year cannabis use among Canadians (15 years and older) decreased from 14.1 percent in 2004 to 10.7 percent in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available. The prevalence of past-year cocaine or crack use decreased from 1.9 percent in 2004 to 1.2 percent in 2010 while ecstasy (0.9 percent), speed (0.4 percent), and hallucinogen (0.7 percent) use was comparable to the rates of use reported in 2004.

For Canadian youth (ages 15 to 24 years), the prevalence of marijuana use in the past year decreased from 37.0 percent (in 2004) to 25.1 percent (2010). The same study reported that, among youth, past-year use of at least one of five illicit drugs (cocaine or crack, speed, hallucinogens, ecstasy, and heroin) decreased from 11.3 percent in 2004 to 7.0 percent in 2010. The rate of drug use by Canadian youth remains much higher than that reported by adults 25 years and older: three times higher for cannabis use (25.1 percent versus 7.9 percent), and almost nine times higher for use of any drug excluding cannabis (7.9 percent versus 0.8 percent).

The rates of psychoactive pharmaceutical use and abuse in 2010 remained comparable to the rates reported in 2009: 26 percent of respondents aged 15 years and older indicated that they had used an opioid pain reliever, stimulant, sedative, or tranquilizer in the past year while 0.3 percent reported that they used any one of these drugs to “get high” in the past year.

Canada has six drug treatment courts in operation: Toronto (commenced in 1998), Vancouver (2001), Edmonton (2005), Winnipeg (2006), Ottawa (2006), and Regina (2006).

4. Corruption

The Government of Canada has strong anti-corruption controls and holds its officials, including law enforcement personnel, to a high standard of conduct. The Canadian government pursues malfeasant civil servants and subjects them to prosecution. Government policy and law prohibit, and no senior government officials are known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate illegal activity associated with drug trafficking.

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives

The United States and Canada exchange forfeited assets through a bilateral asset-sharing agreement and exchange information through a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement. Judicial assistance and extradition matters between the United States and Canada operate under a mutual legal assistance treaty, an extradition treaty, and related law-enforcement protocols, including the long-standing memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and RCMP which established a formal mechanism by which their representatives can work directly with each other on U.S.-Canada drug-related matters.

The United States and Canada pursue joint operations against suspected drug transshipments and have an agreement in place that enables Coast Guard (USCG) personnel to embark from Canadian aircraft and ships. Additionally, Canada continues to participate in the North American Maritime Security Initiative (NAMSI) with Mexico and the United States, which serves as a forum to review cases and identify areas where the maritime forces of the three countries may be able to improve cooperation.

Canada and the United States focus their bilateral cooperation through the Cross-Border Crime Forum and other fora. Canada and the United States also cooperate through the Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBET) and Border Enforcement Security Task (BEST) Forces on integrated cross border law enforcement. IBETs operate in 24 locations along the border, including four locations where Canadian and American intelligence analysts are co-located. The BEST is an investigative task force model that incorporates personnel from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), USCG, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), the RCMP and other key U.S. and Canadian Federal, state, provincial, local, and tribal agencies.

The DEA, CBP, HSI, USCG, and representatives from U.S. state, local, and tribal entities interact with CBSA, RCMP, and Canadian provincial authorities to ensure that our two countries meet shared objectives in combating illegal drugs.

D. Conclusion

The United States cooperates extensively with Canada on bilateral law enforcement matters and acknowledges the strong and consistent anti-drug message from Canada’s federal government.

The United States will continue to engage with Canadian officials to enhance both enforcement capacity to stem flow of narcotics at the border, and regulatory frameworks to prevent access to precursor chemicals and lab equipment for criminal use.

Cape Verde

Cape Verde is not a significant producer of illicit narcotics, but its location in the Atlantic Ocean makes it an important transit hub for cocaine and other drugs moving from Latin America to Europe. The country’s ratio of sea borders to land area is among the highest in the world, posing significant challenges to border control and law enforcement efforts.

