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Diplomacy in Action

2013 INCSR: Country Reports - South Africa through Vietnam


Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Report
March 5, 2013

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South Africa

A. Introduction

South Africa remains an important market and international distribution hub for illegal narcotics, as well as a source of domestically-produced cannabis and synthetic drugs. Drug-related crimes increased in all nine provinces in 2012 for a country-wide increase of 17 percent, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS) annual crime statistics report. The South African Central Drug Authority’s (CDA) has delayed plans to launch a national narcotics database, part of the 2012-2017 National Master Plan on Drugs. A new asset forfeiture unit and an independent police corruption agency became operational in 2012, increasing tools available to South Africa to counter narcotics. The United States provided specialized training for detectives in 2012 that was well-received.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

The current draft of the CDA 2012-2017 National Master Plan calls for the creation of a nationwide database to track drug crimes more thoroughly. The plan is still in the review process.

Border control responsibility remains with the South African National Defense Force (SANDF), which struggles to control South Africa’s porous borders. In August 2012, the government instructed SANDF to assist SAPS with intelligence-driven operations in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces to decrease “gang warfare” and “drug hotspots.” The SAPS Directorate of Priority Crimes (DPCI), also known as the “Hawks,” created a Financial Asset Forfeiture Investigative Unit (FAFI) to target the organized crime syndicates that are partly responsible for drug trafficking and money laundering in South Africa. This initiative is based on provisions of the South African racketeering statute, the Prevention of Organized Crime Act (POCA), which is similar to U.S. racketeering statutes. POCA allows for the seizure of assets used in the commission of crimes and the profits from illegal activities, such as drug trafficking. The statute allows for stiffer penalties when the perpetrators are gang members.

The United States and South Africa have bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties in force. The United States and South Africa also have a letter of agreement on law enforcement and counternarcotics assistance and a customs mutual legal assistance agreement.

2. Supply reduction

Cannabis has long been cultivated in South Africa. Manufacturing of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), methaqualone (mandrax), methcathinone (khat), and methamphetamine (known locally as “tik”) is increasing, according to the CDA.

According to South Africa's annual crime statistics report released in September 2012, drug-related crime increased nationwide, rising from 150,673 between April 2010 and March 2011 to 176,307 cases between April 2011 and March 2012.

Gauteng province, with the highest urban population in South Africa, recorded a record increase of drug-related cases, up 58 percent from the prior year. Gauteng’s drug-related arrests increased from 16,457 to 25,949. Western Cape Province’s arrests increased by nine percent (from 70,588 to 77,069). Rural Mpumalanga Province, which borders Kruger National Park and Mozambique, had a 30-percent increase in drug-related arrests, from 3,178 to 4,153.

The South African Police Service achieved some law enforcement successes in 2012, thanks partly to specialized counternarcotics training as well as new tools such as the asset forfeiture legislation and the asset forfeiture investigation unit. For example:

  • In July, the DPCI arrested a man in possession of approximately $34,483 worth of methamphetamine. Police seized cannabis and equipment valued at approximately $2.3 million during a raid on a drug laboratory in the same area as the methamphetamine arrest.
  • In May, police seized 1,100 kilograms of hashish with a street value of approximately $4.4 million.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Substance abuse is a major social problem in South Africa, contributing to the overall crime rate. Drug-related crime increased in 2012. According to the CDA, the Western Cape Province continues to be affected by gang violence linked to illegal drug sales. Heroin is starting to appear on the South African drug scene, and youth in South Africa appear to be increasingly using methamphetamine, particularly in the Western Cape. A popular mixture of methamphetamine and ecstasy has become a health risk and has led to an increasing number of deaths among users. School-age children in Limpopo province chew khat and are increasingly using “kuber,” a highly addictive nicotine based drug. South Africa lacks addiction research, and treatment availability is limited, with demand widely exceeding availability.

4. Corruption

As a matter of policy, the South African government does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics or launder proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The South African government actively combats narcotics-related corruption. The government implemented an Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Act in 2012 to place greater emphasis on police corruption and enhance public confidence in the efforts of the police. This Directorate replaced the Independent Complaints Directorate with more powers and a direct line of reporting to the Minister of Police. The IPID will investigate most police-related criminality and other corruption for the SAPS.

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

The United States continued to support substance abuse and prevention programs in partnership with the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration office in South Africa provided a two-week course in Basic Narcotics Investigations in September in Pretoria to 14 SAPS and nine Tanzanian Police Force members. The SAPS has requested additional iterations of this course for 2013.

D. Conclusion

Drug use has not abated in South Africa. There is still a lack of sufficient information to formulate an adequate profile on drug addiction victims. The SAPS is committed to improving the counternarcotics investigative skills of its detectives and achieving greater success with drug interdiction efforts. South Africa's Prevention of Organized Crime Act, particularly its robust new asset forfeiture provisions, is proving a useful tool in the war against illicit drugs. The country’s new asset forfeiture unit should play an increasing role in countering organized drug sales and trafficking. The United States encourages South Africa to build on these incremental steps and finalize its National Master Plan to provide a unified strategy for reducing the supply and consumption of illicit drugs.

Spain

Spain remains an important European transit point to Europe for narcotics originating in Latin America and for hashish from Morocco, especially via its North African exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. There was an increase in the use of small aircraft to move hashish shipments as an alternate to sea-based shipments. There is growing concern over possible consolidation of links between drug trafficking networks in Latin America and West Africa, though there is no evidence of greater inflows of cocaine via North Africa. A shift continues away from large containerized shipments from Latin America to smaller more dispersed shipments transiting North Africa. Spanish law enforcement efforts continued to achieve success through a robust combination of border control and coastal monitoring, sophisticated application of technology, domestic police action, and international cooperation.

The UN 2012 World Report on Drugs noted that usage rates of cannabis and cocaine among Spanish citizens declined modestly, although rates remain amongst the highest in Europe, especially among the 15 to 34 age group. Despite drastic cuts in the 2012 national budget, funding for counternarcotics programs were largely unaffected. Thirty percent of assets seized in counternarcotics operations continued to go towards supply reduction programs, supplementing operational budgets.

Domestic drug production is minor. There is limited marijuana production and a small number of labs involved in cutting, mixing, and reconstituting cocaine products. Law enforcement seizures declined for hashish (3.9 percent), cocaine (1.7 percent), and MDMA (43.2 percent) in the first six months of 2012. In contrast, seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants increased 9.2 percent and heroin by 25.5 percent.

Spain enjoyed excellent bilateral and multilateral law enforcement cooperation in 2012. Cooperation on EU operations in the Mediterranean improved, and EU funds are being used to construct an EU command and control center to oversee maritime operations. Spain provides law enforcement liaisons to two EU operational platforms in Dakar, Senegal and Accra, Ghana, and law enforcement cooperation improved with countries in Latin America. In a joint operation with Venezuela, authorities seized 5.644 metric tons of cocaine and dismantled the largest drug-trafficking and money laundering organization in Spain’s history. U.S. law enforcement agencies maintained strong working relationships with Spanish police services, resulting in multiple significant cocaine seizures in 2012.

Suriname

A. Introduction

Suriname is a transit zone for South American cocaine en route to Europe, Africa and, to a lesser extent, the United States. Suriname’s sparsely populated coastal region and isolated jungle interior, together with weak border controls and infrastructure, make narcotics detection and interdiction efforts difficult. Traffickers are able to move drug shipments into and through Suriname by land, water, and air with little resistance. There is little evidence of drug production in Suriname, although national police officials (widely known as “Korps Politie Suriname” in Dutch, or KPS) have advised U.S law enforcement officials of increased cultivation of cannabis.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

As a matter of official policy, the Government of Suriname is committed to combating illegal narcotics trafficking. However, Suriname’s practical ability to apprehend and prosecute narcotics traffickers remains inhibited by drug-related corruption, bureaucratic hurdles, and inadequate legislation.

Under the coordination of the Office of the President, the National Anti-Drug Council and the Ministries of Health, Justice/Police, and Education formulated the draft National Drug Master Plan for 2011-2015. The National Assembly approved the Plan, which addresses both supply and demand, in October 2011.

Suriname passed four laws intended to satisfy the recommendations of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, in order to implement common countermeasures to address the problem of criminal money laundering: a law regulating oversight of money transfer offices; an amendment on reporting unusual transactions; a law regulating bank and credit system supervision; and additional legislation on money laundering and terrorism financing.

Suriname is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and Migrant Smuggling and the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. Since 1976, Suriname has been sharing narcotics information with the Netherlands pursuant to a mutual legal assistance agreement. In 1999, the United States and Suriname completed a comprehensive bilateral maritime counternarcotics enforcement agreement that remains in force. Suriname has also signed bilateral agreements to combat drug trafficking with Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia.

Suriname has two memoranda of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that provide for a DEA presence in Suriname and the establishment of the Narcotics Intelligence Unit, a vetted unit of five to eight officers. In 2012, Suriname signed an MOU with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to participate in their Container Control Program. Current law prohibits the extradition of Surinamese nationals and this is upheld in practice.

