Country Reports - Slovakia through Zambia
Slovakia is not a major exporter of drugs. Cannabis and synthetic drugs are mostly produced locally for the domestic market and are mostly distributed without the involvement of organized crime. Cocaine and heroin are however, imported by organized criminal groups. Synthetic drugs, including methamphetamine (pervitine), Ecstasy (MDMA), and MCPP are of the most concern to Slovak authorities, as they are popular among youth and can result in severe health and social problems for users. Slovak Police reported a fourfold increase in seizures of wet cannabis and significant increases in seizures of pervitine and heroin in calendar year 2008 as compared to 2007. Slovakia is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Cannabis is the most commonly abused narcotic in Slovakia; according to police estimates, eighty to ninety percent of the cannabis produced in Slovakia is cultivated by Vietnamese criminal groups. Local cannabis production is on the increase, especially hydroponically grown cannabis with sharply increased THC content. Police believe consumer interest in hydroponically grown cannabis, attributable to experience with higher-THC varieties imported from Western Europe, has driven growth in this sector. However, Slovak production of cannabis now exceeds domestic demand, and police are seeing some exports to neighboring countries.
Interest in synthetic drugs, especially pervitine, has driven an increase in local processing and production, as well as in the trade of precursors including ephedrine and pharmaceuticals from which ephedrine can be extracted. Slovak authorities have determined that over the past 5 years, methamphetamine has become the second most abused narcotic, and attribute the rising interest to its low price, accessibility, and the greater effect it provides in comparison to more traditional stimulants such as cocaine. Ecstasy is imported from Hungary, Poland, and the Netherlands.
Officials report the market for heroin and cocaine is saturated. Supplies remain high while prices are historically low despite the seizure of nearly three times as much cocaine in 2007 as compared to 2006. Authorities believe heroin is usually imported from the Balkans by organized groups of ethnic-Albanian criminals, working in concert with ethnic-Turkish groups that move it from points of production. The same ethnic-Albanian groups largely control the trade in cocaine, which is usually of South American origin, and passes through the Caribbean or West Africa before reaching Slovakia. Pricier narcotics, including cocaine and heroin, remain modestly more prevalent in the wealthier west( e.g., in the Bratislava and Trnava regions). However, police believe that many heroin users are switching to pervitine, as it is cheaper and easier to obtain.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. In 2008, the National Program for the Fight against Drugs 2005-2008 was evaluated and the National Drug Strategy 2009-2012 was developed for relevant ministries and regional authorities in accordance with the European Union Action plans.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The valid Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure became effective January 1, 2006. Sections 171 and 135 of the Penal Code set a maximum sentence of three years incarceration for possession of up to three doses of any narcotic substance, and up to five years for possession of 4-10 doses. Possession of more than 10 doses is considered possession for other than personal consumption and is punishable by 10-15 years imprisonment. In calendar year 2008, Slovak authorities pursued 2,449 criminal cases involving illegal narcotics. Heroin—281 cases involving seizure of 12.6 kilograms of powder, and 43 cases involving seizure of 11.69 ml of solution. Cannabis—1,198 cases involving seizure of 71.25 kilograms of dry herb, 32 cases involving seizure of 703 kilograms of wet herb, and 19 cases involving seizure of 50 g of hashish. Cocaine—31 cases involving seizure of 599.56 g of powder, and one case of 378.38 kilograms of solution. Methamphetamines—771 cases involving seizure of 1.5 kilograms of powder, and 34 cases involving seizure of 13.74 ml of solution. MDMA—53 cases involving seizure of 3,753 tablets, and 3 cases involving seizure of 31.88 g of powder. MCPP—3 cases involving seizure of 8 tablets, and 1 case involving seizure of 0.13 g of powder. Amphetamine—2 cases involving seizure of 38.57g of powder. Psilocin (mushrooms)—8 cases involving seizure of 47.78 g of mushrooms. Ephedrine—14cases involving seizure of 2,108 tablets. Pseudoephedrine—18 cases involving seizure of 1.1 kilograms of powder, and 3 cases involving seizure of 14 ml of solution. There were also several additional cases involving the seizure of small amounts of synthetic drugs and abused prescription drugs.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Government of Slovakia 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. Corruption more generally, however, remains a concern in both the public and private spheres.
Agreements and Treaties. Slovakia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Slovakia is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. The U.S. and Slovakia have a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement. Extradition between the United States and Slovakia is governed by the 1925 extradition treaty between the U.S. and Czechoslovakia and a 1935 supplementary treaty. As an EU member, Slovakia has signed bilateral instruments with the U.S. implementing the 2003 U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements. Both countries have ratified these agreements. The agreements will enter into force on February 1, 2010.
Cultivation/Production. Cannabis is increasingly cultivated in laboratory conditions as a “hydroponic crop.” Under such conditions, it is possible to cultivate and harvest multiple crops of cannabis with elevated tetrahydrocanabinol (THC) each year. Seeds are mainly imported from the Netherlands, although authorities report increasing cases of cannabis grown from locally produced, high-quality hybrids. Cannabis was mainly grown in family homes and rented commercial properties. Slovak authorities report that a small but increasing portion of the locally produced cannabis crop is exported.
Over the last 5 years, methamphetamine production and use has steadily increased in Slovakia. It is now the second most prevalent drug after cannabis. Slovak authorities believe the increase in production is driven by increasing domestic demand. Pervitine, produced from ephedrine and/or pseudoephedrine, is produced in special “laboratories,” which produce bulk amounts of a high quality, and in small “kitchen labs”. Although the “kitchen labs” produce a lower quality product less efficiently, authorities believe they were more popular with suppliers for their low start-up costs and ease of transport. Slovak-made pervitine was also found on the Hungarian, Austrian, and Czech markets. The precursor for its production, in a powder form, is more difficult to obtain in the Czech Republic now due to domestic Czech legislation controlling such substances. Precursors in the form of tablets were mainly imported from Hungary and Turkey. Locally available over the counter (OTC) medicines, as well as OTC imports from Hungary and Austria, were also used for the production of pervitine. Slovak authorities concluded that Paralenom Plus, Modafen, Nurofen Plus, Disophrol, Repetabs and Clarinase were the most commonly abused domestically available OTC inputs. As of January1, 2008, there were 8 OTC medicines containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine available in the Slovak Republic. Slovak authorities report that producers and dealers of pervitine usually dealt in small quantities, and rarely appeared to be associated with organized criminal groups. In most cases, Ecstasy and pervitine were distributed concurrently by the same actors, mainly at discos or cultural events catering to young adults.
Slovak producers continue to develop and experiment with new types of psychotropic and narcotic substances of synthetic origin. “MCPP,” a drug with similar effects to Ecstasy, has been produced and available in Slovakia since 2006. It is sold in the tablet form at a very low price to appeal to individuals with lower incomes, notably high school and university students. Hallucinogens, including LSD, magic mushrooms, and datura were consumed sporadically by youth and there was no organized market for these drugs. Hashish was mainly imported by tourists from Spain and Egypt.
Drug Flow/Transit. Foreign criminal groups with local contacts, especially ethnic-Albanian and Turkish groups, are thought to be responsible for most of the imports and transshipments of heroin (from Southwest Asia), and cocaine from South America and Africa. Slovak Customs officials believe that many narcotics once transshipped through Slovakia from Ukraine are now diverted north or south due to the intensely protected border. U.S. donations of training and equipment are partially credited for improvements in border security.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The National Drug Strategy 2009-2012, built on the results of its predecessor, the National Program for the Fight against Drugs (NPFD) 2004-2008, is primarily directed at activities to reduce drug demand, and to evaluate the supply and flow or drugs in the Slovak Republic. The National Strategy also defines key ministries for the implementation of prevention, including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family. Drug-use prevention is an integral part of the education process at schools. Positions for Drug Prevention Coordinators have been created at many schools, and Pedagogical and Psychological Counseling Centers have been established in each district. Since 2006, these centers have included programs that focus preventing social pathologies related to drug use, training courses for peer activists, teacher training, and methodological assistance to school psychologists and educational counselors.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The Regional Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Office in Vienna shares information with the Slovak Police Presidium on operational issues of mutual interest, and offered training for Slovak counterparts during the year. The U.S. Embassy helped facilitate the visit of a Slovak Parliamentarian and Ministry of Health officials to the United States to learn more about U.S. drug treatment and demand reduction programs.
Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to work with the Government of Slovakia to fight drug transit through Slovakia and to assist with drug treatment as appropriate.
Slovenia is not a major drug producer, but is a transit country for drugs moving to Western Europe. The Government of Slovenia (GOS) is aware that Slovenia’s geographic position makes it an attractive potential transit country for drug smugglers, and it continues to pursue active counternarcotics policies. Slovenia attained full Schengen membership on December 21, 2007 and adheres to all Schengen border control requirements. Slovenia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Heroin from Afghanistan, which transits Turkey, continues to be smuggled via the “Balkan Route” through Slovenia to Western Europe, even though a branch of the “Northern Route” through Ukraine and Poland isalso popular. Cannabis was the leading confiscated drug in 2009, as it was in the previous two years, while seizures of Ecstasy increased significantly due to cooperation with Austrian officials on a major case. Slovenia’s main cargo port, Koper, located on the North Adriatic, is a potential transit point for South American cocaine and North African cannabis destined for Western Europe. Reflecting both the continued European trend toward cocaine use and multilateral cooperation to disrupt cocaine trafficking, the September arrest in Koper of 5 individuals and seizure of weapons, cash, and cocaine resulted from the combined efforts of Slovenian, Croatian, and Italian police. Drug abuse is not yet a major problem in Slovenia, although authorities keep a wary eye on heroin abuse, due to the availability of the drug. Data on national programs to prevent drug use and reduce demand are temporarily unavailable due to an ongoing effort at the Ministry of Health to overhaul its statistical databases.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives/Accomplishments. The reduction of the supply of illicit drugs is one of the national police priorities in Slovenia. In order to ensure an efficient fight against drug trafficking, Slovenia is implementing its own national program against drugs to supplement the 2005-2012 EU strategy and action plan. Slovenia is tackling illicit drugs and related criminal offenses by conducting appropriate criminal police operations that include cooperation and information exchange at the national level as well as at the regional and international levels. Slovenia takes part in all relevant international and European fora that aim to combat organized crime groups that are involved in illicit drugs.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Law enforcement agencies seized 16,870 tablets of Ecstasy in the first 10 months of 2009 compared with 1772 in the first 10 months of 2008. In 2009 authorities seized slightly more than 168 kilograms of heroin, compared to 120 kilograms of heroin seized in 2008. In addition, police netted a little more than 1,865 kilograms of marijuana in 2009, compared to just over 245 kilograms of marijuana in 2008. Police also seized 7,020 cannabis plants in the first ten months of 2009, compared to 4,949 cannabis plants seized in 2008. Through mid-October police seized only 20 kilograms of cocaine, compared to over 169 kilograms seized in the same period in 2008. Police also seized approximately 9 kilograms of amphetamines and slightly more than 400 individual tablets of amphetamines in the first 10 months of 2008, compared to 0.75 kilograms of amphetamines and 1,000 individual tablets in 2007.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the GOS does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There is no indication that senior officials have encouraged or facilitated the production or distribution of illicit drugs. Corruption among police officials is not common.
Agreements and Treaties. Slovenia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The 1902 extradition treaty between the United States and the Kingdom of Serbia remains in force between the United States and Slovenia as a successor state. Slovenia is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. In April 2008, Slovenia acceded to the UN Convention against Corruption. In addition, the two countries have concluded, pursuant to the 2003 U.S.-EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements, protocols to the bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties, which will enter into force on February 1, 2010.
Drug Flow/Transit. Slovenia is on the “Balkan Route” for drugs moving from Afghanistan, through Turkey, a traditional refining center for heroin, and then onward to Western Europe. Some heroin is thought to transit on so-called “TIR” trucks, long-haul trucks inspected for contraband at their place of embarkation, and then sealed by customs authorities before their voyage to a final destination.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Slovenians enjoy national health care provided by the government. Available programs include drug treatment. The Ministry of Health is in the process of upgrading its databases and altering its methodology for tracking drug abuse and treatment. As a result, statistics for 2009 are unavailable as of the time of this report.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Slovenian law enforcement authorities have been outstanding law enforcement partners in several ongoing U.S. investigations. The DEA office in Vienna has regional responsibility covering Slovenia and during 2009 the DEA and Criminal Police Directorate cooperated on a number of multi-lateral drug investigations.
The Road Ahead. The USG expects high-quality joint U.S.-Slovenian law enforcement investigation cooperation will continue into 2010.