Cape Verde has two separate national law enforcement agencies that fight narcotics trafficking, the Judicial Police (PJ) and the National Police (PN). The PJ is primarily responsible for major criminal investigations and the PN is responsible for public order. The National Commission for Combating Drugsis responsible for coordinating Cape Verde’s counternarcotics programs. In 2008, Cape Verde adopted anti-money laundering legislation that created a Financial Information Unit (FIU). In 2012, the government passed additional legislation (Decree-Law No. 9) that extended the FIU’s powers and transferred it from the Central Bank to the Ministry of Justice. The FIU continues to lack adequate human and financial resources to effectively implement all of its functions. Cape Verdean authorities acknowledge the country’s role as a transit state and proactively seek international assistance to combat drug trafficking. During 2012, the PJ detained and began criminal proceedings for two individuals, from Angola and Guinea-Bissau, for drug possession and seized a total of 2.226 metric tons of cocaine.

In 2012, the Government of Cape Verde cooperated with the United States and other international partners to advance common counternarcotics objectives. U.S. support included partnering with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to combat financial crime and reduce local demand for drugs. The United States also partnered with the Portuguese Judicial Police to send 23 PJ officers to Lisbon for counternarcotics training, and provided communications, identification, and tactical equipment to enable more effective drug investigations. In July 2012, the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard conducted an African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership mission involving joint training, surveillance, and law enforcement operations to suppress illicit transnational maritime activity in and around Cape Verdean waters. The operation bolstered the Cape Verde Maritime Operation Center’s ability to coordinate national efforts and bilateral operations with The Gambia. Finally, the United States worked with authorities to improve use of its U.S.-provided Communications Fusion Center to better interdict drug shipments.

Chile

Chile is a significant transit country for Andean cocaine destined primarily for Europe. Though Chile is not a major producer of organic or synthetic drugs, its long, porous borders with Argentina, Peru and Bolivia present special challenges to its efforts to combat drug trafficking. Restrictions on inspecting Bolivian-originated shipments (pursuant to a Bolivia-Chile treaty) especially impede efforts to interdict shipments of illegal narcotics.

The government of Chile considers counternarcotics one of its highest priorities. Chilean authorities seized 10.19 metric tons (MT) of cocaine from January through November of 2012, up 19.2 percent from the 8.55 MT seized during the same period in 2011. Authorities seized 13.01 MT of cannabis from January through November 2012, a 6.6 percent decrease compared with seizures for the same period in 2011. More than half of all cocaine seizures and almost half of all cannabis seizures occurred in Chile’s three northern regions of Arica, Tarapaca and Antofagasta. The government continued its effective implementation of its Northern Border Plan, a three-year strategy initiated in October 2010 to combat narcotics trafficking along Chile’s northern border and coastal regions. Among Chile’s major accomplishments in 2012, the Chilean Navy counternarcotics unit and Chilean customs agency seized approximately 500 kilograms (kg) of cocaine from a containerized shipment in the port city of Arica in May. The Chilean Investigative Police seized another 636 kg of cocaine base and 222 kg of marijuana in the port city of Antofagasta in June. In both instances the shipments originated in Bolivia.

The National Service for Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Rehabilitation, a service of the Ministry of Interior, operated under a $73 million budget in 2012. Chile’s national drug control commission continued offering demand reduction and drug treatment programs, including four different school-based anti-drug programs. The most recent Chilean government statistics indicate that less than one percent of the population used cocaine in 2010, and less than five percent used marijuana.

The United States partners with Chile to strengthen the capacity of Chilean institutions and to confront drug trafficking. The majority of U.S. assistance supports law enforcement training and technical capacity-building, specifically in the areas of container inspection and advanced drug interdiction techniques. Chile also coordinates assistance, dialogue and information sharing on counternarcotics with other countries in South and Central America as well as Europe.

China

A. Introduction

China is a significant destination and transit country for drugs such as heroin and cocaine, as well as a major producer of drug precursor chemicals. Domestic abuse of heroin and cocaine continues to rise, and the consumption of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine, ketamine, and MDMA (ecstasy) among the affluent and the middle class is emerging as a public health threat. Chinese organized crime groups (known as “triads”) based in southeast China control most large-scale drug and precursor chemical criminal activities in China. There are also a growing number of transnational criminal organizations from Colombia, West Africa, Iran, and Pakistan operating in China.

Heroin flowing into China from Burma, Laos, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan is smuggled in containerized cargo or fishing vessels to lucrative markets in other parts of Asia and Australia. Most synthetic drugs used in China originate from Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Europe. High grade methamphetamine is also known to have flowed into China from Burma and North Korea.