In 2012, Suriname began the installation of an automated biometrics border control management system that will identify and record people traveling to and from Suriname at the principal airport and border crossings. Suriname also participated in the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative-funded digitized fingerprint system to link its criminal databases among the major law enforcement entities in the country as well as internationally.

2. Supply Reduction

In 2012, the Government of Suriname seized 395 kilograms (kg) of cocaine, 102 kg of cannabis, 8000 ecstasy pills and 80 grams of hashish. Two hundred and sixty-nine people were arrested for drug-related offenses, of which two hundred and sixteen cases were sent to the Office of the Attorney General for prosecution. One hundred and forty-one people were prosecuted for drug-related offenses.

Suriname is working on legislation to control precursor chemicals, but currently is unable to detect the diversion of precursor chemicals for drug production. The Government of Suriname focuses significant narcotics interdiction resources on the country’s western border with Guyana, a key route for cocaine trafficking by land and water.

Suriname’s international airport, Johan Adolf Pengel International, continues to work with the Government of Suriname and a Canadian partner to implement an air-traffic radar and control system first installed in 2010, but which is still not operational. Interdiction efforts at the airport are run by the Combating International Drug Trafficking (BID) team composed of approximately 32 KPS members. The team focuses almost exclusively on searching passengers and cargo on flights bound for the Netherlands, where the majority of narcotics are trafficked from Suriname. The use of foodstuffs to move narcotics through the airport continued in 2012. In October, 57 kg of cocaine were recovered from hollowed-out sweet potatoes.

The BID team utilizes urine test kits at the airport to identify suspected drug mules, and “sniffer dogs” for additional narcotics detection. Drug mules who evade detection in Suriname may be arrested upon arrival in Amsterdam, where 100-percent inspection of all bags and passengers from Suriname is routine.

The bulk of cocaine smuggled from Suriname to Europe and Africa occurs via container cargo. Smaller fishing vessels also carry drugs out to sea and transfer them to large freight vessels in international waters. The Government of Suriname is working to create a coast guard, though its current maritime capability is limited. Suriname does not operate a maritime radar system to track movements at sea.

There is local cultivation of cannabis in Suriname but little data exists on the amount under cultivation. There was one seizure of 20 kg at the Zorg en Hoop Airport from luggage intended for Guyana. However, there is no additional evidence that cannabis is exported in significant quantities.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The Organization of American States’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission will begin a survey on Suriname’s drug consumption in 2013. A new National Anti-Drug Council was installed in 2012 and worked to raise drug awareness, held prevention meetings with children, parents, and teachers and focused efforts on educating dropouts. There is one government-run detoxification center that is free of charge; other treatment centers are run by non-governmental organizations.

4. Corruption

During 2012, the Government of Suriname officially maintained its commitment to combat narcotics trafficking and took measures to apprehend government officials for drug-related corruption. However, corruption remained pervasive throughout all levels of government and there was evidence of drug-related corruption among government officials.

Two high-level officials within the Suriname government have previous convictions for drug trafficking: President Desire Bouterse and Member of Parliament Ronnie Brunswijk have been convicted in absentia in separate court cases in the Netherlands. France also has an outstanding arrest warrant for Brunswijk on similar charges. Neither has served the sentence associated with the conviction, as Suriname does not extradite its citizens.

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

In 2012, the United States provided training, technical assistance and material support to several elements of the KPS, as well as to the Suriname Navy and other maritime authorities. The operational effectiveness of Suriname’s law enforcement institutions continued to be hampered by government reorganization efforts within the law enforcement structures and unfilled vacancies within law enforcement units.

D. Conclusion

The United States encourages the Government of Suriname to increase efforts to pursue major narcotics traffickers, dismantle their organizations, and strengthen regional and international cooperation. Additionally, the United States encourages Suriname to work to eliminate bureaucratic obstacles that limit law enforcement’s effectiveness and to continue to develop the capacity of its counternarcotics-focused units. Suriname’s participation in UNODC’s Container Control Program is a positive sign that the Government of Suriname intends to improve enforcement at seaports, the primary conduits for shipments of narcotics exiting Suriname. Increased monitoring and protection of porous borders and the interior with a radar detection system and adequate air support to conduct arrests in Suriname’s interior should also be a priority.

Taiwan

Taiwan is neither a major transshipment point for nor a significant producer of illicit narcotics. Aggressive law enforcement action targeting domestic production, coupled with enhanced surveillance of smuggling routes, led to reduced availability and higher black market prices for all categories of illicit drugs and diverted precursor chemicals in 2012.

Seizures decreased in all categories except ketamine, which increased by 85 percent from the previous year. A serious problem in Taiwan, ketamine remains popular among teenagers as a party drug due to its perceived low potential for addiction and the absence of criminal penalties for possession of small amounts (less than 20 grams). China is the source of 80 percent of the ketamine seized or sold in Taiwan. Consumption of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) is also a significant domestic problem, but greater efforts to monitor sales of legally produced precursor chemicals and aggressive efforts to identify and seize illegal drug factories have significantly decreased domestic ATS production. In August, authorities reported seizing 77 kilograms of heroin originating from Cambodia – the largest heroin seizure in ten years.

The Ministry of Justice leads Taiwan's counternarcotics efforts with respect to manpower, budgetary, and legislative responsibilities. The Ministry of Justice Investigations Bureau, National Police Agency, Coast Guard, Customs Directorate, and Military Police contribute to counternarcotics efforts and cooperate on joint investigations, openly sharing information with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and other law enforcement counterparts in the Asia Pacific region. Taiwan's undercover and electronic surveillance laws hamper law enforcement efforts to investigate drug cases, while geographic challenges limit authorities' abilities to provide long-term witness protection.

Addiction is viewed primarily as a health issue, and efforts focus on treatment, rehabilitation, and support of recovering addicts. The criminal justice system offers users the option of voluntary long-term treatment in lieu of incarceration. Most prisons lack the infrastructure and resources to treat addicts, and the recidivism rate is high.

Taiwan's inability to participate in the United Nations and other international organizations presents obstacles to its full involvement in regional and international counternarcotics efforts. However, Taiwan continues to forge relationships with other Asia-Pacific countries, including China, to exchange drug intelligence resulting in drug seizures and arrests.

Although there is no bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and Taiwan, a bilateral mutual legal assistance agreement is in place through which Taiwan regularly affords mutual legal assistance to U.S. counterparts.

Tajikistan

A. Introduction

Tajikistan is a major transit country for heroin moving from Afghanistan to Russia and Eastern Europe. Tajikistan shares a 749-mile border with Afghanistan, where more than 80 percent of the world’s opium and heroin originates. Drug trafficking contributes to corruption throughout all levels of the Tajik government and is a revenue source for militants and terrorists in Afghanistan.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that about approximately 90 metric tons (MT) of the heroin produced in Afghanistan is smuggled through Central Asia, and that between 75 and 80 MT of heroin is smuggled through Tajikistan each year.

Reported domestic consumption in Tajikistan is relatively low, with only 7,255 registered addicts. However, UNODC and the International Red Cross Society estimate that about 70,000 people regularly use opiates in the country. These estimates suggest that roughly one percent of the population is addicted to opium or heroin.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

In 2010, the Government of Tajikistan adopted a National Border Management Strategy (NBMS), drafted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In August 2011, President Emomali Rahmon took the first step toward implementing the NBMS when he established an Inter-Agency Secretariat to oversee it. However, the government has yet to fully implement the Strategy. Since September 2011, the Secretariat has not convened and some Ministries have opposed its formation

2. Supply Reduction

According to Tajikistan’s Drug Control Agency (DCA), in 2012 law enforcement agencies seized 5.98 MT of narcotics, 41 percent more than in 2011. Of this amount, 515 kg were heroin; 627 kg were opium; and 4.83 MT were cannabis. Cannabis seizures increased by 49.6 percent, and for the second year in a row, accounted for about 80 percent of total seizures. Heroin seizures increased slightly by one percent and opium by 28 percent.

All government agencies increased their seizure rates in 2012 with the exception of the DCA, which experienced a 2.6 percent decrease. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) seized 2.56 MT of narcotics. The State Committee on National Security (GKNB) dramatically increased seizures since 2010 from just seven kg up to 2.38 MT, almost equaling the DCA. The Customs Service continues to seize the least amount of drugs, but increased their total by 11 percent in 2012, reaching 65.6 kg. In addition to the drugs listed above, the DCA reported an increase in synthetic drugs transiting Tajikistan, and confiscated a small amount, including barbiturates and benzodiazepine. One seizure in May reportedly interdicted 63 kg of methamphetamine, according to media reports.