While South Africa has greater law enforcement capacity than most African nations to fight domestic and international drug trafficking, production, and abuse; it is facing a myriad of daunting law enforcement challenges, including serious problems with violent crime, especially in aggravated residence and small business robbery, carjacking, and sexual offenses. The country is an important transit area for cocaine (from South America) and heroin (from Afghanistan and East Asia) primarily destined for Southern African and European markets. South Africa is a large producer of cannabis. According to South Africa’s Central Drug Authority, an estimated nine percent of the population uses cannabis. Some of South Africa’s cannabis production also finds its way to Europe (primarily the UK). South Africa may also be the world’s largest consumer of Mandrax, a variant of methaqualone, an amphetamine-type stimulant. Mandrax is a preferred drug of abuse in South Africa and is often used in combination with cannabis; it is smuggled, primarily from China, India and other sources. South Africa is a significant transit country for precursor chemicals. According to the Organized Crime Threat Analysis prepared by the South African Police Service (SAPS) Annual Report 2008-2009 most of the organized crime syndicates in South Africa are foreign-led—primarily Nigerian, followed by Pakistani and Indian syndicates. Chinese organized crime is also present. The Prevention of Organized Crime Act (POCA, 1988), particularly its asset forfeiture section, is a potentially useful tool for law enforcement. South Africa is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
As the most prosperous and one of the most democratic countries on the continent, South Africa still attracts migrants from elsewhere in Africa, especially Zimbabwe, despite a rash of xenophobic attacks in 2008 in which 62 people were killed. The country’s 1,800 mile coastline and 3,100 mile porous land border, coupled with South Africa’s relative prosperity, have resulted in the increased use of its territory for the transshipment of contraband of all kinds, including narcotics. An overloaded criminal justice system, straining hard just to deal with “street crime,” makes South Africa a tempting target for international organized crime groups of all types. South Africa has the most developed transportation, communications, and banking systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. The country’s modern telecommunications systems (particularly cellular telephones); its direct air links with South America, Asia, and Europe; and its permeable land borders provide opportunities for regional and international trafficking in all forms. Sanctions busting practices, prevalent in the apartheid era, have continued under a different guise: instead of smuggling embargoed items, drugs and other illicit items are now smuggled into and out of South Africa. South Africa is both an importer and an exporter of drugs (marijuana produced on its own territory) and precursor chemicals.
Despite the progress it has made coping with organized crime, South Africa is the origin, transit point or terminus of many major drug smuggling routes. Many Nigerians live in South Africa, most of them illegally, and dominate the drug trade in the country. Cannabis is cultivated in South Africa, as well as imported from neighboring countries (Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe), and exported to neighboring countries (e.g., Namibia) and Europe (mainly Holland and the UK) as well as consumed in South Africa itself. Methamphetamine (locally known as “tik”) is manufactured in South Africa for local consumption, and there has been an explosion in usage, especially in Cape Town and, more recently, in Pretoria. Both heroin and cocaine are imported into South Africa (from Asia and Latin America, respectively), and also exported to Europe, Australia, and even the U.S. and Canada. Cocaine from South America generally transits through Brazil, particularly Sao Paolo, and further moves through Angola and Namibia en route to South Africa. Regular 1-2 kilogram quantity seizures of cocaine at O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg also indicate that a large volume of cocaine moves directly from Brazil to South Africa. To curb this trafficking, especially as the 2010 World Cup approaches, South Africa needs increased international cooperation, assistance, and training in the effective use of international controlled deliveries.
As in previous years, a number of clandestine narcotics laboratories were dismantled. In 2008, in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, SAPS (South Africa Police Service) introduced an initiative to root out clandestine laboratories through training and partnership with the local chemical industry. The South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (SACENDU) reported that although alcohol remains the dominant substance of abuse in South Africa, cannabis and Mandrax alone, or in combination, continue to be significant drugs of abuse. “Club drugs” and methamphetamine abuse are emerging as a major concern, especially in Cape Town and Pretoria where the increase in treatment demand for methamphetamine addiction treatment is dramatic.
Methamphetamine has emerged as the main substance of abuse among the young in Cape Town and in Pretoria. In Cape Town, two-thirds of drug abusers are reported to be using “tik” as a primary or secondary substance of abuse. The increase in treatment admissions for methamphetamine-related problems in Cape Town represented the fastest increase in admissions for a particular drug ever noted in the country, and of particular concern is the large number of adolescent users. This increased use of methamphetamine is “strongly linked to gang culture on the Cape Flats.” According to the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cape Town has become the methamphetamine capital of South Africa, with 98 percent of patients seen across the provinces coming from this city. The MRC estimates that nowhere else in the world has tik grown as quickly as in the poorer colored communities of the Western Cape, surpassing mandrax as the drug of choice. Five years ago just 15 cases involving tik were reported in the Western Cape. By the end of 2008, this had increased to 2,628 cases with 91 percent of the users being “colored” (a South African usage for South Asian and mixed race individuals) males between the ages of 12 and 21. The increase in the use and addiction of tik is not only a social problem, but is having a larger impact on economic and security issues. According to the South African Police Services (SAPS), 60 percent of all crimes are related to substance abuse, and in the Western Cape that figure is closer to 80 percent largely as a result of tik. The perpetrators of these crimes are either under the influence of tik, or trying to secure money for their next fix. The Central Drug Authority estimates that the socio-economic costs of drug abuse are R20 billion ($2.73 billion) every year. The direct economic impact of tik can be found in a study released in July, 2008, by the Small Business Project in the Western Cape. The study found that more than half of small businesses in the region had experienced at least one incident of crime in the last year. Small businesses lose up to 20 percent of their turnover to crime. According to the government’s crime statistics, in 2008-2009 robberies of business premises increased by 47.4 percent from the previous year. The Institute for Security Studies released a report in May 2007 which said that while colored gangs are believed to produce and control tik, the Chinese mafia is the main supplier of the production ingredients.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Combating the use of, production of, and trafficking of illicit narcotics remains an important component of the anticrime agenda of the South African Government (SAG). The U.S. co-sponsored a drug prevention best practices conference in Cape Town October 19-21 (what year?) as part of the Central Drug Authority’s stepped up drug prevention awareness effort. The SAG tends to target its limited anticrime resources on serious, violent and domestic crime, but is making greater efforts to curb the substance abuse it acknowledges is at the root of much violent crime. South Africa still has one of the world’s highest rates of murder and rape. According to the South African Police Service Annual Report for 2008/2009, the murder rate fell 3.4 percent and sexual offenses increased 12 percent (“Sexual Offenses” is a new category of crime statistics replacing the categories of rape and indecent assault, so the comparison with previous statistics is not fully valid.); however, aggravated robbery increased .8 percent, and robberies at residential premises increased by 27.3 percent. The porous borders are crossed daily by criminals trafficking in all sorts of contraband, including illicit drugs, stolen cars, illegal firearms, diamonds, precious metals, and human beings.
Following the April 22 2009 election of President Jacob Zuma, the Ministry of Safety and Security was renamed the Police Ministry, and Zuma insider Bheki Cele was appointed national Police Commissioner, ending a long interim period wherein the SAPS were run by an acting commissioner as former commissioner Selebi awaited trial on corruption charges. The Cabinet-level interagency “Justice Cluster” works to help coordinate the law enforcement and criminal justice system’s responses to various challenges. Reconsideration is underway of decisions taken in 2003 to disband and integrate specialized police bureaus, such as the Narcotics Bureau and the Child Protections Units. The loss of specialized drug enforcement experience has impeded counternarcotics progress. Another blow was the 2008 elimination of the Directorate of Special Operations of the National Prosecuting Authority (popularly know as “The Scorpions”), an elite unit created to investigate fraud that later expanded into drug investigation. The successor to the Scorpions, known as the “Hawks,” is still largely untested but has claimed credit for several important drug busts. The Central Drug Authority maintains and updates as necessary the “national drug master plan.” Other SAG agencies involved in counternarcotics efforts include—in varying degrees—the Home Affairs Department, the Customs Service, and the Border Police (a part of SAPS). The Border Police have 55 land border posts, 10 air-border posts, and 9 sea-border posts. Intelligence organizations and the port and airport authorities also have a role in identifying and suppressing drug trafficking. The SAPS 2008/2009 Annual Report noted that an analysis of threats from organized crime groups over the past decade identified drug crimes as accounting for the largest proportion of the known threats. The report said that drug smuggling as an organized crime activity usually ties in with other aspects of organized crime, such as diamond smuggling, gold smuggling, abalone pirating, and vehicle hijacking. SAPS concluded that drugs such as Mandrax, cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy and tik, pose major threats to South Africa since they lead to violent crime such as murder, attempted murder, rape and assaults.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Drug-related crimes, according to the annual SAPS 2008/2009 Report, increased by a statistically insignificant 4 percent from the 2007/2008 report. There were 109,134 drug-related crimes in 2008. Additional enforcement successes were reported in the press. On January 29, 2009, 230 kilograms of cocaine were seized in Durban. On May 21, 2009 an individual was arrested at the Lebombo Border post with 187 kilograms of methaqualone. Subsequent investigation lead to the seizure of an additional 230 kilograms at a farm near Ladysmith, SA. On September 14, 2009, six metric tons of hashish and 116 kilograms of heroin were seized in Durban. On Dec. 4, 2009, A methamphetamine laboratory was raided in Johannesburg and 50 kilograms of methamphetamine were seized along with a large cache of precursor chemicals. SAPS’ Airport Interdiction Unit makes weekly seizures of cocaine from South America and heroin from Pakistan at the Johannesburg and Cape Town Airports.
Corruption. Accusations of police corruption are frequent. Credible evidence of narcotics-related corruption among South African law enforcement officials has not, however, been brought to light. Some suspect that the reported quantities of seized drugs are lower than actual seizures, and that the difference finds its way back out on the street. Some amount of corruption among border control officials does appear to contribute to the permeability of South Africa’s borders. As a matter of policy, however, the South African government does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Likewise, no senior official of the federal government is known to engage in, encourage or facilitate such illicit production, or to launder proceeds of illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. South Africa is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. South Africa is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. The U.S. and South Africa have bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements in force. Both countries have also signed a Letter of Agreement on Anticrime and Counternarcotics Assistance which provides for U.S. training and commodity assistance to several South African law enforcement agencies. In 2000, the U.S. and South Africa signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement.
Cultivation/Production. Cannabis, or “dagga”, grows wild in Southern Africa and is a traditional crop in many rural areas of South Africa, particularly in the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal provinces. It also grows wild and is cultivated in neighboring Swaziland and Lesotho. It is possible to have three cannabis crops a year on the same piece of land in South Africa. Most South African cannabis is consumed domestically or in the region. Increasing amounts are, however, being seized in continental Europe and the UK. Some top-end estimates are that 20,000 to 30,000 hectares of arable land are used to grow cannabis, although most observers estimate the area dedicated to illicit cannabis to be about 1,500-2,000 hectares. Although the police force, with some success, sprays cannabis in South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho, illicit street prices never seem to rise—an indication of uninterrupted supply. Mandrax, amphetamine, and methamphetamine are also produced in South Africa for domestic consumption. Among South Africans, “dagga” and Mandrax are the traditional drugs of choice; in more recent years, there has been rising interest in domestically produced amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and imported heroin.
Drug Flow/Transit. Significant amounts of cocaine reach South Africa from South America. Cocaine is readily available on the local illicit market. Cocaine is mainly brought in by Nigerian syndicates, or people who work for them. South Africa, once a country of transshipment, has become a country with its own market. The consumption of cocaine, both powder and crystalline (“crack”), is on the increase. Heroin is smuggled into South Africa from Southeast and Southwest Asia, with some moving on to the U.S. and Europe. Most heroin trafficked into South Africa is intended for domestic consumption. Consumption of heroin among South African youth has increased with the advent of smokeable heroin. An additional risk in terms of intravenous drug abuse is HIV/AIDS, a major health issue in South Africa. South Africans also import “dagga” from Swaziland and Lesotho, considering it to be of higher quality than the domestic version. Abuse of methaqualone (Mandrax) and other ATS tablets is on the rise too, especially among urban youth. Even Ecstasy finds its way into townships. Diverted precursor chemicals, some produced locally and some imported into South Africa, are also a growing problem. Many drug liaison officers, as well as South African Police Service officers, believe that South Africa is becoming a place for traffickers to warehouse their stocks of various drugs before sending them on to other countries. They believe that criminals view South Africa as a “weak enforcement” option for such warehousing operations. Nigerian, Pakistani, Indian, Colombian, Venezuelan, and Chinese syndicates are all taking advantage of the fact that South Africa, in addition to “weak enforcement,” has excellent financial, transportation, and communications facilities. Traffickers of Nigerian origin may be the most established of organized crime groups operating in South Africa. Using South Africa as their base for world-wide operations, they are involved in virtually every aspect of drug trafficking.