China is a major producer and exporter of precursor chemicals for legitimate industrial use. Many large chemical factories are located near coastal cities with modern port facilities, increasing the opportunity for criminal syndicates to divert legal shipments to illegal use. Most precursor chemicals seized in Mexico and Central America destined for illegal production of methamphetamine were legally exported from China and diverted en route.

China is also a significant producer and exporter of novel psychoactive substances, including synthetic cannabinoids (known by such names as “K2” and “spice”) and synthetic cathinones (stimulants sometimes called “bath salts”).

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

China’s drug control strategy, implemented by the National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC), focuses on prevention, education, crop eradication, interdiction, rehabilitation, commercial regulation, and law enforcement. The Ministry of Public Security’s Narcotics Control Bureau is the primary national narcotics enforcement entity and works in conjunction with provincial public security bureau offices. The Anti-Smuggling Bureau within the General Administration of Customs is responsible for the enforcement of China’s drug control laws at seaports, airports, and land border check points. China maintains bilateral counter-drug agreements with various countries and international organizations, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and participates in a variety of international drug conferences and bilateral meetings, including the annual International Drug Enforcement Conference hosted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

2. Supply Reduction

As reported in the 2012 NNCC annual report, Chinese law enforcement officials investigated 101,700 drug cases, arrested 112,406 drug suspects, and seized approximately 30 metric tons (MT) of illicit drugs in 2011 (the most recent year for which statistics are available). This represented an increase of 14 percent, 10 percent, and 25 percent, respectively, over the previous year. Additionally, 137 clandestine drug laboratories were raided and dismantled.

In 2011, Chinese law enforcement officials investigated 414 precursor chemical cases that resulted in the seizure of approximately 1,834 MT of precursor chemicals. Seventy-five of these cases involved illicit smuggling activities, and 339 cases were for diversion activities such as mislabeling or false declaration. Approximately 720 MT of precursor chemicals were suspended from export after pre-export-notification was carried out.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The NNCC has an outreach program to raise awareness about the negative health effects of drug abuse and to promote drug prevention. By the end of 2011, the number of registered drug users in China had reached 1.8 million, including 1.2 million heroin addicts, or 65 percent of all registered drug users. The number of registered synthetic drug users reached 587,000, or 32 percent of all registered drug users. Of this number, 146,000 were classified as new drug users.

Centers for mandatory detoxification are managed jointly by the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Justice to support HIV-positive patients in an effort to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Community-based drug rehabilitation programs developed in Yunnan province to treat drug addiction and help former addicts reintegrate into society were replicated nationwide.

4. Corruption

The Ministry of Public Security takes allegations of drug-related corruption seriously, launching investigations when it deems appropriate. Despite these efforts to stem drug-related corruption, financial corruption among lower-level provincial, prefectural, county, and district government officials continues to be a concern. To date, no senior Chinese official at the central government level is known to have facilitated the illicit production or distribution of drugs. Similarly, no senior Chinese official from the central government is known to have laundered proceeds from drug-related activities.

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives

The United States and China are parties to a mutual legal assistance agreement. Under the framework of the U.S.-China Joint Liaison Group on law enforcement cooperation, DEA and the Narcotics Control Bureau of China are parties to a memorandum of understanding that established the Bilateral Drug Intelligence Working Group. In September 2012, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and NNCC renewed a Memorandum of Intent to enhance law enforcement cooperation, facilitate exchanges of information on development of drug control policies and promote education on drug treatment, rehabilitation and prevention. In the multilateral context, China volunteered to lead the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum, a six-nation informal working group that targets maritime trafficking.

D. Conclusion

Trafficking of illegal narcotics, diversion of drug precursor chemicals, and other drug-related crime remain serious problems in China. Central government authorities continue to take steps to integrate China into regional and global counternarcotics efforts, and some progress has been seen over the years in addressing China’s domestic heroin problem through enforcement and rehabilitation. In addition, China is taking steps to address the export of large quantities of precursor chemicals to Mexico and Central America used in the production of methamphetamine for U.S. consumption by drafting effective legislation. However, China’s collaborative law enforcement efforts are hindered by cumbersome internal approval processes that often limit direct access by U.S. law enforcement officials to local counterparts at provincial Public Security Bureaus.