UNODC estimates that 70 to 75 percent of opiates are transported by truck or other vehicle through Central Asia. Air and rail account for another 15 to 25 percent of trafficking, possibly utilizing direct flights and rail lines from southern Tajikistan to Moscow. Low-level smugglers often use body concealment to transport drugs by air. Better connected traffickers hide drugs in all types of goods, especially concrete, which makes up the bulk of truck cargo from Afghanistan, and obstructs the detection power of scanners and drug sniffing dogs. If smugglers are unable to use official border crossing points (BCPs), they must cross the Panj River from Afghanistan on rafts, or they simply wade across in areas where the water level is low.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Tajikistan’s Ministry of Health funds five drug rehabilitation centers throughout the country, with 295 beds and 52 doctors. Over 80 percent of the 7,255 registered drug addicts in the country are addicted to heroin. Women account for less than four percent of registered drug users. Over 55 percent of Tajik citizens infected with HIV are intravenous drug users. The United States sponsors a "Dialogue on HIV and TB Project" which provides technical assistance, training, and direct outreach services to treatment centers and drug users.

In October 2012, the United States concluded a year-long drug demand reduction program which used a community-based approach to educate youth about the dangers of drugs and provide them with healthy alternatives to drug use such as sports, music, art, theater, and dance. The DCA self-financed similar campaigns to spread an anti-drug message. The Ministry of Health has developed a five-year DDR program that builds on DCA activities.

4. Corruption

Based on UNODC estimates that Central Asia received $1.4 billion in profits from the drug trade in 2010, the value of the illicit drug trade could be equivalent to as much as 21 percent of Tajikistan’s gross domestic product. The scale of profits to be made and the extremely low salaries of law enforcement officers create strong incentives for facilitating the drug trade in Tajikistan.

As a matter of government policy, the Government of the Tajikistan does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, the DCA does not monitor drug-related criminal cases, which are sometimes dismissed for connected individuals, or used by corrupt officials to go after internal opponents. In the past year, several law enforcement officials, including the brother of the First Deputy Head of the GKNB and the head of MVD’s counternarcotics department were arrested and prosecuted for drug trafficking and corruption.

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

The United States continues to provide salary supplements to Tajikistan’s DCA, and will also support an elite DCA unit as part of the Central Asia Counternarcotics Initiative. Since 2003, the United States has provided $11.3 million to the DCA. The United States and the DCA support a Drug Liaison Office (DLO) in Taloqan, Afghanistan, where DCA officers work with Afghan officials to prevent drug smuggling from Afghanistan to Tajikistan. While DCA’s seizure rates declined in 2012, the efforts of the DLOs led to significant seizures and destruction of several drug laboratories in Afghanistan.

In July, the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Military Cooperation (OMC) organized training for Customs officials operating U.S.-provided vehicle scanners at the Nizhny-Panj BCP on the Tajik-Afghan border. Despite efforts to improve operator techniques and repair technical problems, the scanners remain underused and have produced negligible drug seizures. In June, the customs chief at Nizhny-Panj was arrested for corruption.

D. Conclusion

The significant increase in drug seizures this year is a sign of progress, but continued lack of commitment to implement the NBMS, negligible seizures at the U.S.-built Nizhny-Panj BCP, and cases of high-level corruption continue to hinder the success of counternarcotics programs in Tajikistan. However, the Government of Tajikistan has shown a strong willingness to combat militants and extremists crossing into Tajikistan. The United States plans to build on this shared goal to engender more robust cooperation on border security and counternarcotics.

Thailand

A. Introduction

Thailand is a transit and destination country for illicit narcotics. Heroin and methamphetamine move from Burma directly across Thailand’s northern border and indirectly via Laos and Cambodia for consumers in Thailand and for export markets. Most marijuana consumed in Thailand is grown along the Laos-Thailand border.

2011 saw a significant growth in the seizure of heroin, methamphetamine tablets (in Thai: yaa-baa), crystal methamphetamine, and MDMA (ecstasy). The cultivation of opium and cannabis, and production of amphetamine-type stimulants, remain minimal. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Thai authorities eradicated 205 hectares (ha) of poppy in 2012, a decrease of 1 percent from 2011 when 208 ha were eradicated. While notable, this decrease should not be judged as a significant trend in opium cultivation and heroin use in Thailand. The small quantities of opium produced in Thailand are primarily intended for local consumption by hill tribe growers.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Responding to the growing and widespread problem of methamphetamine abuse, the Thai government implemented a comprehensive anti-drug campaign beginning in September 2011. The new national policy aims to reduce drug-related social problems, the number of drug addicts, and recidivism, and to increase awareness of the dangers of drug use.

Thailand’s counternarcotics assets are insufficient to patrol the long and remote borders with Laos, Burma, and Cambodia. Thailand continues to increase its efforts to coordinate with neighboring law enforcement entities, assisted by U.S. support for equipment and training, to enhance effectiveness and cooperation.

The United States and Thailand have extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties in force. Thailand is among the most effective and cooperative partners of the United States in Southeast Asia.

2. Supply Reduction

Drug seizures by Thai law enforcement agencies continued to increase throughout 2011 and into 2012. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has worked closely with Thai law enforcement on joint investigations, resulting in the successful disruption of several international drug trafficking organizations. One investigation resulted in the seizure of 4,164,800 methamphetamine tablets (416 kg) and 153 kg of crystal methamphetamine.

Heroin seizures in Thailand significantly decreased during the first eight months of 2012 and were on pace to be the lowest since 2006. Between January and August 2012, 71.9 kg of heroin were seized, compared to 540.7 kg for 2011. This decline, however, has been largely offset by higher methamphetamine seizures (582 million seized tablets over the first 8 months of 2012, compared to 54 million for all of 2011). Burma-based traffickers are believed to produce thousands of kilograms of methamphetamine annually, in both tablet and crystal form, for regional export. A substantial portion is trafficked into Thailand, where it remains the primary drug of abuse. In addition, Iran and Africa-sourced crystal methamphetamine continues to enter the country, though at much lower detected quantities than in 2011.

Thailand has a small domestic market for ecstasy and cocaine, largely among affluent residents in large cities, as well as tourists and expats in Thailand. Ecstasy is customarily smuggled into Thailand on commercial aircraft from Europe, although Malaysia remains a primary route for ecstasy entering southern Thailand. Limited quantities of cocaine continue to be imported into Thailand, mostly destined for international markets. While the cocaine market is still largely controlled by African drug syndicates, South American and Chinese trafficking groups are also involved in the regional importation of bulk quantities, typically for export to China, Hong Kong, and Australia.

Marijuana remains less visible, but is readily available in Thailand and throughout the region. Marijuana is domestically cultivated in limited quantities, with bulk shipments imported from Laos for domestic use and regional export. Kratom (mitragyna speciosa), a local drug with modest psychotropic properties, is grown locally and consumed primarily in Thailand’s southern provinces.

Ketamine use appears to be limited to use as an alternative to methamphetamine tablets. Seizures of ketamine within Thailand have declined greatly in 2012, with 2.3 kg seized from January to August 2012, compared to 77.9 kg seized in 2011. Most of the ketamine entering Thailand is transshipped from other countries, specifically India, Malaysia, and Singapore. Thailand-based enterprises continue to market steroids and human growth hormone for worldwide sale.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Thailand carries out comprehensive demand reduction programs, combining drug abuse prevention programs with treatment for addicts. According to the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, drug treatment programs have reached over 550,000 drug addicts since the government announced its counternarcotics priorities in September of 2011, with nearly 400,000 of those being voluntary cases. The Thai government also invests in building awareness of the perils of drug addiction, but the effectiveness of awareness programs is difficult to gauge, with the methamphetamine problem growing rather than shrinking. Heroin and opium usage remain relatively low and stable.

4. Corruption

As a matter of policy, the Thai government does not permit, encourage, or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic/psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of drug proceeds, by individuals or government agencies. However, corruption remains a problem in Thailand, some officials are susceptible to bribery. No current senior Thai government official is known to have engaged in those types of activities, but drug-related corruption at working levels is likely, given the volume and value of drugs consumed in and moving through Thailand.

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

Thailand and the United States enjoy a strong cooperative relationship. U.S. law enforcement agencies receive willing cooperation from their Thai counterparts and are supported at the highest levels of Thai government. Thailand is one of several countries in which DEA maintains Sensitive Investigative Units (SIUs). Thai SIU participants receive specialized training and undergo a rigorous vetting process.

Additionally, the United States provides a stream of training and assistance to Thai law enforcement and criminal justice entities on some of Thailand’s top priorities, including counternarcotics. Through the U.S.-funded International Law Enforcement Academy and other programs, the U.S. and Thailand are working to enhance regional cooperation to combat transnational crime. The U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force West provides wide-ranging support, including training, equipment, and infrastructure.

Thailand also took part in the U.S.-led Gulf of Thailand Initiative, an ongoing maritime law enforcement capacity building initiative involving Southeast Asian states.

D. Conclusion

The U.S. government enjoys a particularly close and collaborative relationship with Thai law enforcement. The U.S. government has encouraged laws and regulations more closely aligned with international standards, and helped Thailand develop more consistent adherence to rule of law principles. All such activities contribute to the fight against illicit drug trafficking and other transnational crime.

The United States will continue to work with Thailand to build on drug control successes in all phases of the effort, from reducing the demand for illegal drugs to law enforcement cooperation leading to the criminal convictions of drug traffickers. U.S. efforts will continue to: promote greater cooperation between police and prosecutors; promote legal and institutional development related to narcotics control; help Thailand combat corruption; and bolster regional cooperation.