South Africa remained among the world’s major importers of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine in 2009, listing its annual legitimate requirement for both chemicals at 20,000 kilograms each; however, South Africa’s imports of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine have declined each year for the past three years. The South African Police Service’s Chemical Control Program is by far the most progressive in Africa, but the potential for diversion of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine remains an area of concern. South Africa participates in the UN-sponsored program Project Prism and is a member of the Project Prism Task Force, serving as the focal point for Africa. South Africa is actively involved in the law enforcement initiatives being developed pursuant to Project Prism to halt the diversion of precursors to illicit chemical trafficking and drug manufacturing organizations around the world.
Drug trafficking via South African airports and the crew of the national carrier South African Airways (SAA) remains a concern. The Airport Company of South Africa (ACSA), which runs all of the international airports in the country, recently revised contracting requirements for baggage handlers to deal with theft and smuggling issues. Equity Aviators, which uses temporary staff and subcontractors for its security screening processes has lost its ACSA permit. Baggage handling companies are now required to hire permanent staff in to order to receive an ACSA permit.
Two SAA crews were detained in the UK for drug smuggling in January and February 2009. SAA announced the creation of a task team in February 2009 to probe a second drug bust of crew members in London on suspicion of carrying five kilograms of cocaine. The measures introduced by SAA following the January incident included changing security systems , adding physical searches of bags, and using sniffer dogs airside. These and other measures will now be extended across all SAA flights. Poorly paid screening staff remains a concern.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. South Africa has had a long history of Mandrax and “dagga” (cannabis) abuse; drug counselors have noted large increases in the number of patients seeking treatment for crack and heroin addiction. There are many people seeking treatment who are unable to register with any program, and those who manage to enter a rehabilitation program find that available services are constrained by lack of resources. Education of the general public about the dangers of drug addiction remains a high priority for the government. SAPS are continuing their visible crime deterrence policy by organizing visits and counternarcotics lectures in schools with assistance from the Department of Education and non government organizations (NGOs). The objective is to curb the influence of illegal drugs among children. The National Awareness Program, sponsored by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Department of Police and the Central Drug Authority, and originally launched in Cape Town in 2003, continues to present facts on drugs and their dangers to young people, students and others.
Certain successes have been achieved within the correctional system as well, mainly through the efforts of NGOs. In South African prisons, up to 70 percent of inmates are drug users (with an even higher percentage among incarcerated defendants awaiting trial), according to NGO contacts. Among the main rehabilitation program organizers is the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA), NGO-KHULISA, the Center for Socio-Legal Studies and Creative Education with Youth at Risk, the President’s Award for Youth Empowerment, and the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO). “Peer” counselors, trained by KHULISA within the prison system, during a program previously assisted by State Department narcotics assistance (INL), continue to organize counternarcotics lectures and seminars for inmates. Some of the government-employed prison officials have also received basic training in this area.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. U.S. law enforcement officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security /Immigration & Customs Enforcement (DHS/ICE, the Secret Service, and the State Department’s Security Office and Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) successfully cooperate with their South African counterparts. The U.S. Coast Guard provided maritime training in 2009 to support South Africa’s preparations for the 2010 World Cup. The U.S. also continues to urge the SAG to strengthen its legislation and its law enforcement system to be able to prosecute more sophisticated organized criminal activities, including drug trafficking. Some U.S. training has been provided to the national police, the metropolitan police forces of Johannesburg and Tshwane (Pretoria), the Special Investigating Unit (since disbanded), the Department of Home Affairs, the Customs and Revenue Service, and others. The U.S. through State INL sponsored a drug prevention best practices conference in Cape Town September 19-21, 2009.
The Road Ahead. Bilateral links between the United States and South African law enforcement communities are in the interest of both countries and even closer cooperation in the future is in both sides’ interest.
Narcotics production or abuse is not a major problem in the Republic of Korea (ROK). Reports continue to indicate, however, that an undetermined quantity of narcotics is smuggled through South Korea en route to the United States and other countries. South Korea has become a transshipment location for drug traffickers, anomalously, due to the country’s reputation for not having a drug abuse problem. This, combined with the fact that the South Korean port of Busan is one of the region’s largest ports, makes South Korea an attractive location for illegal transshipments coming from countries that are more likely to attract a contraband inspection upon arrival in the United States. Several large-scale diversions of dual-use precursor chemicals destined for Afghanistan were traced back to South Korea. The ROK is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Drugs available in the ROK include methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and club drugs such as LSD and Ecstasy. Methamphetamine continues to be the most widely abused drug, while marijuana remains popular as well. Heroin and cocaine are only sporadically seen in the ROK. Club drugs such as Ecstasy and LSD continue to be popular among college students, and recent enforcement activities have caused some drug abusers to shift from methamphetamine to psychotropic substances. To discourage individuals from producing methamphetamine, the South Korean government controls the purchase of over-the-counter medicines containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, requiring customer registration for quantities greater than 720 mg (a three-day standard dose). At present, drug addiction appears limited to a relatively small-to-moderate portion of the Korean population, and a growing non-ethnic Korean population.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs 2009
Policy Initiatives. In 2009, the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) continued to implement stronger precursor chemical controls under amended legislation approved in 2005. The KFDA continued its efforts to educate companies and train its regulatory investigators on the enhanced regulations and procedures for administering the precursor chemical program. In addition to existing regulatory oversight procedures to track and address diversion of narcotics and psychotropic substances from medical facilities, the ROK in 2008 strengthened the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family Affairs’ (MHWA) role in the treatment, protection, and study of drug-addicts. MHWA now has three national rehabilitation treatment hospitals and 20 local district rehabilitation hospitals. In addition, the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) funds the Korean Association Against Drug Abuse (KAADA), a non-governmental organization dedicated to reducing drug-related risks and educating Koreans on the risks of drug abuse. In 2008, the ROK added benzylpiperazine to the list of narcotics and gamma butyrolactone (GBL) to the list of narcotic raw materials.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In the first six months of 2009, South Korean authorities arrested 3,806 individuals for narcotic violations, with most offenses being for methamphetamine and marijuana use. ROK authorities seized 9.1 kilograms of methamphetamine in the first half of 2009, an increase over the 7.1 kilograms seized in the first half of 2008. Ecstasy seizure figures were not available at the time of preparing this report. South Korean authorities seized 17.7 kilograms of marijuana, which is an increase from the 14.5 kilograms seized during the first half of 2008. South Koreans generally do not use heroin; in the first half of 2009, 356 grams of heroin were seized, but the heroin was most likely in transit to another destination. Cocaine is used only sporadically, with no indication of its use increasing.
Corruption. There have been no reports of corruption involving narcotics law enforcement in the ROK thus far in 2009. As a matter of government policy, the ROK does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. South Korea has extradition treaties with 23 countries and mutual legal assistance treaties in force with 18 countries, including the United States. South Korea is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by its 1972 Protocol. In 2008, South Korea became a party to the UN Convention against Corruption; it has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Korean authorities exchange information with international counternarcotics agencies such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), and have placed Korean National Police and/or Korea Customs Service attaches in Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, China, and the United States.
Cultivation/Production. Legal marijuana and hemp growth is licensed by local Health Departments. The hemp is used to produce fiber for traditional hand-made ceremonial funeral clothing. Every year, each District Prosecutor’s Office, in conjunction with local governments, conducts surveillance into suspected illicit marijuana growing areas during planting or harvesting time periods to limit possible illicit diversion. In the first half of 2009, authorities seized 1,200 plants, a slight increase from 1,050 plants seized in the first half of 2008. Authorities have cracked down on several indoor home-growing marijuana cases in the past few months, most of which involved seeds purchased from the Netherlands through the internet and grown inside apartments.
Opium poppy production is illegal in South Korea, although poppy continues to be grown in Kyonggi Province where farmers have traditionally used the harvested plants as a folk medicine to treat sick pigs and cows. Opium is not normally processed from these plants for human consumption. Korean authorities continue surveillance of opium poppy-growing areas. In the first half of 2009, 3,646 poppy plants were seized.
No methamphetamine laboratories were discovered in the ROK in the first six months of 2009. As a matter of reference, in 2007, there were only two clandestine laboratories discovered.
Drug Flow/Transit. Few narcotic drugs originate in South Korea. The export of narcotic substances is illegal under South Korean law and none are known to be exported. The ROK does export various precursor chemicals, however, including acetic anhydride, acetone, toluene, sulfuric acid, and others. Transshipment of narcotics and precursors through South Korea’s ports remains a serious problem. ROK authorities recognize South Korea’s vulnerability as a transshipment nexus and have undertaken greater efforts to educate shipping companies of the risk. ROK authorities’ ability to directly intercept the suspected transshipment of narcotics and precursor chemicals has been limited by the fact that the vast majority of transiting shipping containers are never off-loaded and therefore do not pass through customs inspection. Nonetheless, the ROK continued its international cooperation efforts to monitor and investigate transshipment cases. Redoubled efforts by the Korea Customs Service (KCS) have resulted in increased seizures of methamphetamine and marijuana by arriving passengers and through postal services at South Korea’s ports of entry. Most methamphetamine smuggled into South Korea comes from China. A majority of the LSD and Ecstasy used in South Korea has been identified as coming from North America or Europe. People living in metropolitan areas are known to use marijuana originating in South Africa and Nigeria, whereas those living in rural areas appear to obtain their marijuana from locally produced crops. ROK authorities also report increased instances of marijuana use among the foreign population in South Korea in recent years, a trend that is most likely the result of increased law enforcement efforts targeting this segment of the population.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Ministry of Health and Welfare Affairs conducts programs to treat drug addicts at 24 hospitals nationwide. The treatment is free and patients can remain in the program for up to one year.
The primary NGO involved with drug treatment is the Korean Association Against Drug Abuse (KAADA), which is funded by both the government and private donations and has twelve branches throughout the country. Serving approximately 300 patients annually, KAADA provides education on the risks and dangers of drugs, as well as counseling, sports therapy and Narcotics Anonymous programs. Convicted drug users and traffickers may have their indictment/sentencing delayed or suspended in return for spending up to six months at one of the centers.
KAADA also runs television and radio ad campaigns to stop the spread of drug abuse among Korean youth. Beginning in 2009, the national curriculum for elementary to high school students has been expanded to include courses on health, of which one segment is devoted to counternarcotics education. KAADA provides former addicts and experts to speak to students about the dangers of drug use, and conducted 6,000 such outreach engagements last year. Among the biggest challenges to reducing drug use, according to KAADA, is the ease of buying drugs online, particularly those disguised as diet pills, which lure even unsuspecting consumers into beginning the cycle of drug addiction.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives and Programs. The U.S. Embassy’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Seoul Country Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials work closely with ROK narcotics law enforcement authorities. Both the DEA and ICE consider their working relationships to be excellent.
Bilateral Cooperation. The DEA Seoul Country Office has focused its efforts on international drug interdiction, seizures of funds and assets related to illicit narcotics trafficking (in collaboration with ICE), and efforts to limit the diversion of precursor chemicals in South Korea and in the Far East region. In addition to meeting with high-level officials from multiple agencies on a regular basis, the DEA Seoul Country Office collaborates with the ROK in international fora. For example, DEA played an important role in the success of the Anti-drug Liaison Officials’ Meeting for International Cooperation (ADLOMICO), held in Busan in September 2009, which was attended by 175 representatives from 22 countries, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), ASEAN and INTERPOL. The objectives of the meeting were to promote international cooperation in the fight against drugs/precursors trafficking, and to exchange information on drug trends, trafficking routes, new tools and techniques to tackle global illicit drug problems. The DEA Seoul Country Office continues to share intelligence regarding the importation of precursor chemicals into South Korea from the United States and other Asian countries with the KFDA, KCS, the Korean Supreme Prosecutors’ Office (KSPO), and the Korean National Intelligence Service (KNIS). DEA also works closely with the KSPO and KCS in their activities to monitor airport and drug transshipment methods and trends, including the use of international mail by drug traffickers. The USCG works with the Korean Coast Guard, mainly through the multilateral North Pacific Coast Guard Forum. Activities through this forum focus on the interdiction of maritime threats, including the smuggling of illegal drugs, in the North Pacific region.
The Road Ahead. ROK authorities have expressed concern that the popularity of South Korea as a transshipment nexus may lead to a greater volume of drugs entering Korean markets. Korean authorities fear increased accessibility and lower prices could stimulate domestic drug use in the future. South Korean authorities also indicate a growing concern about the importation of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, and illegal medicines purchased via the internet, predominately from web sites maintained in the United States. In response, Korean authorities established a Memorandum of Understanding with a number of Korean internet portal sites to allow the KNPA to track and intercept such purchases. The South Korean government is currently seeking further international cooperation to better navigate the legal complexities surrounding the prosecution of transnational cyber crimes. The DEA Seoul Country Office will continue its extensive training, mentoring, and operational cooperation with ROK authorities.