Colombia

A. Introduction

Colombia is a major source country for cocaine, as well as a source country for heroin and marijuana. However, the Government of Colombia continues to make important progress in its fight against the production and trafficking of illicit drugs. Due to sustained aerial and manual eradication operations and aggressive enforcement activity in 2011, potential pure cocaine production declined by 25 percent, from 260 metric tons (MT) in 2010 to 195 MT in 2011. This decline marks the lowest production level since 1994. Although figures are not yet available for 2012, the United States estimated that the area devoted to coca cultivation in 2011 was down 17 percent compared to 2010, from 100,000 to 83,000 hectares (ha). This represents a 50-percent decline in coca cultivation since 2007.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s 2010 Cocaine Signature Program, 95.5 percent of the cocaine seized in the United States in their sampling system originates in Colombia.

In 2012, the Government of Colombia continued aggressive interdiction and eradication programs, and maintained a strong extradition record for persons charged with narcotics trafficking in the United States. Colombia extradited 184 fugitives to the United States in 2012, the majority of which were wanted for drug crimes. Colombian authorities reported seizing over 279 MT of cocaine and cocaine base (both national seizures and seizures outside Colombia made with Colombian intelligence), and eliminated hundreds of tons of additional potential cocaine through the combined aerial and manual eradication of 131,035 ha of coca.

Colombian efforts against narcotics trafficking by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Army of Liberation (ELN) continue unabated. Colombia continues to confront criminal organizations known as “bandas criminals,” or BACRIMs, and achieved numerous successes against BACRIM leadership in 2012. The BACRIMs are active throughout much of the country – competing and sometimes cooperating with the FARC and other illegal armed groups in the drug trade.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Over the past ten years, Colombia has developed a strong institutional capacity to combat drug trafficking, which is often controlled and financed by the FARC and ELN (both designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations), as well as BACRIM and other narcotics trafficking organizations. These groups all use drug cultivation and trafficking proceeds to expand their influence and control and fund attacks on security forces.

In response, the Colombian government launched the National Consolidation Plan (PNC) in 2009 to focus coordinated government efforts on selected areas where violence and drug trafficking converged. Following a strategic review, the effort was re-launched in 2011 as the National Plan for Territorial Consolidation (PNCT) and authorities created the Administrative Unit for Territorial Consolidation (UACT) in January 2012 to coordinate the activities of government institutions in these areas. Much of 2012 was spent staffing and establishing the administrative, legal, and contractual guidelines for the unit’s operation. The U.S. Embassy’s Colombia Strategic Development Initiative (CSDI) coordinates U.S. support to consolidation efforts in targeted regions. Separately, Colombia’s National Security Council, focused on issues including land reform, restitution for crime victims, and transitional justice over the course of 2012. Judicial impunity reportedly declined in 2012, though serious challenges remain. Most cases are resolved through plea agreements, and a modest number through trials. The Colombian Minister of Defense participates in a tri-party group with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Mexican Attorney General to discuss counternarcotics and other issues of mutual interest.

The 1997 U.S.-Colombian maritime ship boarding agreement facilitates timely permission to board Colombian-flagged ships in international waters and is the foundation for productive counternarcotics cooperation between the Colombian Navy (COLNAV) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Colombia’s 1999 customs mutual assistance agreement with the United States provides for the exchange of information to prevent and investigate customs violations in both countries and led the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to create a Colombian-based Trade Transparency Unit. The Bilateral Narcotics Control Program – a 2004 agreement – provides the general framework for specific counternarcotics project collaborations with various Colombian implementing agencies. This agreement is amended annually and is a key vehicle for the delivery of U.S. counternarcotics assistance.

The extradition relationship between Colombia and the United States is robust and extremely productive. Since December 17, 1997, Colombia has extradited over 1,400 individuals to the United States.

2. Supply Reduction

Coca fields continue to be less productive than when eradication operations began in the late 1990s. Nevertheless, illicit cultivation continues and is a growing problem in Colombia’s national parks, indigenous reserves, and along its border with Ecuador. Colombian governmental policy prohibits aerial eradication in these areas.