Trinidad and Tobago

A. Introduction

Trinidad and Tobago’s location, porous borders, and direct transportation routes to Europe, West Africa, Canada, and the United States make it an ideal location for cocaine and marijuana transshipment. Drug production and use in Trinidad and Tobago (TT) centers on marijuana, but other drugs, including cocaine, heroin, solvents, pharmaceuticals, and ecstasy, are also available.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has long struggled to effectively coordinate and adequately fund its counternarcotics efforts. Interdiction efforts are robust and continuing, but overall seizures in 2012 were down from 2011. Treatment efforts for cocaine addiction, including crack cocaine, place a significant burden on rehabilitation facilities. Many state-supported drug prevention and treatment programs must raise additional operating funds from local and international donors. Sustainability, corruption, and gaps in legislative and organizational implementation remain challenges to the country’s efforts to curb the trafficking and use of illegal narcotics.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Trinidad and Tobago’s drug control institutions continue to be challenged by deficiencies in staffing, organization, funding, and interagency communication. Barriers to interagency communication persist as supply-side operational units only work together on specific cases and do not trust one another due to allegations and rumors of corruption. Operational units are also heavily dependent upon international donors for physical assets such as cars, computers, or tactical equipment that repeatedly go unfunded by government budget streams.

The National Drug Council (NDC) and National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Programme (NADAPP) received funding increases in TT’s 2013 budget. These funds will be used to expand demand reduction programs, public awareness campaigns, and usage studies. Furthermore, the NDC, working closely with the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD) and the Canadian High Commission, launched a pilot drug treatment court for chemically dependent offenders in September and plans to open two more pilot courts in the first half of 2013. The NDC is also leading the revision of the National Anti-Drug Plan (2008-2012) of Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago’s mutual legal assistance treaties with the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom remain in force. The United States also maintains a maritime law enforcement agreement, an extradition treaty, and a narcotics control and law enforcement letter of agreement with Trinidad and Tobago. Several pieces of anti-crime legislation progressed on the path to proclamation in 2012, most notably regarding asset forfeiture, electronic monitoring, and the admission of DNA into evidence.

2. Supply Reduction

Marijuana is the only known locally produced illicit narcotic. Producers are small farmers, often families seeking additional income. Crop production may be interspersed among other crops or planted intermittently among dense vegetation in the mountainous regions. There is no average field size or large controlling syndicate, but local producers compete with imports from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Grenada, and Guyana.

Other illicit substance operations – primarily cocaine, but also small amounts of heroin and ecstasy – are trafficked through the country by international organized crime groups operating in Trinidad and Tobago, exploiting its close proximity to Venezuela and weaknesses at ports of entry. The main destination for these substances is the European market.

Law enforcement entities in Trinidad and Tobago seized 146.3 kilograms (kg) of cocaine and 2.26 metric tons of marijuana in 2012 and made five major seizures at seaports during the year. National seizures and interdictions, however, were down for the year in comparison to 2011, while trends in importation, production, and usage are conjectured to have remained static. The root cause for the decrease in seizures is unknown, but may be attributable to cyclical variations in trafficking methodologies, which commonly result in seizure reductions for a period of time.

Similarly, narcotics prosecutions, convictions, and extraditions continued to remain low relative to the scale of drug trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago. While 4,027 people were arrested for possession and another 468 for trafficking, only 58 small scale traffickers were convicted during the year.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Most information on drug-use trends in Trinidad and Tobago is anecdotal, as empirical evidence on usage trends is limited. The National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Programme, in cooperation with the National Drug Council, plan to conclude secondary school and prison-based usage surveys in early 2013.

The primary drug used in Trinidad and Tobago is marijuana, with cocaine, including crack cocaine, the second-most frequently used drug. Use of ecstasy, solvents, pharmaceuticals, and heroin has been reported. Rehabilitation providers are particularly concerned by the increasingly younger age of initiation into drug usage and the growing availability of heroin.

The rising price of drugs, specifically of the so-called “black” cigarettes that combine tobacco and marijuana with cocaine, indicates that the middle and upper classes are increasingly involved in recreational drug use. Given the close-knit nature of Trinidad and Tobago society, wealthier or politically affiliated persons would seek or send family members to treatment in Antigua, Barbados, or the United States. On Tobago, the main tourist destination, visitors are partly responsible for the demand.

There are 10 substance abuse residential rehabilitation programs that are publicly and privately supported, providing less than 200 beds for a population of 1.2 million. Only one facility, with 14 beds, specifically addresses the needs of female addicts and their minor dependents. There is no residential rehabilitation program specifically designated for minors, so most are placed in delinquent youth homes operated by religious organizations or receive out-patient treatment. Non-governmental organizations, religious groups, and hospitals also provide treatment options, as well as inpatient, outpatient and prison-based modalities that last from several weeks to two years.

Drug prevention efforts include school education at all levels; training for educators; anti-drug media campaigns; and special event outreach. Outreach programs are performed by the NADAPP in conjunction with rehabilitation facility counselors and members of the police services. The government is working to strengthen its programs with the assistance of OAS/CICAD.

4. Corruption

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago neither encourages nor facilitates illicit production or distribution of drugs nor the laundering of proceeds from the sale of illicit drugs. No charges of drug-related corruption were filed against senior government officials in 2012. Media and anecdotal reports of corruption in the ranks of the Police Service, Defense Force, Customs and Excise Division, and port employees are common.

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

The United States government’s regional security partnership, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), began in 2010 with goals of reducing illicit trafficking, increasing public safety and security, and promoting social justice. Trinidad and Tobago’s CBSI programming focuses on law enforcement, military strengthening, youth development, juvenile justice, and demand reduction. In 2012, the United States trained hundreds of military and law enforcement personnel, with specific courses on tactical event management, the use of intercept software for law enforcement intelligence gathering, and canine handler training. Training was also provided to Trinidad and Tobago’s Coast Guard to boost maritime law enforcement capacity.

Regional projects are also underway in maritime and aerial domain awareness; law enforcement information-sharing; law enforcement capacity-building; corrections reform; criminal justice reform; preventing financial crimes; demand reduction; and reducing illicit trafficking in firearms.

D. Conclusion

The entities and individuals working to combat narcotics in Trinidad and Tobago face considerable challenges and insufficient support from political leadership. Additional reforms are necessary to expedite case prosecution, revise outdated laws, and establish an evidence-based criminal justice system as fundamental prerequisites for raising conviction rates and deterring traffickers. Insufficient interagency cooperation and information sharing remain concerns. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago should take concrete steps to address these issues in order to improve the country’s narcotics control efforts in the coming years.

Turkey

A. Introduction

Turkey remains a significant transit country for illicit drug trafficking. Heroin, opium, and cocaine are generally trafficked through Turkey to European markets, and methamphetamine and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) are trafficked to markets in the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia. Large amounts of opiates and precursor chemicals continue to be seized in Turkey, and the Government of Turkey remains committed to upholding its international drug control obligations.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

The Turkish National Police (TNP) is the country’s most proactive counterdrug force and has jurisdiction for drug-related crimes in urban areas. The Jandarma, a branch of the Turkish Armed Forces responsible for rural areas outside the jurisdiction of the TNP, also plays a significant role. TNP intelligence frequently leads to rural areas, in which case the two agencies conduct investigations and seizures together. Turkey’s Coast Guard, under the Ministry of Interior, has some counternarcotics responsibilities under, and the Ministry of Customs and Trade’s Directorate General of Customs Guards is the Turkish counterpart to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The Ministry of Health (MOH) is responsible for issues relating to importation of chemicals for legitimate use. The Ministry of Finance oversees the financial intelligence unit, which investigates potential money laundering activities.

The Turkish International Academy Against Drugs and Crime (TADOC) is an important resource for providing advanced training to law enforcement professionals from within Turkey and across neighboring states. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) sponsors training sessions at TADOC for narcotics police from Central Asia and other states. TADOC also partners with the NATO-Russia Council, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency and other mutual security organizations in the planning and execution of training projects, instructor fellowship exchanges, and workshops throughout the region.

U.S.-Turkey extradition and mutual legal assistance relations are governed by the 1981 U.S.-Turkey extradition and mutual legal assistance treaty.

2. Supply Reduction

Most heroin trafficked via Turkey is marketed in Western Europe, where Turkish-based traffickers control much of the distribution. Turkey also acts as a transit route for opium smuggled overland from Afghanistan via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia en route to Western Europe. Major Turkish smugglers are frequently involved in both heroin sales and transport, as well as limited production and smuggling of synthetic drugs. Some criminal elements in Turkey reportedly have interests in heroin laboratories operating in Iran near Turkey’s border. Heroin increasingly arrives in Turkey as a finished product from Afghanistan. Turkish authorities have stated that no labs have been detected in Turkey since 2008.

Turkey also serves as a transit route for methamphetamine smuggled from Iran and bound for markets in Southeast Asia, as well as ATS originating in Eastern Europe bound for countries in the Middle East. Methamphetamine is more widely available in Turkey, and authorities fear that local addicts will turn to this less expensive drug.