Spain remains the primary transshipment point and an important market for cocaine imported into Europe from South and Central America. Spain continues to be the largest consumer of cocaine in the European Union (EU), with 3 percent of the Spanish population consuming it on a regular basis, although in 2009 the Spanish government maintained that domestic cocaine consumption is no longer on the increase. Spanish National Police, Civil Guard, and Customs Services, along with autonomous regional police forces, increased their law enforcement operational tempo during 2009. Across the board—for heroin, cocaine, hashish and Ecstasy—the amount of drugs seized by law enforcement officials in Spain is nevertheless expected to be lower in 2009. Spanish law enforcement officials attribute this to a combination of factors: increased maritime enforcement and port controls discouraged drug traffickers from sending their shipments to Spain, while Spain successfully dismantled drug cartels in Spain. At the end of September 2009, law enforcement officials had seized only a third as much heroin as was seized in 2008. Also as of the end of September, the Spanish security services had only seized half as much hashish and Ecstasy as in 2008 while cocaine seizures were at two-thirds of 2008 levels.
The Spanish government ranks drug trafficking as one of its most important law enforcement objectives and Spanish drug enforcement continues to maintain excellent relations with U.S. counterparts. The United States continues to expand the excellent bilateral and multilateral cooperation in law enforcement programs it has with Spain, as symbolized by ongoing joint operations throughout the year. Spain is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
By most reports, Spain remains the principal entry, transshipment, and consumption zone for the large quantities of South American cocaine and Moroccan cannabis destined for European consumer markets. However, Spain disputed a November 2009 report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction that Spain is still the largest consumer of cocaine in the EU, arguing that the findings did not take into account the latest data on Spain’s efforts to curb consumption. Spain is also a major source and transit location for drug proceeds returning to South and Central America. Colombia continues to be Spain’s largest supplier of cocaine from Latin America.
Spain continues to face a sustained flow of hashish from its southern neighbors, Morocco and Algeria. Maritime smuggling of hashish across the Mediterranean Sea is a very large-scale business. Spanish police continued to seize multi-ton loads of Moroccan hashish, some of which is brought into Spain by illegal immigrants. The majority of heroin that arrives in Spain is transported via the “Balkan Route” from Turkey, although Security Forces in 2008 noticed efforts to transport it into Spain by boat. The Spanish National Police have identified Turkish trafficking organizations that distribute the heroin once it is smuggled into Spain. Illicit refining and manufacturing of drugs in Spain is minimal, although small-scale laboratories of synthetic drugs such as LSD are discovered and destroyed each year. MDMA-Ecstasy labs are rare and unnecessary in Spain as MDMA labs in the Netherlands prefer shipping the final product to Spain. One interesting Ecstasy trafficking trend has been to transship small quantities to the U.S. through cities in Spain to foil U.S. Customs inspectors who are wary of packages mailed from Belgium or the Netherlands.
Spain’s pharmaceutical industry produces precursor chemicals; however, most precursors used in Spain to manufacture illegal drugs are imported from China. There is effective control of precursor shipments within Spain from the point of origin to destination through a program administered under the Ministry of Health and Social Policy’s National Drug Plan, known by its Spanish acronym of PNSD.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The PNSD provides overall guidance and strategic directives for Spain’s national policy on drugs. In January 2009, Spain approved its new PNSD for 2009-2016, which aims to have citizens more involved in the fight against drugs, with the hope to prevent and/or lower consumption, delay the age for initial consumption (currently at age 20 for cocaine and heroin, and age 18 for hashish), and to guarantee assistance to drug addicts. On January 23, 2009, the Council of Ministers approved a plan for drug-trafficking related assets to be confiscated and used to finance programs and activities of the security forces in the fight against drugs, drug-prevention programs, provide help to drug-addicts, and facilitate their reintegration into society.
In June 2009, the Ministry of Health and Social Policy reported that domestic cocaine consumption continued to stabilize following a decline in 2007. Similarly, cannabis use reportedly stabilized. The Ministry pointed to these developments as evidence that its prevention-based policies are effective.
In July 2009, Spain hosted the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body for the implementation of the UN’s international drug control conventions. Spain held wide-ranging talks with the INCB, which in its annual report released in February, congratulated Spain on the decreased cocaine use by Spanish youths aged 14-18 years old.
Spain is a UNODC Major Donor and a member of the Dublin Group, a group of countries that coordinates the provision of counternarcotics assistance.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The Spanish law enforcement agencies responsible for narcotics control are the Spanish National Police and the Civil Guard, both of which fall under the domain of law enforcement and civil security matters within the Ministry of Interior. The Spanish Customs Service, under the Ministry of the Treasury, also has a mandate to enforce counternarcotics legislation at Spain’s borders and in Spanish waters. Because of the economic crisis, the Spanish Customs Services’ ships in the Cantabrian Sea area have reduced their activity to 15 days per month in order to cut fuel expenses. The U.S. DEA Madrid Country Office continued to work with Spanish authorities in several of the more significant seizures and arrests this past year.
Large-scale cocaine importation into Spain is principally controlled by Colombian drug traffickers, though Galician organizations also play an important role in the trafficking of cocaine into and within the country. Spanish authorities recorded several large seizures of cocaine in 2009. For example, a speed boat in Ribeira (La Coruña) with 4,000 kilos of cocaine was stopped in January by the Spanish IRS (the drugs could have reached a market value of 120 million Euros). In February, a fishing boat with 5,000 kilos of cocaine on-board was seized 800 miles from the Canary Islands. In June, 900 kilos of cocaine were seized in Alicante and Murcia. In September authorities seized 1,500 kilos of cocaine and dismantled a laboratory in Ciudad Real.
Hashish trafficking is controlled by Moroccan, British, and Portuguese smugglers and, to some extent, nationals of Gibraltar and the Netherlands. All year long and across the country, Spanish authorities recorded large seizures of hashish in 2009. Security forces began the year with what would be their largest operation of 2009 when police in January seized 11,000 kilos of hashish in an underground parking lot in Seville. A slew of large-scale operations followed, including 7,000 kilos seized in February. In April, 2,100 kilos were seized in Ibiza while another 3,000 kilos were seized in a boat near Cádiz. In June security forces seized 13,750 kilos of hashish in five different operations around Spain.
Spanish law enforcement officials, concerned about the increasing quantity of heroin coming into Spain from Turkey, in July launched a joint operation with France which ended with the seizure in Madrid of 92 kilos of heroin, the largest amount seized so far this year.
In March, the Spanish National Police notched their largest seizure of “speed” in recent years, when they captured more than 35 kilos of amphetamine sulphate in a single raid in Zaragoza.
Corruption. Spain’s Organized Crime Intelligence Center (CICO) coordinates counternarcotics operations among various government agencies, including the Spanish Civil Guard, National Police, and Customs Service. Under CICO’s guidance, law enforcement cooperation appears to function well. The Government of Spain neither encourages nor facilitates illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There is no evidence of corruption of senior officials or their involvement in the drug trade, but there continue to be isolated cases involving corrupt law enforcement officials who were caught facilitating drug trafficking. For example, in early 2009 authorities arrested nearly a dozen Civil Guard officers, including a Lieutenant Colonel, in the Barcelona area for ties to drug traffickers dating back to the mid-1990s. The officers are accused of tipping off thieves on drug shipments so that they could steal and re-sell the goods and divide the spoils. The case, with 27 defendants, went to trial in November 2009. In 2009, the National Police made a total of 252 arrests in 54 anticorruption operations.
Agreements and Treaties. Spain is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Spain is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. A 1970 extradition treaty and its three supplements govern extradition between the U.S. and Spain. The U.S.-Spain Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty has been in force since 1993. In addition, the two countries have concluded, pursuant to the 2003 U.S.-EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements, protocols to the bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties, which will enter into force on February 1, 2010. The U.S. and Spain have also signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement. .
Cultivation/Production. Coca leaf is not cultivated in Spain. However, there has been concern in recent years regarding clandestine cocaine conversion laboratories in Spain. In October, a cocaine laboratory was dismantled in Ciudad Real. The Ministry of Interior reported the lab was capable of processing more than 50 kilos of cocaine base into cocaine HCl per week, making it the largest laboratory dismantled in the last eight years. Some cannabis is grown in country, but the seizures and investigations by Spanish authorities indicate the production is minimal. Opium poppy is cultivated licitly under strictly regulated conditions for research, and the total amount is insignificant. In 2008 Spain was added to the list of nontraditional countries authorized to export narcotic raw materials (NRM) to the United States. This enabled Spain to join the other “non-traditional” NRM exporters, Australia, France, Hungary, and Poland, as the only countries allowed to supply approximately 20 percent of the NRM required annually by the United States. Traditional exporters India and Turkey have preferred access to 80 percent of the NRM market. Spain is not a significant production zone for synthetic drugs. While not a significant producer of MDMA/Ecstasy, limited production of the drug has been reported in Spain.
Drug Flow/Transit. Spain is the major gateway to Europe for cocaine coming from Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. Traffickers exploit Spain’s close historic and linguistic ties with Latin America and its extensive coastlines to transport drugs for consumption in Spain or distribution to other parts of Europe. The DEA reports that Colombian cocaine continues to be sent first to Africa and then smuggled northward into Spain. Spanish police note that the country’s two principal international airports, Madrid’s Barajas and Barcelona’s El Prat, are increasingly entry points for much of the cocaine trafficked into and through Spain, and substantial numbers of body cavity smugglers continue arriving by air. Those two airports remain key transit points for passengers who intend to traffic Ecstasy and other synthetic drugs, mainly produced in Europe, to the United States. These couriers, however, are typically captured before they leave Spain or when they arrive in the U.S., due to strong bilateral collaboration. Spain remains a major transit point to Europe for hashish from Morocco, and Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla are principal points of departure. Spanish law enforcement has disrupted many drug shipments through its use of the Integrated External Surveillance System (Spanish acronym SIVE), deployed on its southern coast. In 2009 Spain expanded the use of SIVE by installing a fixed radar site in Ibiza, the first among a series of SIVE sites planned for the Balearic Islands, which are increasingly used as new transport routes for hashish originating from Morocco and Algeria.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The national drug strategy identifies prevention as its principal priority and the government implemented an awareness campaign targeting Spanish youth and school children. The PNSD closely coordinates its demand reduction programs with the Spanish National Police, Civil Guard, Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs, and Ministry of Public Administration. Spain’s autonomous communities receive central government funding and provide drug addiction treatment programs, including methadone maintenance programs and needle exchanges. Prison rehabilitation programs also distribute methadone. As of early September, the government had contributed nearly 4 million Euros to assist private, nongovernmental organizations that carry out drug prevention and rehabilitation programs.
In July 2009, the Delegate of the Government for the National Drug Plan announced that beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009, “nine or 10” Spanish hospitals would begin to administer, on an experimental basis, a vaccine against cocaine addiction.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The United States enjoys excellent bilateral and multilateral cooperation in law enforcement programs it has with Spain. Spain hosted two visits by the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security in 2009 while the Ministers of Justice and Interior each visited Washington during separate visits. In anticipation of increased bilateral cooperation during Spain’s assumption of the rotating EU Presidency during January-June 2010, a liaison officer from the Department of Homeland Security began a rotation at the Ministry of Interior. DEA worked very closely with its Spanish law enforcement counterparts during 2009, contributing to numerous successful joint investigations. The Coast Guard and JIATF-S in September hosted a delegation of senior Civil Guard officials for a visit to discuss best practices in counternarcotics programs and preparations are underway for a delegation of senior counternarcotics officials from CICO to visit JIATF-S, SouthCom, and the Drug Enforcement Administration in January 2010.
Road Ahead. As drug traffickers continue targeting Spain and both governments recognize the rewards of collaboration, the U.S. will continue close coordination with Spanish counternarcotics officials. Spain will continue to be a key player in the international fight against drug trafficking. The U.S. and Spain are natural partners in Latin America. Our expanding partnership will benefit Latin America in its counternarcotics efforts, as well as Spain and the U.S.
Sri Lanka has a relatively small-scale drug problem. The Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) remains committed to targeting drug traffickers and implementing nation-wide demand reduction programs. Since early 2005, the U.S. government has fostered a strengthened relationship with Sri Lanka on counternarcotics issues by offering training for the Sri Lanka Police. Sri Lanka is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention, ratifying key legislation domestically in October 2007.
II. Status of Country
Sri Lanka is not a significant producer of narcotics or precursor chemicals and plays a minor role as a transshipment route for heroin from India. GSL officials work to raise internal awareness of and vigilance against efforts by drug traffickers attempting to use Sri Lanka as a transit point for illicit drug smuggling. Domestically, officials are addressing a modest upsurge in domestic consumption, consisting of heroin, cannabis, and to a lesser extent, Ecstasy.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The lead agency for counternarcotics efforts is the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB), headquartered in the capital city of Colombo. The GSL remains committed to ongoing efforts to curb illicit drug use and trafficking. In the past year, the PNB recruited more officers, resulting in increased investigations and interdictions, and deployed field officers in strategic locations along the coastal belts where drug trafficking is active. The PNB also conducted in-service counternarcotics training for police outside of the conflict-affected north and east and drug awareness programs in schools on a regular basis. Over the past year, 22 drug prevention and enforcement officials from Sri Lanka participated in regional training opportunities.