Colombia’s aerial eradication program sprayed 100,549 ha in 2012. Its manual eradication goal for 2012 was 40,000 ha, but security concerns and a major reorganization of the Consolidation Unit prevented the government from reaching that goal. In 2012, 30,486 ha were eradicated, compared to 34,500 ha in 2011.

Colombian police forces reported seizures of 143 MT of cocaine and cocaine base (both 90 MT in national seizures and 53 MT of seizures made outside Colombia with Colombian intelligence); 312 MT of marijuana; 468 kilograms (kg) of heroin; and approximately 13.08 million liters of liquid and 14.54 MT of solid precursor chemicals. In addition, Colombian authorities destroyed 152 cocaine hydrochloride (HCL) labs, one heroin lab, and four potassium permanganate labs.

In 2012, the COLNAV seized 89.71 MT of cocaine (21.54 MT unilaterally and 68.17 MT working with USCG and other partners) and 6.98 MT of marijuana. COLNAV also seized five self-propelled semi-submersibles, and arrested 208 persons on drug trafficking charges.

The movement of drugs via Colombia’s numerous rivers, coastal ports and airports remains a concern. Drug seizures in Colombia’s ports have decreased, which may be the result of the Colombian government and private seaport operators’ improvements in port security. In 2012, the Colombian National Police (CNP’s) Antinarcotics Directorate (DIRAN) seized approximately 4.5 MT of cocaine in seaports across the country. DIRAN units confiscated 1.1 MT of cocaine, 30 kg of heroin, and 135 kg of marijuana at Colombia’s international airports. DIRAN arrested 498 people on drug-related charges at air and sea ports.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Colombia is committed to drug demand reduction and remains concerned about the increase in domestic consumption. Since 2007, Colombia has used the “National Policy for Reducing Substance Abuse and Its Impact,” as its political and technical framework to guide its drug demand reduction activities. To coordinate efforts across many different sectors of government, the government formed an interagency group called the National Commission for the Reduction of Drug Demand. This Commission formulates and plans national policy for reducing substance abuse and is comprised of 15 departments, led by the Ministry of Justice. Colombia officially recognizes drug dependency as an illness and has been moving to include treatment for addiction in the social security and health systems. Treatment is now included in the Mandatory Health Plan.

In 2010, the government began drafting treatment protocols for addicts, though, these protocols are not yet finalized as the Ministry of Social Protection (MSP) continues to review how the Colombian health insurance system will cover drug addiction as a medical condition. Drug treatment services in Colombia are provided primarily by private organizations. According to the national consumption study, there are nearly 300,000 people with drug dependency problems in need of treatment, and only 20,000 available beds in treatment facilities. Drug treatment services in Colombia are currently provided primarily by private organizations. The Ministry of Justice presented to the Colombian legislature the "National Statute on Drugs" at the end of October 2012 to replace 1986 legislation and identify more legal tools to prosecute drug-related illegal conduct.

In December 2009, the Colombian government approved a law that prohibited the possession and consumption of small, “personal,” amounts of illegal drugs. However, in August 2011, the Colombian Supreme Court overturned the law and set the “personal amount” of drugs at 20 grams of marijuana and one gram of cocaine.

The nationwide “Colombia: Free of Drugs” campaign, launched in 2010, continues to provide information and heighten social awareness regarding drug use. The CNP, with U.S. assistance, continues its Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program nationwide. Additionally, with UN and U.S. support, Colombia continues to implement its 2008 National Drug Consumption Reduction Plan focused on demand prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery. In 2012, the MSP introduced the Bogotá “Caring Communities” program modeled after the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) program.

4. Corruption

Colombia is committed to minimizing the illicit drug trade and corrupt acts that facilitate drug trafficking as a matter of public policy. Despite this commitment, narcotics-related corruption of some government officials exists.

Drug-related corruption remains a problem within the public security forces. On July 3, 2012, Colombia arrested retired CNP General Mauricio Santoyo for alleged links to drug trafficking organizations. He voluntarily surrendered to U.S. authorities and later pled guilty to those charges.

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives

The United States provides a range of counternarcotics assistance to the CNP and Colombian military, as well as to judicial institutions that investigate and prosecute drug traffickers. The United States also supports programs designed to develop rural policing capabilities.