Cocaine arrives from either South America or via trans-shipment locations in West Africa. TNP intelligence indicates most cocaine transported to Turkey is brought via couriers onboard commercial aircrafts. Seizures indicate cocaine is predominantly hidden inside passenger luggage or hidden on persons. Many West African drug smugglers in Turkey have obtained citizenship through marriage with Turkish nationals.

Cannabis, primarily as hashish, enters Turkey through Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Albania, and is primarily for local consumption. Turkey also acts as a transit route for opium smuggled overland from Afghanistan via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia en route to Western Europe. While the Balkan Route into Western Europe remains heavily used, intelligence suggests that traffickers also use a more northerly route through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine.

Turkey and India are the only two licit traditional poppy-growing countries recognized by the United States Government and the International Narcotics Control Board. Opium is produced in Turkey under strict domestic controls and international treaty obligations. The Turkish Grain Board strictly controls licit opium poppy cultivation and pharmaceutical morphine production, with no apparent diversion into the illicit market.

The TNP uses TADOC to train officers on interdiction and investigation techniques to fight trafficking. Border control initiatives and upgrades include the deployment of x-ray machines and ion scanners to Turkey’s Eastern borders.

Turkish-based heroin traffickers operate in conjunction with smugglers, laboratory operators, and money launderers who finance and control the smuggling of drugs into Turkey from Afghanistan. Many major drug traffickers in Turkey are ethnic Kurds or Iranians. In recent years, many ethnic Kurdish traffickers have expanded operations to larger cities in Turkey and other countries in Europe. In February 2012, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who ran significant drug trafficking networks based in Moldova and Romania, and in July, an estimated 1700 Turkish police and soldiers participated in a major crackdown on drug trafficking by the PKK in southeast Turkey.

Drug proceeds are often moved to and through Turkey informally, despite the fact only banks and authorized money transfer companies can legally move money. Money exchange bureaus, jewelry stores, and other businesses believed to be part of the hawala banking system are investigated only if the business is directly tied to an existing drug or other criminal investigation.

Over the first nine months of 2012, Turkish authorities seized slightly over 11.1 metric tons (MT) of heroin, more than twice the total seized in 2011. Seizures of ATS (1,746,000 tablets) increased by approximately 30 percent, and seizures of methamphetamine increased from 70 kilograms (kg) in 2011 to approximately 446 kg in 2012.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The Turkish Science Committee for Methods of Drug Addiction is responsible for the national coordination of treatment. Its main tasks are to monitor, accredit and evaluate treatment services. Drug-related treatment is provided mainly by public agencies, private entities and non-governmental organizations and is mainly funded through the state and health insurance.

Most Turkish treatment services for drug abusers are aimed at achieving a drug-free life and dealing with addiction in general and not specifically for users of illicit drugs. These programs include psychotherapeutic and supporting methods, with the majority of drug-related treatment services taking place within inpatient settings.

While abuse remains modest in scale in Turkey compared to other countries, the number of addicts seeking treatment is increasing. The Ministry of Health has responsibility for promoting drug awareness and providing treatment, but it remains under-funded and does not conduct regular, periodic drug abuse surveys.

4. Corruption

As a matter of government policy, Turkey does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Similarly, no senior level government official is alleged to have participated in such activities in 2012.

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

The United States works closely with Turkey to offer regional training opportunities to Turkish Law Enforcement officials throughout the country and at the TADOC center to provide additional tools to Turkish officials and their international counterparts. Turkey hosts several international counter drug forums with goals to enhance investigative abilities, cooperation, and relationships between international law enforcement agencies.

D. Conclusion

Turkish law enforcement agencies remain strongly committed to disrupting illicit drug trafficking. The United States will continue to work with Turkish law enforcement agencies to strengthen Turkey’s ability to combat drug trafficking, money-laundering, and financial crimes. The United States will also continue to support Turkey’s work as a regional leader in counternarcotics training and education.

Turkmenistan

A. Introduction

Turkmenistan is a transshipment route for Afghan opiates destined for Turkish, Russian and European markets, either directly or through Iran. It is not, however, a major producer or source country for illegal drugs or precursor chemicals. Most illegal drug seizures occur along Turkmenistan’s rugged and remote 446-mile border with Afghanistan and its 595-mile frontier with Iran.

Counternarcotics efforts continue to be a government policy priority. Although reliable statistics remain difficult to obtain, internal narcotics sales reportedly dropped in 2012 due to a government decision to end the granting of pardons to prisoners previously convicted of drug-related crimes.

Turkmenistan continues its limited cooperation with international organizations and diplomatic missions, but its law enforcement agencies are still hampered by a lack of resources, training and equipment.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

The Government of Turkmenistan directs the bulk of its law enforcement resources and manpower towards stopping the flow of drugs either directly from Afghanistan or via Iran. Common methods of transporting illegal narcotics include concealment in cargo and passenger vehicles, deliveries by pedestrian carriers, and in some cases, by concealment in the stomach or body cavities of humans and animals. Commercial truck traffic from Iran continues to be heavy, and Caspian Sea ferry traffic from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and Russia continues to be an opportune smuggling route.

President Berdimuhamedov continued to stress in official settings that combating drug trafficking should be a consistent and uncompromising priority for his administration. Internal narcotics sales have reportedly dropped since President Berdimuhamedov stopped pardoning prisoners previously convicted of drug-related crimes. The price of heroin, opium and marijuana, though generally lower along established drug trafficking routes, continues to be high in the population centers, reflecting decreased supply. The State Counter Narcotics Service of Turkmenistan (SCNS) held a "drug burn" ceremony destroying 635 kilograms (kg) of narcotics in June, an event that coincided with the UN International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

In August, the SCNS was renamed the State Service of Turkmenistan for the Protection and Security of a Healthy Society. The government also adopted a law governing the treatment of persons suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, or dependence on psychoactive substances in March. The new law reduced the period of compulsory treatment from one-two years to six months.

In May, the SCNS concluded an inter-agency agreement with Iran’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. The agreement envisages bilateral cooperation on the control of narcotics, and promotes the exchange of information and other joint activities. The United States does not have a bilateral extradition treaty with Turkmenistan.

2. Supply Reduction

According to official statistics, the total amount of narcotics seized in Turkmenistan over the first six months of 2012 totaled 635 kg. This is on pace to exceed 2011 numbers, the most recent year for which full annual statistics are available, when 747.6 kg were seized. Most seizures appear to be of raw opium. Officials seized over 11.6 metric tons (MT) of “nass” – a smokeless powder produced from dried plant leaves which produces a slight narcotic effect when placed under the tongue – along the Uzbekistan border in August 2012. The substance, which was banned in Turkmenistan in 2009, was hidden in a shipment of cement being sent by rail into Turkmenistan. There is no evidence of synthetic drug production in Turkmenistan, and the government reported no seizures of synthetic drugs in 2012 or 2011.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The Ministry of Health operates six drug treatment clinics and one out-patient facility for drug addicts in Ashgabat, as well as a Psychological and Narcological Hospital in the Ilyaly district of Dashoguz province, and one in each of other four provincial administrative centers. Addicts can receive free de-toxification treatment at these clinics without revealing their identity as clinic visits are kept confidential. Additionally, each of the hospitals has fee-based treatment facilities which cost approximately $10 per day. The only available drug abuse-related statistics are more than six years old. The statistics from this period show that the total number of registered intravenous drug users nearly tripled during this period, to 33,697 official users, most of whom were male.

Citing more recent information, the UNODC office in Ashgabat reported in September 2011 that there were 26,312 registered drug users in Turkmenistan in 2010, down from 28,978 registered users in 2009. Heroin users were reported to constitute the bulk of registered addicts. Government-run facilities provided specialized, inpatient treatment to 16,495 patients. The services offered nationwide by the government included a referral system for specialized services, treatment planning, detoxification, counseling, HIV prevention and testing, and counseling. It is likely that a significant number of drug users are not registered and thus not reflected in these statistics.

In honor of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in June 2012, the United States renewed its “Sport against Drugs” Small Grant Program to assist Turkmenistan’s registered sport unions, federations and organizations to implement projects and activities promoting a healthy lifestyle free of narcotics for the country’s citizenry. Recipients used the funds to organize sporting events, competitions, shows, workshops and other public activities.

4. Corruption

The Government of Turkmenistan does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics or other controlled substances. Nevertheless, law enforcement officials' low salaries and broad powers foster an environment in which corruption occurs. A general distrust of the police by the public, fueled by evidence of police officers soliciting bribes, indicates a problematic level of corruption in law enforcement. Payments to junior officials at border crossing points to facilitate passage of smuggled goods occur frequently. Allegations persist that law enforcement officials are directly linked to the drug trade.

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

In March 2012, the United States launched the sixth round of English Language Training classes for law enforcement officials. Twenty-three officials graduated from the course in September. By expanding English-language competency among Turkmen law enforcement officers, the course increases the potential for international cooperation, including training opportunities and information sharing.