Accomplishments. The PNB and Excise Department worked closely to target cannabis producers and dealers, resulting in several successful arrests. The PNB warmly welcomed and has been an active partner in taking full advantage of U.S.-sponsored training for criminal investigative techniques and management practices in the past.
Sri Lanka continued to work with the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Program, a regional organization, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on regional narcotics issues. The SAARC Drug Offense Monitoring Desk (SDOMD), located in Colombo within the PNB, continues to serve as a clearing house for SAARC countries to input, share, and review regional narcotics statistics. GSL officials maintain continuous contact with counterparts in India and Pakistan, origin countries for the majority of drugs in Sri Lanka.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The PNB continued to cooperate closely with the Sri Lankan Customs Service, the Department of Excise, and the Sri Lankan Police to curtail illicit drug supplies entering into and moving through the country. As a result of these efforts, over the last 12 months GSL officials arrested 4,346 persons on charges of using or dealing heroin and 8,540 persons on cannabis charges. This represents an enormous drop from last year’s 9,825 and 33,848 arrests respectively, most likely a result of the GSL’s single-minded effort to end the thirty-year war against the LTTE (Tamil Tigers). Police seized a total of 30 kilograms of heroin and 55,244 kilograms of cannabis during2009. There were arrests for narcotics offenses by the Police Narcotics Bureau, local police, Terrorism Investigation Division (TID), Criminal Investigation Division(CID), Customs, Excise Department, Forest Department, Prisons Department, and the Navy.
The PNB has one sub-unit at the Bandaranaike International Airport near Colombo, complete with operational personnel and a team of narcotics-detecting dogs. A Nepalese national was arrested at the airport in January attempting to smuggle 1 1/2 kilos of heroin from Thailand. In May a Pakistani man and three women were detected attempting to smuggle 284 packs of heroin concealed in condoms, which they had swallowed. In June, an Indian woman was detected attempting to smuggle in a large quantity of cocaine valued at Rs. 7 million.
Corruption. The GSL does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of any controlled substances or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. A government commission established to investigate bribery and corruption charges against public officials that resumed operations in 2004 continued through 2009, although with little activity. There are unconfirmed reports of links between drug traffickers and individual corrupt officials. However, since late 2007, there have been no arrests of government officials on bribery or corruption charges related to drugs.
Agreements and Treaties. Sri Lanka is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and the 1990 SAARC Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Over the past year, Parliament passed amendments to the Convention Against Illicit Trafficking of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act (No. 1, of 2008), and the Treatment and Rehabilitation Act (No. 54 of 2007) to provide for compulsory treatment. Sri Lanka is also a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Sri Lanka is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and has signed, but not yet ratified, the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons and the Protocol on Migrant Smuggling. Sri Lanka is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption. An extradition treaty is in force between the U.S. and Sri Lanka. The GSL also signed an agreement with the Russian Federation to cooperate more closely on extradition cases.
Cultivation/Production. Some cannabis is cultivated and consumed locally, but there is little indication that it is exported. The majority of cannabis cultivation occurs in the southeast jungles of Sri Lanka. PNB and Excise Department officials work together to locate and eradicate cannabis crops. One clandestine laboratory making synthetic drugs was raided in July 2008, but none since then.
Drug Flow/Transit. The military defeat of the LTTE in May, 2009, may have changed the dynamics of the drug trade in Asia. Since 1983, the LTTE was involved in bulk delivery of heroin and cannabis from producing areas in Asia to consuming countries. Mumbai was the key link in the LTTE drug trade. While Sri Lanka’s coast remains highly vulnerable to transshipment of heroin moving from India, observers expect a dramatic reduction in drug-related activity in the region, with the defeat of the LTTE.
Police officials believe that the international airport is a major entry point for the transshipment of illegal narcotics through Sri Lanka. Police note that the Ecstasy found in Colombo social venues is believed to be imported from Thailand.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Police Narcotics Bureau, the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB), and several non government organizations (NGOs) are carrying out awareness and education programs at schools and for special populations. The Sri Lanka Anti-Narcotics Association is working on minimizing risk factors leading to first-use of drugs, and is working on a platform of information technology for the empowerment of youth populations on employability and parenting. This information would be available though the internet, and would be particularly adapted to the needs of Sri Lankan ex-pat workers and their families. The Presidential Unit on Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs advocates for enforcement tactics with a tilt towards absolute prohibition for the eradication of drugs. The NDDCB regularly conducted outreach among employee groups, school children and teachers, and community leaders.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The United States Government (USG) remained committed to helping GSL officials develop increased capacity and cooperation for counternarcotics issues. The USG also continued its support of a regional counternarcotics program, including through the Colombo Plan, which conducts regional and country-specific training seminars, fostering communication and cooperation throughout Asia. The U.S. Coast Guard also provided training to Sri Lankan officers in the areas of International Crisis, Command and Control, as well as training in Seaport Security.
Road Ahead. The U.S. government will continue its commitment to aid the Sri Lankan police in its transition to community-focused policing techniques. This will be accomplished with additional training assistance. The U.S. also expects to continue its support of regional training programs, like Colombo Plan. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) County Attaché based in New Delhi visited Colombo in November 2009 to coordinate counternarcotics trafficking activities with the local police and the Embassy. The DEA attaché also met with the Interagency Law Enforcement Working Group at the U.S. Embassy in Colombo.
Suriname is a transit zone for South American cocaine en route to Europe, Africa and, to a lesser extent, the United States. Inadequate resources, limited law enforcement training, the absence of a law enforcement presence in the interior of the country, and lack of aircraft or sufficient numbers of patrol boats limit the capacity of the Government of Suriname (GOS) to adequately control its borders. In general, this enables traffickers to move drug shipments via land, water, and air with little resistance. The GOS most notably became the 2009-2010 vice chair of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD). In 2009, the GOS undertook law enforcement and legal measures to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish narcotics trafficking and related corruption. The GOS conducted Operation Koetai, an unprecedented counternarcotics trafficking operation focused on the western border with Guyana that yielded cocaine seizures and arrests. The GOS also took measures to fight corruption by conducting a thorough investigation into police involvement into cocaine stolen from a police vault. Suriname is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, but still has not implemented legislation regarding precursor chemical control provisions to bring itself into full conformity with the Convention.
II. Status of Country
Cocaine from South America, primarily destined for Europe, Africa, and to a lesser extent, the United States, is transshipped through Suriname. The GOS ability to identify, apprehend, and prosecute narcotics traffickers is inhibited by its chronic lack of resources, limited law enforcement capabilities, inadequate legislation, drug-related corruption of the police and military, complicated and time-consuming bureaucracy, and overburdened and under-resourced courts. Long-standing allegations that a drugs-for-weapons trade takes place on Surinamese soil resurfaced in a Surinamese press article on the narcotics trade when the Guyanese Anti-Narcotics Division (CANU) was quoted as stating that one kilogram of cocaine trades for two Chinese AK-47s in Suriname. There is local production of marijuana, as well as marijuana smuggled into Suriname from Guyana.
The GOS has no legislation controlling precursor chemicals and no tracking system to monitor them. This leaves the GOS unable to detect the diversion of precursor chemicals for drug production. However, Suriname participated in a training seminar with Colombian counterparts and experts to learn how to identify precursor chemicals in 2008. Follow-up training, with Dutch technical support, is planned for 2010.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The National Anti-Drug Council (NAR) and its Executive Office have made progress in the implementation of the National Drug Master Plan (2006-2010) that covers both supply and demand reduction and calls for new legislation to control precursor chemicals. The National Drug Master Plan is supported by both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice and Police. The GOS asked CICAD of the Organization of American States for technical assistance and training for drafting the precursor chemicals legislation, which was approved in 2009 and will commence in 2010. This is required by the 2006-2010 Master Plan. Draft legislation on terrorist financing, which is required for Suriname to join the Egmont Group (an informal group of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) designed to facilitate international cooperation) remains pending approval at the National Assembly. In 2009, the GOS expanded the Unusual Transactions Reporting Center (Ministry of Treasury/FIU) and created a Financial Investigation Team (FOT). The standing up of the fully staffed FOT should result in police investigations of suspicious transactions identified by the FIU.
In collaboration with CICAD and the European Union, the NAR is working to set up a Drug Treatment Court, which would specialize in hearing defendants charged with drug use and drug-related criminal offenses. The judge would have the authority to have addicts undergo mandatory rehabilitation rather than enter the regular prison system. In October, the Ministry of Justice and Police launched a two-day exchange workshop with Paramaribo’s partner city (Ghent, Belgium) to engage in the planning. After visiting a Miami Drug Court, the Minister also began looking actively at possible subject matter expertise in the United States and the Western Hemisphere. The pilot program for the Drug Treatment Court is slated to begin in 2010 after the GOS amends the existing legal structure.
Accomplishments. Through October 30, the GOS seized 238.2 kilograms of cocaine, 158.5 kilograms of cannabis, 4,711.2 grams of hash, and 5.8 grams of heroin. This was an increase in seizures for these drug types compared to 2008 numbers. In 2009, no MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or Ecstasy) tablets were seized, in comparison to 785 tablets in 2008. As of October 30,454 people were arrested for drug-related offenses of which 323 cases were sent to the Office of the Attorney General for prosecution. As of November 5, 293 people had been prosecuted for drug-related offenses.
The GOS launched Operation Koetai in the second half of 2009, which focused on narcotics interdiction on Suriname’s western border with Guyana. This operation has resulted in 94.1 kilograms of cocaine seized and eight arrests as of October 30. Narcotics traffickers who attempted to bypass Operation Koetai by landing their boats in the district of Saramacca were also apprehended, resulting in seven additional arrests and the seizure of 77.5 kilograms of cocaine. Operation Koetai forced an increase in the market price of cocaine from $3,500 to $7,000 per kilograms in the area.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The GOS crackdown against clandestine airstrips within Suriname caused drug trafficking organizations (DTOS) to move and change their landing strips further into the interior and changed trafficking tactics. In October, police arrested seven suspects at an illegal airstrip who were allegedly preparing for the landing of an aircraft carrying illicit drugs. The Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport (JAP) plans to introduce radar in 2010 to enhance their capability to track illegal flights.
During the year, the GOS installed a urine testing machine at the airport to identify suspected drug mules. Three Dutch-trained dogs were introduced for narcotics detection on flights to Amsterdam. This enhanced effort may have contributed to the downward trend in the number of drug mules arrested—from 99 in 2007, to 66 in 2008, to 49 in 2009. One Surinamese drug mule was arrested at the airport in the Netherlands after having swallowed 182 cocaine capsules, weighing nearly 2.2 kilograms. Drug mules who evaded detection in Suriname were subsequently arrested at the airport in Amsterdam where the policy is to inspect all passengers and baggage arriving from Suriname. Although the majority of the narcotics trafficking out of Suriname via the airport occurs mainly on the Netherlands-bound flights, drugs were also intercepted on U.S.-bound flights in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and the United States. For example, drugs were discovered on a U.S.-bound Surinam Airways flight by U.S. customs in Aruba. The use of foodstuffs to move narcotics out of Suriname through the JAP airport also continued, with cocaine discovered in chocolates, chili peppers, beer and cans of coconut milk among others.
While the bulk of the cocaine movement out of Suriname to Europe and Africa is via commercial sea cargo, at present, the GOS has no operating coast guard and has limited maritime capability to interdict drug traffickers at sea. The GOS purchased two new boats for maritime operations; one of which was delivered and became operational in 2009, but there is no GOS radar for tracking movements at sea.
Nationalities arrested in Suriname in 2009 for drug-related offenses included Filipinos, Spaniards, Dutch, Belgians, British, Brazilians, Ghanaians, Colombians, Venezuelans, and Nigerians. The Philippines Drug Council announced that Nigerian drug organizations were using Filipinos to traffic drugs out of Suriname in the summer of 2009.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, no senior GOS official, nor the GOS, encourages or facilitates illicit drug production or distribution, nor is it involved in laundering the proceeds of the sale of illicit drugs, and does not discourage the investigation or prosecution of such acts. Public corruption by military and police who were possibly influenced and infiltrated by narcotics traffickers is believed to have played some role in limiting the number of seizures made compared to the amount of illegal narcotics that is reportedly flowing through Suriname. Public corruption also appears to affect the prison system, where there are continued claims by non-governmental organizations of drug use and drug sales. Media reports and rumors of money laundering, drug trafficking, and associated criminal activity involving current and former government and military officials continue to circulate. There were 10 arrests of government officials in drug-related cases as of October 30, 2009. Several police officers were prosecuted for drug-related offenses. Public officials arrested for narcotics-related corruption are prosecuted under corruption laws; there is no specialized legislation for narcotics-related corruption.