The United States supports the efforts of the National Plan for Territorial Consolidation (PNCT) to move communities out of coca-based economies by dramatically expanding the presence of the state. In transition zones where the Colombian government has only recently established minimum security, the United States works with Colombia to meet urgent needs and provide longer-term assistance to ensure a permanent presence at the local level.

In 2008, the United States and Colombia began working closely to transfer operational and financial responsibility (“nationalization”) for selected counternarcotics programs from the United States to Colombia. Colombia has since successfully nationalized several programs, including the Air Bridge Denial program and the Plan Colombia Helicopter program. The latter occurred in October 2012 and marks the transfer of title and support responsibility for a total of 61 fixed and rotary-wing aircraft nationalized over the life of the program. Reflecting its increasing capability, Colombia took an important and active role in training thousands of police and justice officials from the region, including officials from Haiti, Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic. Colombia also participated in both sessions of the semi-annual Multilateral Maritime Counterdrug Summit, which includes participants from 12 Central and South American Countries to consider improved strategies and coordination against drug trafficking organizations.

At the April 2012 Summit of the Americas, President Obama and President Santos announced plans to formalize coordination of Colombian and U.S. security cooperation activities in third countries. Through the High-Level Strategic Security Dialogue, the United States and Colombia launched the Security Cooperation Coordinating Group (SCCG). The SCCG identified specific areas of coordination and collaboration in the Western Hemisphere and agreed to support activities in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama as a priority. These efforts draw on Colombia’s established and expanding expertise and capacity for countering transnational organized crime and drug trafficking.

D. Conclusion

Colombia continues to make important advances in combating the drug trade. These efforts have kept several hundred metric tons of drugs each year from reaching the United States and other markets, and have helped stabilize Colombia. Colombia is now a partner in exporting security expertise and training throughout the Western Hemisphere and Africa. Although these advances are significant, the progress is not irreversible and continued U.S. support to Colombia is needed. To lock in the gains made over the past decade, the Colombian government should devote additional resources to the PNCT to improve security, increase public service provision, build infrastructure, and generate additional economic opportunities in regions that have historically been heavily influenced by terrorist and criminal elements. Encouragingly, the Santos Administration is undertaking significant efforts in land reform and victim restitution. Formal peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC, announced in October 2012, include illicit narcotics as one of five agenda items. These negotiations will have wide-ranging political and security implications for Colombia if successful.

Costa Rica

A. Introduction

The United States estimated that more than 80 percent of the primary flow of the cocaine trafficked to the United States first transited through the Central American corridor in 2012. Costa Rica’s strategic geographic location linking narcotics producing countries in South America with the United States, its extensive Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, including the vulnerable Coco Island in the Pacific Ocean, and Costa Rica’s lack of effective patrolling of both land and sea borders all contributed to Costa Rica’s status as a drug transshipment point. The Costa Rican government expressed concern regarding the rising consumption of illicit narcotics, the increasing presence of Mexican drug trafficking organizations, and the level of drug-related violence.

President Laura Chinchilla’s administration continued to emphasize security as its top priority, implementing security taxes, investing in police resources and training, and standing up new Border Police and Internal Affairs units within the Ministry of Public Security.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies and Trends

1. Institutional Development

The Costa Rican government continued to work towards its goal, announced in 2010, of adding 4,000 officers to the national police by 2014. Taking attrition into account, Costa Rica has realized a net increase of 880 police officers, of which 230 were added in 2012.

In 2012, the Costa Rican government enacted a new tax on corporations, which provided the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) an additional important revenue stream. The Ministry of Finance estimated that the tax would generate approximately $72 to $74 million per year. Costa Rica also enacted a gaming law that includes a tax on casinos and gaming call centers. The proceeds of the tax will be directed to the Ministries of Justice and Security for prison infrastructure improvements and police equipment maintenance, respectively.

Costa Rica continued to take steps to enforce its financial and non-financial regulatory regimes to prevent and detect money laundering. However, additional efforts are necessary in certain sectors of concern, such as money remittance services. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and Judicial Investigative Police (OIJ) demonstrated their capacity to pursue complex money laundering cases through the successful prosecution of a high-profile professional soccer team owner who laundered several million dollars. Costa Rica collaborated closely with the United States to investigate and prosecute the individual. In addition, the AGO and OIJ adopted more advanced investigative techniques to further their money laundering investigations.