Also in March, the United States organized two, one-week advanced drug enforcement seminars for 24 SCNS officers in Ashgabat and 14 SCNS officers in Turkmenabat. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Central Asia Regional Training Team (CARTT) experts resident in Almaty, Kazakhstan conducted the training.

On August 24, the U.S. and Turkmenistan governments signed a modification to the existing bilateral letter of agreement on narcotics control and law enforcement assistance. The modification provides an additional $250,000 to improve the State Counter Narcotics Service’s training facility.

D. Conclusion

The Turkmen government has begun to acknowledge openly the country’s narcotics trafficking and drug abuse problems. Law enforcement efforts targeting drug cultivation and drug trafficking receives high profile coverage in state-controlled media. The government has conducted public awareness efforts to discourage illegal drug successfully throughout the country. The Turkmen government’s efforts to provide drug seizure reports seem to indicate a desire for enhanced cooperation with international donors.

The U.S. government plans to expand counternarcotics law enforcement agency training, in particular with DEA’s CARTT. Capacity building will continue to focus on supply reduction through interdiction training, law enforcement institution building, the promotion of regional cooperation, and the exchange of drug-related intelligence. The U.S. government will also encourage the Government of Turkmenistan to intensify long-term demand reduction efforts and to continue its partnership with international organizations such as UNODC and regional bodies such as the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center.

Ukraine

Although Ukraine is not a major drug producing country, its location astride several important drug trafficking routes into Western Europe makes it an important transit country. Ukraine’s numerous ports on the Black and Azov seas, its extensive river routes, and its porous northern and eastern borders make Ukraine an attractive route for drug traffickers into the European Union’s illegal drug market.

Heroin from Afghanistan is trafficked to Ukraine through routes in Russia, the Caucasus, and Turkey. Latin American cocaine is moved through seaports and airports for both domestic use and further transit to EU countries. Ukrainian law enforcement occasionally seizes large quantities of drugs in commercial shipments transiting southern ports. The largest in 2012 was 38.3 kilograms of cocaine seized in Illichivsk port in a shipment of pineapples. More commonly, drugs are found in small quantities, ranging from several grams to several hundred grams.

The use of synthetic drugs and psychotropic substances, especially amphetamines, has been rapidly increasing in Ukraine over the past decade following the general trend in Europe. Synthetic drugs are trafficked to Ukraine primarily from Poland, Lithuania, and the Netherlands, but they are also produced locally in small clandestine labs.

Most domestic drug abuse continues to be focused, however, on drugs made from regionally grown narcotic plants (hemp and poppy), which account for more than 90 percent of the total drug market in Ukraine. In most instances these drugs are either locally produced or supplied from Russia or Moldova.

The number of registered drug addicts has dropped slightly from 151,786 in 2011 to 147,876 in 2012. However, various experts estimate the total number of actual drug addicts in Ukraine is much higher, between 300,000 and 500,000. As a matter of policy, the Ukrainian government does not promote or condone drug trafficking. However, corruption, including drug related corruption is a significant problem.

The Ukrainian Government continues to implement its five year (2010-15) anti-drug plan, aimed at a "balanced but persistent" policy of prevention, control, and enforcement. In pursuit of this policy, Ukraine works with United States and other international partners as opportunities present themselves.

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) role as a sea and air transportation hub, in addition to its proximity to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, has made the country a target for the transshipment of heroin and other narcotics. Increased volumes of drug seizures since 2010 indicate that traffickers may be increasingly utilizing the UAE as a staging point to warehouse, stockpile, and distribute narcotics. There is no evidence of major drug cultivation or production in the UAE.

Between January and early October 2012, UAE authorities interdicted approximately 720 drug smuggling attempts and successfully convicted 1,022 smugglers related to those incidents, according to press reports. This represents a 13-percent increase from a similar period the previous year, resulting primarily from increased bilateral cooperation between the Department of Anti-Narcotics in Dubai and international law enforcement partners as well as awareness campaigns resulting in better collaboration with residents.

The UAE has a zero-tolerance policy towards illegal drug use and drug trafficking is a severe criminal offense. The rate of illegal drug use in the UAE is low by international standards. The most common drug threats are hashish, illegal pharmaceutical drugs, and heroin. Of the pharmaceutical drugs, fenethylline, a methamphetamine-related drug, may be the most widely-available drug in the Persian Gulf. Additionally, a synthetic drug marketed as “spice,” targeted to youth drug users has become a growing problem. The UAE banned the drug in May.

The UAE government has made significant commitments of financial and human resources toward building new drug control institutions and conducting counter-narcotics law enforcement operations. The UAE hosts and funds a UN Office on Drug and Crime semi-regional office.

The UAE Government coordinates with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Dubai office to combat drug trafficking organizations based in the UAE and the region. In 2012, this cooperation resulted in the sharing of information on 40 drug couriers and the subsequent arrest of a majority of those suspects. DEA also works with the Dubai police in schools to increase drug awareness. UAE law enforcement officials also coordinate with the Abu Dhabi and Dubai offices of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations to investigate smuggling in the UAE and neighboring countries. These investigations include shipments of contraband in cargo containers and/or by passengers traveling through air, land, and sea borders throughout the region.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) is a consumer country of illicit drugs. Like other developed nations, the UK faces a serious domestic drug problem. Crime syndicates from around the world exploit the underground narcotics market and sometimes use the UK as a transshipment route. The UK plays an important role in the khat (Catha edulis) trade, serving as the most significant transshipment route to the United States and Canada. More than 90 percent of the heroin sold in the UK originates from Afghanistan and is trafficked through Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and the Balkans. The UK is an active U.S. partner on counternarcotics efforts worldwide, particularly in Afghanistan, West Africa, and the Caribbean.

Cannabis is the most widely used drug in the UK, followed by cocaine as the second most used drug. Organized criminals often use the proceeds from trafficking in cannabis to fund other illicit activities

The UK has a robust drug-control institutional capability. The UK published a National Security Strategy in 2010 that identified transnational organized crime, which includes drug trafficking, as a priority. The Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) is the current lead agency that tackles drug trafficking and drug-related crime. In July 2010, the Home Secretary released the government’s plans, in a document entitled “Policing in the 21st Century,” to absorb SOCA into a National Crime Agency in an effort to address these issues at the national level. The changes set forth in the Home Secretary’s plan will be implemented in 2013.

Excellent bilateral cooperation on illicit drug enforcement continues between U.S. and UK authorities. For example, the United States and UK have a memorandum of understanding allowing joint operations from the platforms of UK naval vessels in the Caribbean. Cooperation on extradition and mutual legal assistance in drug-related cases is strong. Additionally, UK and U.S. authorities continue to collaborate in multinational joint operations such as Operation Rubix Cube, which focuses on West African criminal organizations smuggling narcotics to the United States and European Union. The United States has also supported the Metropolitan Police Service with khat trafficking and terrorist financing investigations. UK authorities are actively engaged in cyber-crime enforcement, particularly as it relates to trafficking in counterfeit or gray market pharmaceuticals.

Uruguay

Although Uruguay is not a major narcotics-producing country, foreign drug traffickers take advantage of its strategic maritime location and borders with Argentina and Brazil, using Uruguay as a base for logistics and transit operations. Local consumption of the highly addictive and inexpensive cocaine base product, “pasta base,” remains a serious problem. The Uruguayan government proposed controversial legislation in 2012 to legalize the sale of marijuana through government dispensaries. The draft legislation remained pending at year’s end.

Uruguay’s demand reduction strategy focuses on prevention, rehabilitation, and treatment, and pays special attention to “pasta base.” The National Drug Rehabilitation Center trains health care professionals and sponsors teacher training, public outreach, and other programs. The National Anti-Drug Secretariat trains educators to run an anti-drug program for adolescents, and Uruguayan government’s interagency treatment and prevention program Portal Amarillo serves addicts seeking help. The National Drug Police (DGRTID) continued to implement Uruguay’s 2009-2012 National Plan against Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering, which focused on coordinating interagency efforts to combat drug-related illicit activities.

In national and multi-jurisdictional counternarcotics operations, the DGRTID seized 647 kilograms (kg) of cocaine in 2012. The DGRTID also seized 194 kg of “pasta base,” 1.84 metric tons of marijuana, and just under four kg of lidocaine, a chemical precursor often procured inexpensively in Uruguay and smuggled into Brazil to be mixed with pure cocaine.

In May 2012, Uruguay’s National Drug Board released the results of a 2011 U.S. government-supported survey, reporting that 8.3 percent of Uruguayans (between the ages of 15 and 65) had used marijuana in the previous twelve months, while 1.9 percent had used cocaine in the previous twelve months. In 2012, U.S. assistance included support to demand reduction programs and operational assistance from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) office in Buenos Aires. In September, DEA opened an office in Montevideo. The Uruguayan Navy received training from the United States in maritime law enforcement, port security, search and rescue, container inspections, and canine interdiction units.

The United States and Uruguay are parties to a bilateral extradition treaty (since 1984) and mutual legal assistance treaty (since 1994).