The GOS demonstrated its willingness during the year to undertake law enforcement measures against public corruption. In the highest profile case of the year, 93 kilograms of cocaine went missing from the vault at the Arrest Team’s headquarters. The Personnel Investigation Department (OPZ) suspended members of the Arrest Team, and is conducting an investigation of the case. The Ministry of Justice and Police formally requested United States assistance in investigating the disappearance of the drugs and re-establishing the integrity of the Suriname Police Force.
Also in 2009, members of the counternarcotics brigade arrested one of their colleagues in a drug raid. Investigation and disposition for the case is pending. Lastly, the OPZ completed the investigation of the 2008 killing by a police officer of another (off-duty) police officer, who was found with 51 kilograms of cocaine in his vehicle. The case was forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution.
Agreements and Treaties. Suriname is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Suriname is also a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and has accordingly passed legislation that conforms to a majority of the Convention’s articles, but it has failed to pass legislation complying with precursor chemical control provisions.
Suriname is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling. Suriname is party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and Migrant Smuggling and the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters but not the Optional Protocol thereto. Since 1976, the GOS has been sharing narcotics information with the Netherlands pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement. The two countries intensified their cooperation to fight drug trafficking with agreements between their police forces and their offices of the Attorney General. In August 1999, a comprehensive six-part, bilateral, maritime counternarcotics enforcement agreement was entered into with the U.S. The U.S.-Netherlands Extradition Treaty of 1904 is applicable to Suriname, but current Suriname law prohibits the extradition of its nationals. Suriname did, however, deport foreign national Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) members to Colombia in 2008 and is cooperating with regional counterparts on ongoing drugs-for-arms network investigations. In 2009, the Council of Ministers approved the draft legislation for Suriname to join the CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) Arrest Warrant Treaty and forwarded it to the State Council for review. In May 2008, Suriname and Guyana signed the “Nieuw Nickerie Declaration,” and agreed to cooperate on narcotics, money laundering, trafficking in persons and weapons. In May 2009, Suriname signed an e-Trace agreement with the United States. Suriname has also signed bilateral agreements to combat drug trafficking with neighboring countries Brazil, Venezuela, and Colombia. Brazil and Colombia have cooperated with Suriname on specific drug-related cases, and have sent high-level government official delegations this year.
Cultivation and Production. There is local cultivation of cannabis in Suriname but there is little data on the amount under cultivation or evidence that it is exported in significant quantities.
Drug Flow/Transit. Suriname’s sparsely populated coastal region and isolated jungle interior, together with weak border controls and infrastructure, make narcotics detection and interdiction efforts difficult. USG analysis indicates that drug traffickers use very remote locations for delivery and temporary storage of narcotics. Cocaine shipments that enter Suriname via small aircraft land on clandestine airstrips that are cut into the dense jungle interior and/or sparsely populated coastal districts. The GOS has worked to combat this flow by monitoring the illegal cross-border traffic near the city of Nieuw Nickerie (on the border with Guyana) and by destroying several clandestine airstrips. European-produced MDMA is transported via commercial airline flights from the Netherlands to Suriname.
Cocaine and heroin from South America, primarily destined for Europe, are transshipped through Suriname via Guyana from Venezuela. Drugs exit Suriname via numerous means including commercial air flights, drug couriers, and concealed in small private planes. In 2009, Italian law enforcement dismantled a drug ring transshipping heroin and cocaine via Suriname and other South American countries to Italy. The majority of cocaine on commercial air flights is bound for Europe, but there have also been several cases of cocaine identified on U.S.-bound flights. The bulk of the cocaine movement out of Suriname to Europe and Africa is via commercial sea cargo and small fishing vessels also carry drugs out to sea and transfer them to large freight vessels in international waters.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. During the year, the NAR conducted a number of activities surrounding the International Day Against Drugs, with a specific focus on youth and at-risk groups. In reaction to several cases of youth in performance groups being arrested for smuggling narcotics into the Netherlands when traveling for cultural performances, the NAR outreach specifically targeted youth in musical groups and brass bands. In 2010, the NAR plans to continue its efforts on raising drug awareness, creating self-help groups, and partnering with local stakeholders on youth and community outreach initiatives. The NAR, together with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice and Police, is also planning a 2010 pilot program for a Drug Treatment Court, which would hear defendants with drug-use related crimes. There is one government detoxification center which is free; other treatment centers are run by non-governmental organizations.
The Bureau of Alcohol and Drugs, a non-governmental entity which has a mandate from the Ministry of Health, reported in mid-2009 an increase in cocaine use in Suriname but based this on anecdotal evidence. A 2007 CICAD-funded household survey’s results were published in February. The NAR will use the survey’s data to formulate new demand reduction policies. The survey, which measured alcohol, cigarette, and drug use in the general public, showed that the drugs of choice are alcohol and cigarettes, and that less than one percent of respondents admitted to cocaine use in the month prior to the survey (except in the Districts of Commewijne and Marowijne, where the percentage was 1.3 percent).
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The United States’ focus is on strengthening the GOS law enforcement and judicial institutions and their capabilities to detect, interdict, and prosecute narcotics trafficking activities.
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, the United States provided training and material support to several elements of the Korps Politie Suriname (KPS), Suriname’s national police force. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also provided technical assistance to the KPS in narcotics and money laundering and investigations. In 2009, the USCG provided engineering and maintenance resident, training to the Suriname Navy. A Department of Defense Tactical Analysis Team (TAT) Chief became operational in Suriname in November 2008, providing additional technical support.
The Road Ahead. The United States encourages the GOS to continue its efforts to pursue major narcotics traffickers and to dismantle their organizations, and to build and strengthen its regional and international cooperation to date. The GOS could enhance its drug control efforts further by continuing to strengthen its focus on port security, specifically seaports, which are seen as the primary conduits for large shipments of narcotics exiting Suriname. A concerted effort by the GOS to increase the number of police and military boats, and to create an operational coast guard, capable of patrolling the border rivers and coastal areas, would also likely enhance counternarcotics efforts. Similarly, in order to achieve greater results, the USG encourages the GOS to continue to engage in capacity-building measures of its counternarcotics-focused units as well as to monitor and protect its porous borders and vast interior with a radar detection system and adequate air support. To enhance its interdiction capabilities at the principal airport and border crossings, the GOS could invest in a passport scanning/electronic database system.
Sweden is not a significant illicit drug producing country. However, police report that Sweden is increasingly becoming a transit country for illegal drugs to other Nordic countries and Eastern European states. The fight against illegal drugs is an important government priority and enjoys strong public support. There are an estimated 26,000 serious drug (viz., heroin, cocaine) users in Sweden, and the overall quantities of narcotics seized in 2009 did not change significantly from 2008. Amphetamine and cannabis remain the most popular illegal drugs and during the year, the influx of methamphetamine increased. Total heroin usage did not change from 2008, although the abuse of anabolic steroids continued to rise. The quantity of narcotics ordered over the internet increased in 2009. The number of high school aged boys and girls who claim to have tried drugs increased two percentage points, cannabis being the most common drug. To combat these trends, law enforcement and customs have been active in several domestic and international counternarcotics projects in the last year.
The majority of narcotics in Sweden originates in South America, West Africa, Eastern Europe, China, and Afghanistan and is smuggled via other EU countries. Khat usage remains restricted to specific immigrant communities. Limited residential cultivation of cannabis occurs, along with a limited number of small kitchen labs producing methamphetamine and anabolic steroids. Sweden is not believed to have any large scale narcotics laboratories. Sweden is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Relative to other European countries, Sweden (both government and society) is highly intolerant of illegal drugs. Sweden places strong focus on prevention and education. According to government statistics, 12 percent of the adult population (15-75 years old) has tried drugs at some point during their lives. According to the latest available figure, Sweden continues to have approximately 26,000 serious drug addicts (i.e. regular intravenous use and/or daily need for narcotics). Some 25 percent of serious drug users are women (in both 2008 and 2009). The most common drugs addicts use are amphetamines, heroine and cannabis.
The National Institute of Public Health notes an increase in drug-related deaths in 2009 from an average of 300 per year to approximately 350 in 2009. According to police reports, Sweden is both a destination and transit country for amphetamines. The seizure of methamphetamine has increased significantly in 2009 due to new methods of production. According to the Swedish Customs a new trend is that the drug is trafficked to Sweden from so called “BMK labs” in Lithuania.
The government-sponsored Organization for Information on Drugs and Alcohol (CAN) reports that the overall number of young people who have used drugs increased compared to that of 2008. The percentage of high school aged boys (15-16 years old) who claim to have been offered drugs increased to 21 percent in 2009, compared to 19 percent in 2008. Corresponding statistics for girls remained at 19 percent in 2009. High school aged boys who report having tried drugs increased two percentage points to nine percent; for high school aged girls, the increase was from five to seven percent. Approximately 80 percent of those who try drugs for the first time do so with cannabis. Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) are the next most commonly used drugs.
There are regional differences in drug use. The use of narcotics is predominately concentrated in urban areas, and the southern parts of the country, but vegetal narcotics are growing in rural areas. The police have observed a countrywide increase in the use of cocaine. Previously considered a “luxury” drug and mainly used in fashionable bars and restaurants, cocaine has become more common due to a significant drop in price. In 2000, one gram of cocaine cost the equivalent of $200, today the price is as low as $55-$120 in Stockholm and $110-$140 in southern Sweden. Cocaine is mainly smuggled to Sweden through the major European ports, such as Rotterdam, and then by land or air. South American smugglers and dealers have long dominated the drug trade, however competition from other criminal groups, such as Serbians and Russians, has lead to a price decrease.
Cannabis is one of the most commonly used narcotics in Sweden. Some 80 percent of the cannabis in Sweden comes from Morocco, the remainder from the Middle East and Central Asia. Cannabis is becoming more common in Sweden; the plant has been adapted so as to now be cultivated in cooler climates. Cannabis users can be found all over Sweden in all socio- economic groups.
The use of khat is exclusive to immigrant communities such as Somalis and Ethiopians, who are continuing a practice of their birth countries. Khat is often smuggled into the country concealed in fruit and vegetable packages. In 2008, the police and customs hired more personnel with in-depth knowledge of khat to combat the influx. The project has resulted in increased seizures of khat and the project will continue during 2009. The Swedish Customs and the Police are also working to change the narcotics law to reduce the possession amount of khat that is legally punishable. Today possession of khat must reach 200 kilos to be considered a serious violation.
Last year’s trend of an increase in the ordering of illicit drugs over the internet continued. Mephedrone, GBL, Methylon and Salvia are the drugs most commonly smuggled via parcels ordered over the Internet. Other Internet-ordered drugs confiscated by the Customs include heroin, steroids and illegal pharmaceuticals such as Tramadol. Ecstasy use has decreased significantly during 2009and been replaced by drugs with similar characteristics. Most packages with illicit drugs originate from the EU, usually smuggled in from China. Combating the Internet narcotics trade is a priority and Swedish law enforcement is coordinating closely with Interpol and Europol to develop methods to prevent teenagers from purchasing drugs online.
The occurrence of athletic doping with such drugs as steroids continues to increase. According to a new study from the National Police Board the number of people using steroids on a regular basis is 10,000-12,000. The University Hospital Karolinska in Stockholm estimates the number of users is around 50,000. The seizure of steroids—both in powder form and pills—increased during 2009. The drugs are smuggled to Sweden as powder and are formed into pills in small drug pharmacies in the country.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives and Accomplishments. The government’s National Action Plan on Narcotics runs through 2010. Demand reduction and supply restriction figure prominently, and the plan includes provisions to increase treatment for prison inmates with drug addictions. Four ministries share the primary responsibility for drug policy: the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Together, officials from these ministries form an independent working group called The Government’s Coordination Body in Drug Related Issues (SAMNARK), which coordinates the implementation of the Action Plan. A governmental investigative commission established to review current narcotics legislation presented its recommendations on December 31, 2008. The commission suggested Swedish authorities monitor the supply of drugs on the internet, and grant law enforcement authorities the right to purchase presently licit substances for analysis to speed up the classification process for the listing of a new illicit drug. The commission also suggested harsher penalties for doping crimes.
Sweden participates in a three-year, Denmark-led project targeting West African cocaine and heroin networks. Continued cooperation with Baltic countries, where significant drug trafficking routes exist, constitutes an ongoing and important element in Sweden’s counternarcotics efforts. Sweden participates in the EU Council of Ministers working group for overall narcotic drugs issues, the Horizontal Working Party on Drugs (HDG). HDG deals primarily with domestic issues, legal problems and the situation in countries outside the EU. Sweden also participates in the Western Balkans and drug combating projects spearheaded by COSPOL, a counternarcotics EU task force led by national police commissioners.