In 2012, Costa Rica made strides towards enhancing its police capacity. The Ministry of Public Security, with U.S. assistance, began implementing COMPSTAT, a statistical accountability and management tool. The Ministry also continued to revamp its police academy curriculum for new police officers. As a result of the Port Container Analysis/Interdiction Program created in 2011 with U.S. support, Costa Rican authorities searched 2,000 containers and seized approximately 1,064 kilograms (kg) of cocaine.

The Costa Rican Coast Guard finished construction of a new coast guard station on the Caribbean coast. The Air Surveillance Service also purchased two helicopters, and the MPS completed the $1.2 million remodeling of the Immigration facilities at the Peñas Blancas checkpoint along the border with Nicaragua.

The United States and Costa Rica actively used the 1991 extradition treaty. In 2012, Costa Rica arrested 30 fugitives sought by the United States; three were extradited, 26 were deported, and one was released. Costa Rica is one of six countries (along with Belize, the Dominican Republic, France, Guatemala and the United States) that ratified the Caribbean Regional Agreement on Maritime Counter Narcotics, which is now in force.

2. Supply Reduction

The Costa Rican Coast Guard is an under-resourced agency with limited operational capacity, making the Costa Rican coastline an attractive landing zone for smugglers. Costa Rican-flagged fishing boats continue to be used by traffickers to smuggle multi-ton shipments of drugs through the littorals and to provide fuel for “go-fast” boats that favor Pacific routes. The southern Golfito region also served as a common destination for traffickers to off-load cocaine for northern transport via the Pan-American Highway. Traffickers continue to smuggle drugs through the postal system, international courier services, containers, vehicle traffic, and via individual passengers on international flights. Traffickers use Costa Rica as a “warehouse” to store narcotics temporarily on their trip north, often landing drugs on Costa Rican shores from go-fasts and then storing them until further land- or air-based travel can be arranged. Drug traffickers pay for services rendered to local contacts with drugs instead of money, leading to domestic drug use, especially of crack cocaine, and contributing to the high street crime and sense of domestic insecurity in the country.

During 2012, the Costa Rican Drug Control Police eradicated and seized 928 metric tons (MT) of marijuana, a decrease from the 1,577 MT eradicated and seized in 2011. This decrease is due in large part to heavy rainfall that limited law enforcement access to growing regions. Cultivators likely export Costa Rican marijuana to international markets, but also support domestic consumption. Authorities seized 14.73 MT of cocaine, an increase from 11.2 MT seized in 2011. The Costa Rican government also seized 19.21 kg of heroin and confiscated approximately $6.2 million in U.S. currency and assets, an increase from $2.38 million seized in 2011. Investigations suggest DTOs intended to smuggle this currency to command and control structures within Costa Rica, rather than transiting the currency onwards to another country. Costa Rican authorities made 42,442 drug-related arrests in 2012.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The Costa Rican Institute on Drugs (ICD) oversees drug prevention efforts and educational programs throughout the country. The ICD is also responsible for producing and distributing demand reduction materials, including anti-drug abuse materials for schools. The Costa Rican Institute on Alcohol and Drug Abuse offers various prevention and treatment programs, including training for businesses on how to create prevention programs and policies, and detoxification programs and group therapy for users. The Police Prevention Unit coordinates the Uniformed Police’s drug prevention efforts. Its projects include the Secure Community Program, consisting of 22 lesson modules taught by Uniformed Police officers and directed towards adults, and the Secure Drawing Program, whereby officers present material to children through activities and drawing exercises.

In 2012, the United States supported five non-governmental organization programs to combat drug use and reduce trafficking in Costa Rica by working with youth at risk, impacting approximately 1,600 Costa Rican youth.

4. Corruption

As a matter of policy, the Government of Costa Rica 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. A 2006 Costa Rican law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally implemented these laws; however, there were reports of lower-to mid-level government corruption during the year.