Uzbekistan

A. Introduction

Uzbekistan is a major transit country for heroin, opium and marijuana moving from Afghanistan through Central Asia to markets in Russia and Europe. Uzbekistan shares an 85-mile border with Afghanistan and borders every other Central Asian country. In addition to 134 legal crossing points, Uzbekistan’s borders include thousands of miles of rugged terrain that is difficult to police and affords drug traffickers opportunities to enter Uzbekistan’s territory undetected. Superior infrastructure relative to its neighbors, difficult to control borders, and corruption have all led to Uzbekistan becoming a transit route for Afghan drugs to international markets.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Uzbek law enforcement agencies continue to develop their counternarcotics capacity with assistance from the United States.

In September 2012, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Interior (MOI). This document lays the legal foundation for increasing communication, information sharing, and conducting bilateral law enforcement counterdrug investigations.

In 2012, the United States continued specialized training for Uzbek law enforcement and prosecutors. Training covered anti-money laundering, financial investigations, ethics and anticorruption, and investigation techniques. In 2012, Government of Uzbekistan agencies used U.S.-funded training and equipment in counternarcotics activities. U.S. assistance also provided training and equipment to Uzbek border-control agencies that, as an offshoot to their main objectives, increased drug interdiction capacity.

The United States does not currently have an extradition treaty or mutual legal assistance agreement in place with Uzbekistan.

2. Supply Reduction

The Government of Uzbekistan continues to list combating drug trafficking and associated criminal activity as one of its three major security goals.

Uzbekistan is generally a leader among Central Asian states in seizing illicit narcotics. This reflects the strength of its police, customs, and national security service, bolstered by assistance from the U.S. government and other international organizations such as UNODC, which receives funding from the United States and other donors.

Uzbek officials continue to note that the long, rugged, poorly protected border with Tajikistan, not the 85-mile border with Afghanistan, is their biggest border security concern. To emphasize this, the government-controlled press routinely reports on drug seizures from trains, vehicles, and travelers originating in Tajikistan. Because it does not see membership in regional organizations as beneficial, Uzbekistan is developing its border security policies largely in isolation from other Central Asian countries, which significantly reduces the overall effectiveness. It is, however, a full member of the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center and participates in a number of regional UNODC and European Union projects. Uzbekistan hosts the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia and provides rent-free premises.

The Uzbek National Center for Drug Control, the coordinating agency for counternarcotics in Uzbekistan, reported that drug seizures over the first nine months of 2012 decreased by 46.5 percent over the same period in 2011, to 2.56 metric tons. Seized drugs consisted of marijuana (48.3 percent), opium (23.8 percent), poppy straw (12.8 percent), heroin (8.0 percent), and hashish (7.1 percent).

Although Uzbekistan is not a significant producer of illegal narcotics, in 2011 over 11,000 Uzbek law enforcement officers carried out the annual countrywide eradication campaign, but eliminated only 2.59 hectares of illicit crops.

Uzbek law enforcement reports that they are seeing Iranian methamphetamine transiting Uzbekistan on its way to Southeast Asian countries.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Official data on drug use is unreliable. In 2011, the Government of Uzbekistan reported 18,179 illegal drug users, a decrease of 3.9 percent. UNODC, however, estimates that there are over 100,000 intravenous drug users in Uzbekistan.

Neighborhood drug education programs, demand reduction, and some treatment programs are available, though they are widely considered to be inadequate. Only recently has drug addiction been treated as a chronic disease, and not as a crime.

In 2012, Uzbekistan turned down a U.S.-proposed and funded Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) pilot project in schools.

4. Corruption

In March 2012, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released its final Anticorruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Program report. The report commended Uzbekistan for its efforts to raise awareness and educate public officials on corruption, but found little evidence of progress in the criminalization of corruption or increased integrity in the public sector.

As a matter of policy, the Government of Uzbekistan does not encourage or facilitate the production or distribution of illegal narcotics. However, corruption continues to permeate all levels of government, with either tacit approval of or participation by high government officials. UNODC found that border security continues to be compromised through the regular occurrence of bribes and informal payments at border crossings. In many such cases, officials are being paid to overlook illicit activity rather than to participate in the smuggling process.

In 2012, government media reported the arrests of corrupt government officials. Yet, with very few exceptions, reports highlighted the arrests of administrative personnel rather than law enforcement personnel.

At the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the United States continued funding its UNODC-implemented anticorruption program in Uzbekistan. The program is focused on developing and strengthening the legal framework in Uzbekistan against corruption.

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

Counternarcotics cooperation between the United States and Uzbekistan continues to grow, paralleling the trajectory of the overall bilateral relationship. The September 2012 MOU signing is a landmark event that provides the legal framework for the bilateral counternarcotics partnership to expand rapidly into areas such as joint investigations, previously severely limited.

Increased capacity through training is one of the cornerstones of Uzbekistan’s counternarcotics strategy. The continuing implementation of the DEA Central Asia Regional Training Team in Almaty, Kazakhstan helps to address this priority by providing direct law enforcement and counterdrug training to law enforcement agencies in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia. Uzbek officers also participate in the NATO-Russia Council Counternarcotics Training Project.

In 2012, the United States launched a pilot program to address illicit financing and build investigative capacity within the Uzbek Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) by embedding two Uzbeks FIU officers within a DEA Money Laundering Enforcement Group. The Uzbek FIU is a relatively new division (established in 2006), allowing further investigation of suspicious financial transactions.

D. Conclusion

The completion of the Uzbek Ministry of Interior’s MOU with DEA was a landmark event in the growth of bilateral counternarcotics cooperation. The MOU signing highlights the political will of the Government of Uzbekistan to address the challenges of drug trafficking and transit through the country. In the coming year the United States will focus on implementing the operational activities for which the MOU provides a framework.

As training and technical assistance provided by the United States becomes more institutionalized and part of the everyday operations of Uzbek law enforcement, the ability of these agencies to investigate and interdict illicit counternarcotics in Uzbekistan should continue to grow and become self-sustaining.

Venezuela

A. Introduction

In 2012, Venezuela remained a major drug-transit country. Its easily permeated western border with Colombia, weak judicial system, sporadic international counternarcotics cooperation, generally permissive law enforcement, and a corrupt political environment have made Venezuela one of the preferred trafficking routes for cocaine from South America to the Eastern Caribbean, Central America, the United States, western Africa, and Europe.

Limited coca cultivation occurs along Venezuela’s border with Colombia. Low-grade marijuana is grown in various parts of Venezuela but is not exported due to its poor quality. Some precursor chemicals are trafficked through the country. According to a 2009 drug-consumption study by the Venezuelan National Anti-Narcotics Office (ONA), illegal drug use remained a problem, with marijuana being the most commonly consumed illicit drug, followed by “crack” cocaine and “basuco” (cocaine paste). Effective prosecution of drug traffickers is hindered by corruption and a lack of judicial independence.

The President of the United States determined in 2012 that Venezuela had failed demonstrably to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements, though a waiver allowing for continued assistance was granted in the interests of national security. Bilateral counternarcotics cooperation between Venezuela and the United States is limited. Although a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, Venezuela has not signed the addendum to the 1978 bilateral counternarcotics memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United States that was negotiated in 2005. Additionally, Venezuelan law enforcement lacks the equipment, training, and reach to match the resources and scope of major drug trafficking organizations.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

In June, Venezuela introduced a security program, Mission Life for All, which incorporated anti-drug efforts led by the ONA. The program calls for prevention efforts that include sports, music, and educational activities.

Mission Life for All built upon ONA’s National Anti-Drug Plan for 2009-2013 which promoted the creation of state and municipal anti-drug offices to implement national policies. The Plan originally proposed the creation of a counternarcotics judicial jurisdiction – composed of specially trained judges and personnel – to expedite prosecution of drug-related offenses, but no implementation of this proposal was apparent in 2012.

The 2010 Organic Law on Drugs replaced the previous Organic Law on Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances and, among other things, increased potential penalties for drug trafficking and gave ONA the authority to seize and use assets of individuals connected with drug trafficking. In 2012, evidence of enforcement of this directive was not made available.

The Venezuelan government has signed bilateral law enforcement agreements with the United States, including a mutual legal assistance treaty that entered into force in March 2004. The U.S. and the Venezuelan governments also signed a customs mutual assistance agreement as well as a 1991 bilateral maritime counterdrug agreement, updated in 1997, that authorizes the United States to board suspect Venezuelan-flagged vessels in international waters with Venezuelan permission. The U.S. and Venezuelan governments also signed a bilateral MOU concerning counternarcotics cooperation in 1978 but, since 2005, Venezuela has not signed an addendum that would extend the agreement.

Venezuela is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. Venezuela remains an active member of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission.

The United States and Venezuela are parties to an extradition treaty that entered into force in 1923; however, the treaty has limited application, as the 1999 Venezuelan constitution bars the extradition of Venezuelan nationals. Venezuela periodically deports non-Venezuelan nationals to the United States.