In September the government classified seven substances similar to cannabis as narcotics, among them the popular internet drug “Spice.” In May, Mephedrone was classified as a narcotic. Fighting drugs also remains a high priority area for Sweden’s official development assistance. In 2008 Sweden allocated over $12.6 million for the UN Office of Drugs and Crime.
The Swedish EU Presidency, July-December 2009, has meant increased opportunities to cooperate with countries to combat narcotics. In the negotiations on the EU Framework Decision on Drugs, which was signed in 2004, Sweden was proactive and contributed to a provision to the effect that a more ambitious study of drug issues should be made. The import of this was that the European Commission will not only look at how Member States have implemented the framework decision, but also how the provisions are applied. The Commission presented its evaluation report in May 2009. The work of the Council on analyzing the report took place on November 2-3, 2009 when the drug coordinators of the Member States met in Stockholm.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2009, authorities did not uncover any major drug processing labs. Police reported 58,403 narcotics-related crimes from January to September 2009. This represents a three percent increase compared to the corresponding period of 2008 when 56,735 cases were reported. In 2008 a total of 78,200 narcotics related crimes were reported to the police. Approximately 21 percent of the arrests under the Narcotics Act in 2009 led to convictions, which on an average resulting in seven months in jail. The majority of the crimes involved consumption and possession. Two percent of all convictions are considered serious violations and the average punishment for a serious conviction is four years and eight months imprisonment.
In March 2009, the police made a large drug bust of 447 buyers of narcotics all over the country. The operation was aimed at clients of a 44 year old man selling Tramadol, a drug similar to morphine, via the internet. The 44 year old was sentenced to ten years in prison for drug-related crimes.
Corruption. There were no known cases of public corruption in connection with narcotics in Sweden during the year. Swedish law covers all forms of public corruption and stipulates maximum penalties of six years imprisonment for gross misconduct or taking bribes. Neither the government nor any senior government official is believed to engage in, encourage or facilitate the production or distribution of narcotics or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Sweden is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and is meeting the Convention’s goals and objectives. Sweden is a party to the 1961 Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Sweden is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. The Swedish Police have a cooperation agreement with the Russian Narcotics Control Authorities. The agreement is meant to facilitate counternarcotics efforts in the region through information sharing and bilateral law enforcement coordination. The United States and Sweden provide bilateral assistance in extradition matters under the 1963 and 1984 extradition treaties. In addition, the bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty between the United States and Sweden entered into force on June 1, 2009. More recently, all 27 EU member states, including Sweden have signed and ratified bilateral protocols with the U.S. that implement the 2003 U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements, which will streamline the mutual legal assistance and extradition efforts between the countries. The U.S. has ratified all of these protocols, including the protocol with Sweden and they will enter into force on February 1, 2010.
Sweden has bilateral customs agreements with the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Norway, Hungary, Latvia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Russia, Lithuania, France, Finland, Estonia, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands. Through the EU, Sweden also has agreements with other nations concerning mutual assistance in customs issues and counternarcotics efforts.
Cultivation/Production. No major illicit drug cultivation/production was detected during the year.
Drug Flow/Transit. Drugs mainly enter the country concealed in commercial goods, by air, ferry, and truck over the Oresund Bridge linking Sweden to Denmark. The effectiveness of customs checks at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport is believed to have resulted in an upward trend of smuggling by truck and ferry. The increase in seizures is, according to Swedish Customs, a result of increased international information exchange between agencies. Most seized amphetamines originate in Poland, the Netherlands, and Baltic countries. Regular Baltic ferry routes serve Sweden; in the spring and summer months, amphetamines are trafficked into Sweden via maritime routes. Cannabis usually comes from Morocco and southern Europe; and khat from the Horn of Africa via Amsterdam and London.
Khat use is increasing and, according to the Swedish Customs, criminal networks smuggle khat to Sweden mainly from Kenya, Ethiopia and Yemen via Amsterdam, London and Copenhagen. In 2009 (January-July) Swedish customs seized 6.4 tons of khat, a significant increase compared to 2008. In 98 percent of the cases the seizures were made near to the Öresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark. Somali men living as refugees in Sweden use the drug.
The influence of outlaw motorcycle gangs, such as Hells Angels and Bandidos, remains significant in Sweden. Such groups are regularly involved in the distribution of methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine, which they acquire from Albanian, Serbian and Montenegrin traffickers. Cocaine often comes through Spain and the Baltic region or directly from South America in freight containers. The route for heroin is more difficult to establish, but according to police information, a West African network has established a route to Sweden via Portugal and Spain. West African smugglers are also more likely to carry heroin and cocaine into Sweden in suitcases or in their personal property. In 2009, Swedish law enforcement did not seize any drugs intended for the U.S. market.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The National Institute of Public Health and municipal governments are responsible for organizing and providing compulsory drug education in schools. In 2009, the Public Health Institute updated its education program for students in cooperation with the municipalities and parental groups. Their aim is to increase instruction for children in “how to say no” to drugs. A new drug education program called “education in life” is integrated into the regular curriculum. Several NGO’s are also delivering drug abuse prevention and public information programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Swedish cooperation with U.S. Government law enforcement authorities on all issues, including narcotics, continues to be excellent.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. will pursue enhanced cooperation with Sweden and the EU on narcotics issues.
Switzerland is both a consumer market and transit route for illicit narcotics, but it is not a significant producer of illicit drugs. In 2008 (throughout this report, the latest official statistics available are for 2008) total reported drug arrests reached 47,590, up by 1.3 percent from the 46,957 cases recorded in 2007. Drug arrests peaked at just over 50,000 in 2004. Cocaine seizures dropped below the 2007 record year of 404 kilograms to 284 kilograms. Overall drug seizures declined with the exception of heroin, which more than doubled from 135 kilograms in 2007 to 285 kilograms. The number of drug dealers arrested increased this year by 14 percent from 2,809 to 3,202. They were mostly involved in selling cannabis, followed by cocaine and heroin. Drug smuggling-related arrests increased 42 percent from 183 to 260, lead by cannabis, and followed by cocaine and heroin. Many drug smugglers belong to Swiss-based foreign criminal networks from Africa and the Balkans. The Swiss public continues its strong support for the government’s four-pillar counternarcotics policy of prevention, therapy, “harm reduction”, and law enforcement. The four pillar model has been widely supported by the Federal Council since 1994.
The politics of drug liberalization at the federal level changed, putting the brakes on the cannabis legalization movement that seemed to have gained momentum in recent years. A drug bill aimed at decriminalizing cannabis use for Swiss adults was rejected by voters in 2008; however, voters approved a permanent heroin maintenance (prescription) program for addicts based on medical need. Additionally, authorities in many Swiss cantons largely tolerate possession of marijuana in small quantities for personal consumption. A zero tolerance law against driving while under the influence of drugs (cannabis, heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy) entered into effect on January 1, 2005. Switzerland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
In a country of approximately seven and a half million people, about half a million Swiss residents are thought to use cannabis at least occasionally. Roughly 30,000 people are addicted to heroin and/or cocaine, and more than 7 percent of the population uses a narcotic substance regularly. While reported arrests for heroin consumption increased, the use of other drugs remained more or less the same. However, the number of arrests for drug smuggling increased for marijuana, cocaine, heroin and hashish. Swiss statistics show that cocaine consumption decreased among youth and most cocaine consumers are males aged above 30. Young male drug addicts between 18-24 years are the largest users of amphetamines, LSD, marijuana and Ecstasy. Police are also concerned about the continuing trend by casual users to mix cannabis and other drugs. In 2007, a survey indicated that young people were consuming smaller amounts of cannabis than in the prior years. However, a UNICEF study published in October 2009 indicates Switzerland’s rate of cannabis abuse still places it among the top countries for cannabis use. Both drug smuggling and trafficking related arrests increased, most notably drug smuggling with a 42 percent jump (from 183 to 260 arrests), while drug-related deaths decreased from 152 to 143. The Swiss Federal Police published a report on narcotics activities in 2008. It is available at: www.fedpol.admin.ch/fedpol/fr/home/dokumentation/zahlen_und_fakten.html
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Since January 1, 2002, jurisdiction for all cases involving organized crime, money laundering, and international drug trafficking shifted from the cantons to the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland. The Swiss Federal Office for Public Health believes that its heroin prescription program has a direct impact on the harm caused by drug-related crime: around 70 percent of addicts earned money from illegal activities at the time they entered the program, compared with 10 percent after 18 months in the program. The heroin maintenance prescription program has many detractors. After concentrating on the heroin problem for the past ten years, the city of Zurich said it wanted to be more active in other areas, such as encouraging the reintegration into society of drug addicts.
A pilot project for the distribution of cocaine under prescription has been implemented in Zurich, but it has not been supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. However, the Swiss government is backing other pilot projects in Bern and Basel aimed at distributing Ritalin, a substitute for narcotic drugs. The City of Zurich has also offered, over the last five years, the possibility for youngsters to test their drugs for harmful impurities outside nightclubs without criminal liability. In September 2006, the city established an office, open daily, which provides the same services and is sponsored by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. Swiss and German authorities continue to cooperate under a bilateral police agreement signed on June 22, 2004, aimed at increasing bilateral cooperation at border checkpoints. The main goal of the agreement is to facilitate police cooperation to more effectively deal with drug and weapons smuggling. Document specialists from both countries also assist border guards to use improved techniques to detect forged travel documents. The Swiss-German border crossing at Basel/Larach is one of the busiest in Europe, with 70 million people crossing per year.
Law Enforcement Efforts. According to the Swiss Federal Police, there are three types of organized criminal groups in the country: West African networks involved in cocaine trafficking; Albanian groups dealing in heroin and prostitution; and money laundering networks working from the former Soviet republics. Several cantonal authorities have banned convicted drug dealers residing in another canton from visiting their cantons. They also prohibit convicted drug dealers from visiting certain areas, like railway stations (difficult) and schools (possible). If picked up by police, drug dealers are fined and “deported” to their canton of residency. If picked up again, they are jailed. Deportation of foreign drug dealers to their home country is difficult because they often hide their true country of origin from the police (NB: cantonal police are responsible for deportations, not the Federal Office of Migration). The Swiss Federal Police suspect that many criminals involved use trains to transport drugs to and from Switzerland, Holland and Spain.
The 44th annual meeting of the inter-department working group on Narcotics (GTIS) was organized on May 28, 2009, in Bern. Placed under the direction of the Federal Judicial Police (PJF) which is part of the Federal Police Office (Fedpol), this meeting was aimed at narcotics specialists working both at the federal and cantonal level. The main topic centered on handling hazardous chemicals during police operations against drug producers. Specialists from the Netherlands, pioneers in the fight against clandestine laboratories, were among the guests. Other participants included the Swiss Border Guards and the Swiss Institute of Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic).
Drug consumers were principally arrested for consuming marijuana (47.8 percent), cocaine (18.7 percent), heroin (13.7 percent), and hashish (9.8 percent). Males accounted for 86 percent of drug consumers, and 60 percent of consumers were Swiss nationals. Most of the arrests took place in Zurich, Bern and Vaud. Overall drug seizures declined for cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, LSD, and Ecstasy, but more than doubled for heroin (from 135 kilograms to 285 kilograms).
Drug traffickers were arrested for smuggling marijuana (28.2 percent), cocaine (28 percent), heroin (19 percent), and hashish (8.6 percent). Males totaled 79 percent of traffickers, and 25 percent were Swiss nationals. Foreigners not living in Switzerland accounted for 53 percent of drug traffickers. The major cantons involved were Zurich, Geneva, and Valais.
Drug dealers were 88 percent males, 21 percent Swiss nationals and 51 percent of the foreigners involved live in Switzerland. The major cantons involved were Geneva, Zurich, St.Gallen, Vaud, and Bern.
To give a sense of drug abuse developments in Switzerland, some important drug-related enforcement operations are described below:
In late 2008, the Zurich police dismantled one of the largest ever cannabis trafficking organizations, including a large marijuana production site hidden in a crop field in the canton of Thurgau. Sixteen people were prosecuted, of which nine were Swiss, four Dutch, two Serbs and one Italian. It is estimated they sold seven tons of hashish and marijuana between 2004 and 2008. The case is still pending.
At year end 2008, the Geneva police arrested an American millionaire at the domicile of his eastern-European girlfriend. He was found with 750 grams of marijuana and more than 300,000 Swiss francs in cash. Police became aware of the case when investigators discovered some banknotes containing traces of cocaine on them. Suspecting money laundering activities, police officers traced the tainted cash back to the individual through a bank account in Geneva with more than 600,000 francs on deposit. They also located a luxury yacht which was used to carry cocaine between the Caribbean and the US. The court decision on his case is still pending.