Government-funded contracts and municipal governments are especially prone to corrupt practices. The Prosecutor’s Office investigated credible reports of corruption in at least ten municipal governments. Within a 15-month period, the MPS suspended more than 1,000 of the approximately 12,000 Uniformed Police officers on the force, mostly for suspected misuse of resources, abuse of authority and domestic violence. In several high profile cases, Uniformed Police officers were prosecuted for drug trafficking or other organized criminal activity. Despite the measures taken to investigate and address corruption, Costa Rican government institutions, particularly the judicial branch, lack adequate internal controls and processes to prevent, detect, and investigate corruption involving government officials. Widespread public perception of corruption among the Uniformed Police persists.

In the judiciary, there were allegations that judges’ decisions were influenced by intimidation or that they accepted payment for making decisions that favored the accused. The Supreme Court investigated and found no cases of corruption, but in some cases found procedural errors. The Judicial Inspection Tribunal, the agency tasked with investigating and sanctioning official misconduct within the Judiciary, investigated a judge who granted house arrest to Mexican nationals awaiting trial on charges of high-level drug trafficking, and after finding a serious error in the judge’s resolution, referred the case to the Supreme Court. Oftentimes, the tribunal lacks the personnel, resources, and authority to adequately investigate these types of corruption cases.

The MPS took steps to fight corruption in 2012 by restructuring its Internal Affairs Unit. This unit now sits at the ministerial level. The unit will handle cases for all law enforcement agencies within the MPS, as well as offer independence from cronyism within the individual agencies. Additionally, improved corruption investigation procedures and a digitalization project have decreased the case processing time from two years to three months. The new procedures include firm guidelines for sentencing and punishment.

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives

Costa Rica and the United States cooperate on programs to enhance the interdiction capabilities of Costa Rican authorities, disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations and improve citizen safety. The United States is focusing its cooperation on programs that lead to more effective prosecutions, promote secure borders, and foster safe communities.

In 2012, the United States continued a wide range of justice and security sector assistance to Costa Rica through the Central America Regional Security Initiative. Efforts included support to the judicial sector by supporting several investigative technique trainings in areas such as drug trafficking and money laundering. The United States is assisting the Prosecutor’s Office in a major restructuring to facilitate a more rapid processing of cases, and funded a U N Office on Drugs and Crime program with Costa Rica’s judicial school that included mock trials to improve trial techniques.

Bilateral efforts to improve border security focused on enhancing Costa Rica’s maritime interdiction capabilities, shoring up its ability to utilize targeted intelligence for containerized cargo, and assisting in the start-up of the Costa Rican government’s new Border Police. The United States supported establishment of a new Coast Guard station at Flamingo, on the northern Pacific coast, and an inspection station at Kilometer 35 on the Pan-American Highway, a natural chokepoint of roads running north from Panama, expected to be completed in January 2013. The United States and Costa Rica maintain a bilateral agreement to facilitate maritime operations against drug trafficking. In March, Costa Rica hosted the U.S.-sponsored Multilateral Maritime Counterdrug Summit, which offered an opportunity for coast guard and naval representatives from 12 South and Central American countries to improve strategies and cooperation against drug trafficking organizations.

The United States continued efforts to strengthen the capacity of the Uniformed Police. In 2012, it completed the third year of a four-year police professionalization program. With U.S. support, the Uniformed Police implemented the statistical program, COMPSTAT, throughout Region 1 of the country. This system collects and maps statistics and police responses to improve accountability at all levels of the Uniformed Police.

D. Conclusion

Costa Rica cooperates with the United States to combat drug trafficking, but due to inadequate resources and complicated bureaucracy, the country continues to suffer from drug-related violence and organized crime. As Costa Rican authorities have said, Costa Rica must allocate more resources to security to reduce the crime rate and diminish Costa Rica’s attractiveness to drug trafficking organizations. The Costa Rican government should consider more effectively leveraging its limited resources by: 1) restructuring its police and judicial institutions; 2) making greater use of advanced investigative techniques; and 3) enacting additional laws specifically targeting criminal organizations and their proceeds. Costa Rica could also strengthen its law enforcement institutions by improving systems for preventing and addressing corruption. The Costa Rican Coast Guard has the potential to become a more effective force on the littorals if sufficient resources, training, and guidance are made available. Costa Rica continued its successful regional partnerships this year and will continue to benefit from working with neighbors and learning from their experience.



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