2. Supply Reduction

Venezuela remains a major transit country for cocaine shipments via aerial, terrestrial, and maritime routes. According to a U.S. government estimate, approximately 161 to 212 metric tons (MT) of cocaine likely departed from Venezuela to global destinations in 2011, the same as in 2010. Suspected narcotics trafficking flights depart from Venezuelan states bordering Colombia. Nearly all of the illicit drug flights arriving in Honduras originate from Venezuela. Large cargo containers, fishing vessels, and “go-fast” boats are used to move cocaine out of Venezuela via maritime routes.

The vast majority of illicit narcotics that transited Venezuela during 2012 were destined for the Eastern Caribbean, Central America, the United States, West Africa, and Europe. Colombian drug trafficking organizations, including the Los Rastrojos, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), facilitate the transshipment of narcotics through Venezuela. Media reports alleged that elements of Venezuela’s security forces directly assisted these organizations and also reported on the presence of Mexican drug trafficking organizations in Venezuela, including the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas.

The Venezuelan government reports drug seizures, arrests, and destruction of drugs and airstrips on an ad hoc basis. It is not a member of the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange System and does not share data or evidence needed to verify seizures or the destruction of illicit drugs. According to Minister of the Interior and Justice Nestor Luis Reverol, who also serves as President of the ONA, Venezuelan authorities seized 45 MT of illegal drugs in 2012, compared to 42 MT in 2011 and 63 MT in 2010. Of the 45 MT figure, cocaine comprised 60.15 percent and marijuana 39.58 percent. The 2011 UN World Drug Report noted that cocaine seizures in Venezuela “peaked at 59 metric tons in 2005, and have fallen to approximately one half that level since then, amounting to 28 metric tons in 2009.” Anecdotal evidence indicates that Venezuelan authorities pad their measurements by including suitcases and equipment in weigh-ins.

The Venezuelan government reported that during 2012, operations “Centinela” and “Boquete Jaque” led to the seizures of drugs, aircraft, and precursor chemicals, as well as the destruction of drug laboratories and clandestine airstrips. According to government agencies, as of September 21, 2012, the Venezuelan government seized 25 aircraft involved in illicit drug trafficking, destroyed 36 clandestine drug trafficking airstrips in the state of Apure, and dismantled 22 drug processing labs. The Venezuelan government reported in 2012 that it performed 7,403 counternarcotics operations and arrested 9,692 suspects in related cases, 220 of whom were foreigners from 23 different countries.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The use of illegal drugs in Venezuela remained a significant problem in 2012. The 2012 UN World Drug Report noted that cocaine use among adults grew to 0.7 percent in 2011, a small increase from the previous estimate of 0.6 per cent. It also reported that cannabis use grew to 1.7 percent from 0.9 in 2010, and that opioid use was at 0.03 percent.

The Venezuelan government incorporated drug abuse prevention efforts into its new security program, Mission Life for All, in June 2012. The program focuses on the 79 Venezuelan municipalities with the highest crime rates, and in September of 2012, the ONA director for demand reduction announced that ONA would visit 26,000 schools as part of the Mission. The ONA effort is designed to educate students on the dangers and prevent use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. In November, Venezuelan officials stated that they funded 697 social prevention programs during 2012. Non-governmental organizations throughout the country offer drug abuse awareness, demand reduction, and treatment programs.

4. Corruption

Public corruption continued to be a major problem in Venezuela and likely bolstered the use of Venezuela by drug trafficking organizations to move and smuggle illegal drugs. As a matter of stated government policy, the Venezuelan government does not encourage or facilitate illegal activity associated with drug trafficking. Senior government officials are, however, believed to have engaged in drug trafficking activity. In 2008, the former Minister of Defense, Henry Rangel Silva, the Vice Minister of Integrated Systems and Penal Investigations; former Director of Military Intelligence, General Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios; and the former Minister of Interior and Justice, Ramón Emilio Rodríguez Chacín, were designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as having assisted the narcotics trafficking activities of the FARC.

In 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department designated four other senior government officials, including Major General Cliver Antonio Alcalá Cordones and National Assembly Deputy Freddy Alirio Bernal Rosales for acting on behalf of the FARC. The Venezuelan government did not take action against these or other government and military officials known to be linked to the FARC.

The 2010 Organic Law on Drugs imposes penalties, ranging from eight to 18 years in prison, on military and security officials convicted of participating in or facilitating narcotics trafficking. In 2012, however, there was no public information available regarding investigations of senior government officials involved in drug trafficking.

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

The Venezuelan government has maintained only limited, case-by-case counternarcotics cooperation with the United States since the cessation of formal cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2005. Since 2005, the United States has proposed that the Venezuelan government sign an addendum to the 1978 U.S.-Venezuelan bilateral counternarcotics MOU that would allow for expanded cooperation. Venezuelan officials regularly made clear that Venezuela would neither sign a bilateral agreement nor cooperate with the United States on counternarcotics. The Venezuelan government rarely shares information with the United States on money laundering or drug trafficking. Since 2009, when former Interior and Justice Minister El Aissami prohibited police officers from receiving training abroad without the Ministry's prior approval, Venezuelan law enforcement authorities have not participated in U.S.-sponsored counternarcotics training programs.

Bilateral cooperation with the United States in 2012 included of the deportation of Puerto Rican Oscar “Cali” Martínez Hernández to the United States. In 2012, Venezuela detained four Colombian citizens who are wanted by the United States and deported all but one of them to Colombia in November.

The Venezuelan government continued to permit U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) boarding of Venezuelan-flagged vessels suspected of engaging in narcotics trafficking in international waters. During 2012, the Venezuelan government cooperated with the USCG in five maritime drug interdiction cases, compared to three cases in 2011 and nine in 2010. The United States is unaware of the Venezuelan Navy or Coast Guard making any drug seizures independently.

D. Conclusion

In 2012, Venezuela maintained minimal counternarcotics cooperation with Colombia and deported some fugitives to the United States, Colombia, and other countries. As in prior years, the United States remains prepared to deepen cooperation with Venezuela to help counter the increasing flow of cocaine and other illegal drugs transiting Venezuelan territory. Productive cooperation would require a change in Venezuelan government policy, and could be improved through a formal re-engagement between Venezuelan and U.S. law enforcement agencies on counternarcotics issues. One specific avenue for improving the counternarcotics relationship is for Venezuela to sign the addendum to the 1978 MOU. Signature and enforcement of this agreement could allow for joint counternarcotics projects and demand reduction programs. Other areas of cooperation could possibly include counternarcotics and anti-money laundering training programs for law enforcement and other officials. Such training would require the Venezuelan government to permit law enforcement officials to participate in capacity-building programs hosted by other countries.

Better and more transparent cooperation with the United States could also improve Venezuela’s port security, and reduce Venezuela’s role as a major drug transit country. Port security programs could help Venezuela assess security at its major seaports and develop best practices for enhanced maritime security. Since the last assessment in 2004, the Venezuelan government has denied permission for U.S. officials to return to conduct an updated assessment.

These cooperative activities and actions could increase the exchange of information and ultimately lead to more drug-related arrests, help dismantle organized criminal networks, aid in the prosecution of criminals engaged in narcotics trafficking, and stem the flow of illicit drugs transiting through Venezuela.

Vietnam

Vietnam remains an attractive illicit drug transshipment point for local and international criminal organizations, including West African drug syndicates. Abuse of amphetamine type-stimulants (ATS) appears to be increasing among urban youth. Cultivation and production of illicit narcotics in Vietnam remains limited. Vietnamese law enforcement in the last year detected Vietnamese and foreign nationals smuggling illicit narcotics from China, Laos, and Cambodia through Vietnam and onwards to Australia, Canada, and the United States. In addition to conventional land- and sea-based drug trafficking routes, increasing use of commercial aviation routes has been observed during the first six months of 2012. Official statistics show heroin continues to be the most widely abused drug among users, at 85 percent of all registered cases.

The Government of Vietnam is committed to implementing a comprehensive national drug control policy. The Prime Minister allocated $121 million for drug-control efforts between 2012 and 2015 through a new national target program approved on August 31, 2012. In June 2012, Vietnam ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC). In July, Vietnam’s National Assembly passed the Administrative Violations Law which mandates judicial review for admission of drug users to compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centers (commonly known as “06 Centers”) beginning in January 2014.

Between January and August 2012, Vietnam’s law enforcement forces detected 14,070 cases of drug trafficking involving 20,576 suspects, a five- to seven- percent increase in activity compared to the same period in 2011. Seizures of illicit narcotics continue to be dominated by heroin, with smaller amounts of opium, cannabis, and ATS.

Vietnam works closely with neighboring countries to carry out interdiction operations, including through newly established border liaison offices on both sides of the Sino-Vietnamese border with support from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The United States promotes counternarcotics information sharing and coordination of operations between Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and also supports capacity building efforts within the Ministry. The United States supports Methadone Maintenance Therapy for over 10,000 drug users, thereby lowering their risk for HIV infection and transmission.

Vietnam also took part in the U.S.-led Gulf of Thailand Initiative, an ongoing maritime law enforcement capacity building initiative involving Southeast Asian states. The United States also provided maritime law enforcement training to the Vietnamese Maritime Police and hosted two Vietnamese officers at a Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement Officer course in the United States.



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