In January 2009, the Lausanne police arrested two drug dealers operating in a nearby forest, and seized two kilos of heroin and several thousand francs. The court decision is still pending.
In February, a Lausanne court jailed two Nigerian asylum seekers working for a Togolese criminal group for smuggling cocaine and money laundering. Following a Europe-wide investigation known as “Inox” 35 people were arrested as part of the investigation, accused of smuggling 15 kilograms of cocaine from West Africa between 2005 and 2008. The Togo-based criminal group transported cocaine to Europe via the Brussels airport using couriers .The individual smugglers were then met by Nigerian gang members who distributed the drugs on their behalf throughout Europe, including Switzerland, collected the profits and passed them back to Togo. To obtain visas to enter Switzerland, dealers placed orders with Swiss companies at trade fairs in Germany and then requested commercial invitations to travel to Switzerland. Instead of transferring money back to Africa via a money transfer service or using other traditional transfer routes, drug funds were converted into hundreds of second-hand cars, which were bought from a Lebanese garage owner in the canton of Bern and shipped to Togo. The networks are organized, with sellers coming from various countries in West Africa to deal cocaine. While Nigerians are very active and often head the network, other people from Togo, Guinea and Guinea Bissau are also involved.
On February 7, Swiss customs arrested two Czechs ages 20 and 22 who were carrying 8 kilograms of marijuana in their vehicle in the canton of Aargau. They were traveling from Germany.
In early March, the counternarcotics unit of the Neuchatel cantonal police reported the dismantling of an African cocaine ring. This operation named “Sibien” led to the arrest of two Ivoirian asylum seekers and a French woman in September 2008. Only 100 grams of cocaine were seized but the tree convicts are suspected of selling more than 2 kilograms of cocaine in Neuchatel, Biel and Bern. An additional Nigerian suspect involved with this network was arrested in Spain in October 2008. 30 persons were also interrogated by police and judicial assistance requests were sent to Spain, Holland, Austria, Italy and Norway where some of the suspects had lived. Two Ivoirians and two Nigerians are in pretrial detention.
In March, the Lucerne police dismantled a Nigerian cocaine ring operating from Holland and France. Several drug smugglers, mostly African women, smuggled a total of 5 kilograms of cocaine, worth half a million francs.
In March, the Zurich police announced the arrest of 44 drug traffickers, including 31 Albanians (mostly illegals), 10 Serbs, and one Turk. All were using eight apartments located in the Zurich cantons, which were used for their selling operations, most notably for heroin and cocaine. The proceeds of the sale were later transferred to Albania. An Albanian with a permanent residency permit who managed all financial transactions acknowledged wiring more than one million francs to his country of origin. He was also caught with more than 340,000 francs in cash and weapons. In total, police officers seized 8.1 kilograms of heroin, 2.7 kilograms of cocaine and 14.3 kilograms of mixing ingredients. The seized cash included 514,375 francs, 12,000 Euros and 11,500 dollars.
On April 20, a 29-year old Turkish repeat offender appeared before the city criminal court of Basel for smuggling at least 40 kilograms of heroin and 7 kilograms of cocaine since 2005. He has been in pre-trial detention since his arrest October 2007.
In May, the Bern city police seized 1.5 kilograms of cocaine in a downtown shop, including a significant amount of cash, forty cell phones and eleven digital cameras. The police arrested thirteen persons of African origin. One person is still detained in pre-trial detention.
On June 17, the Zurich police raided an apartment and seized 1.7 kilograms of heroin, 100g of cocaine and cash. Two Macedonians aged 26-29, a 40-year old Serb, and a 41-year old man from Montenegro were subsequently arrested.
On June 26, Swiss customs arrested two drug smugglers from Bulgaria aged 24-29 on a train between Milano and Zurich. Both were carrying 8 kilograms of heroin worth 1 million francs. They were later handed over to the Tessin cantonal police.
In June 30, the Solothurn cantonal police raided two indoors production sites of marijuana located in business premises in the town of Grenchen. Police officers seized 500 plants, including 60 kilograms of cannabis and hashish, and several thousand francs. The owner of the premises, a 57 year old man, was placed in pretrial detention. Three other persons have been reported to the cantonal prosecutor.
On July 13, a Zurich district court handed severe sentences against seven Dominican drug smugglers. The 40-year old mastermind of the ring received the highest sentence, with 14 years in jail. He organized the import of 186 kilograms of cocaine from the Dominican Republic into the Zurich area since early 2007 by means of his own import company named Caribbean Import GmbH. His 36-year old deputy was sentenced to a 10-year prison sentence. Both will have to pay a fine of 50,000 francs. A 30-year old Dominican woman was sentenced to seven years in prison, while a 38-year old Zurich taxi driver and a 22-year old Turkish woman were sentenced to serve 3.5 years in prison. A 42-year old Greek was also sentenced to one year in prison for documentary fraud and money laundering.
On July 20, Swiss customs in Basel reported the arrest of a 38-year old woman from Bern attempting to smuggle 1.9 kilograms of cocaine. She was using a belt around her waist. The man controlling her, a Nigerian citizen, was later arrested in Zurich.
On August 18, the Neuchatel police reported the arrest of six asylum seekers originating from West Africa, who smuggled more than 2.5 kilograms of cocaine mainly in the northern Val-de-Travers region. A seventh, convict, principally active in the city of Neuchatel, is accused of having sold at least 1.25 kilograms. These arrests resulted from information from several drug addicts.
In August, Swiss customs stationed in Geneva arrested four African drug smugglers aged 29-46 in a Portuguese car. They had swallowed a total of 280 cocaine packets, totaling 5.4 kilograms of cocaine. Police believes these mules mainly come from Africa. They are paid between 500-1000 Euros to swallow the drug.
In September, the Lausanne police arrested 10 members of an Albanian drug smuggling ring and seized one kilograms of heroin, 49 kilograms of mixing ingredients, 55,000 francs in cash and a 9mm gun. After a joint investigation with the Basel police, it appears that the gang sold 5 kilograms of heroin in Lausanne over a seven month period, earning about 1.5 million francs. Part of the money was sent back to Kosovo and Albania. Lausanne police experts suspect that drug trafficking is moving into Geneva because cantonal penalties are weaker there. Many Lausanne-based drug addicts purchase their drug in Geneva.
In September, the Swiss Federal Court of Appeal confirmed an earlier sentence by the Bernese appeal court against a downtown hemp shop owner dubbed “the grandfather of the hemp movement”. The sentence is for 24 months in jail, in addition to a fine of 60,000 franc.
In September, the Swiss customs arrested a 40 year old Dutchman after they discovered 83.5 kilograms of khat hidden in his car. The quantity of khat seized in the Basel area in 2009 has tripled over one year, reaching over half a ton.
During the second quarter of the year, Swiss customs and policemen working at the Zurich airport reported seizing up to 120 kilograms of cocaine, 13 kilograms of hashish and 18,000 Meth-pills. Most of the drugs were hidden in luggage or backpacks. Among those under arrest, there were six women and 17 men, originating from 12 countries and aged between 20 and 70.
Over the first six months of the year, the Geneva counternarcotics unit seized 16 kilograms of heroin, 10 kilograms of cocaine, 46 kilograms of cannabis, 300,000 francs in cash, and arrested a total of 434 persons. One case involved a smuggling ring between Spain and Switzerland (40 kilograms of cannabis).
Geneva police authorities complain that the city’s number one problem is drug trafficking. The Geneva drug scene is controlled by many nationalities depending on the type of drug. Large numbers of drug dealers or traffickers destroy their identity papers and apply for asylum to avoid repatriation to their home country. Excellent international air connections at Zurich and Geneva airports facilitate the movement of smugglers to other destinations as well as to Switzerland. Because of a lack of space in the overcrowded Geneva prison and few repatriation agreements, most foreign dealers are released after apprehension. The Geneva Drug Task Force reports that about 200 young hashish drug dealers from Morocco operate on the streets of Geneva. Many of them reportedly are violent, commit theft, and have been known to stab other drug dealers. In order to evade repatriation, many of them applying for asylum destroy their identity papers and claim they are Palestinians or Iraqis. The average monthly earnings of a drug dealer in Geneva are about SFr. 4,000. Geneva police statistics on drug-related arrests show that 98.5 percent of drug dealers were foreigners.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Switzerland does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Similarly, no senior government official is alleged to have participated in such activities.
Agreements and Treaties. Switzerland and the United States cooperate in law enforcement matters through bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties. Unfortunately, the mutual legal assistance treaty is the oldest bilateral assistance agreement that the United States has in force and it does not contain many provisions found in treaties that are more modern. The process for executing mutual legal assistance requests is very slow in Switzerland and defendants/account holders are provided with copies of the U.S. requests for assistance early in the process thereby impacting U.S. law enforcement’s ability to quickly and effectively pursue its investigation. Switzerland is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Switzerland is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons and recently ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in September 2009.
Cultivation and Production. Switzerland is not a significant producer of illicit drugs, with the exception of illicit production of high THC-content cannabis/hemp. After years of abuses in hemp shops selling a variety of cannabis products, a federal court ruled in March 2000 that selling hemp products with a THC level above 0.3 percent was a violation of the narcotics law regardless of how the shop had labeled the hemp. Since then, police operations in all cantons have targeted the illegal production, traffic and sale of cannabis products. Today, hemp plantations and shops no longer operate in the open but have moved underground. Large scale illicit cultivation of high TNC content hemp has collapsed which has led to an increase in prices and reduced availability.
Drug Flow/Transit. Switzerland is both a transit country for drugs destined for other European countries and a destination for narcotics deliveries.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Switzerland focuses heavily on prevention and early intervention to prevent casual users from developing a drug addiction. Youth programs to discourage drug use cost $6 million annually according to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. Swiss authorities purchase on an annual basis 250 kilograms of heroin for use in maintenance of the 130,000 registered addicts through the Heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) program at the 23 heroin distribution centers. The heroin imported by the Swiss government costs SFr. 100-130 million each year, and originates from Tasmania, Turkey or France-all licit producers of opium products. The Swiss government is also treating 20,000 people with methadone replacement therapy.
Three-quarters of those enrolled in the HAT program were male. The number of slots available in “heroin treatment centers” increased from 1389 to 1429. With 1283 patients by December 2007, the heroin distribution program is currently running at 89 percent of capacity. A total of 130 drug addicts entered the program during 2007. The average participant is 39 year old and 76 percent are male (between the ages of 19 to 70). Average time in heroin treatment is 2.92 years. Of the 169 persons who terminated the heroin prescription program, 71 percent opted for the methadone-assisted programs, or an abstinence therapy.
Swiss authorities report that in many cases, patients’ physical and mental health has improved, their housing situation has become considerably more stable, and they have gradually managed to find employment. Numerous participants have managed to reduce their debts. In most cases, contacts with addicts and the drug scene have decreased, according to the managers of these programs. Consumption of non-prescribed substances declined significantly in the course of treatment, Swiss authorities report.
The current average cost per patient-day at outpatient treatment centers came to 57 Swiss francs. The overall economic benefit–based on savings in criminal investigations and prison terms and on improvements in health–was calculated by Swiss authorities to be 104 Swiss francs. After deduction of costs, the net benefit is 47 Swiss francs per patient-day. Twenty percent of the costs were paid for by the cantons, while 80 percent was paid by the public health insurance.
In early 2005, Switzerland also took part in an international pilot study, the implementation of the Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) for adolescents with a cannabis problem. MDFT was developed at Miami University and has been used successfully in many instances in the U.S.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives/Bilateral Cooperation. On March 15, 2004, Switzerland and the U.S. joined forces to curb the rise in illegal sales of prescription drugs over the Internet. The two countries called for international action in a resolution presented at the annual session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna. The joint resolution stated that every country should introduce and enforce laws against the sale of narcotics and psychotropic drugs over the Internet. Some of the enforcement results of the cooperation which began with the CND resolution are reported in this document.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. and Switzerland will continue to build on their strong bilateral cooperation in the fight against narcotics trafficking and money laundering. In October 2009, the Financial Action Task Force ended its international monitoring of Switzerland and recognized the significant progress Switzerland made in strengthening the systems in place to combat money laundering. The U.S. urges Switzerland to use this strengthened system to become more proactive in seizing and forfeiting funds from narcotics money laundering. The U.S. also will monitor Switzerland’s recent revisions to the Swiss narcotics law.
In 2009, the government of the Syrian Arab Republic (SARG) continued to publicize its efforts to interdict and punish drug smugglers, while downplaying domestic narcotics consumption. Syria remains primarily a transit country for narcotics en route to more affluent markets in Europe and the Persian Gulf. Continuing uncertainty about the direction of Lebanon and Iraq, porous borders, and endemic police corruption make Syria an attractive overland smuggling route in both directions between Europe/Turkey and the Persian Gulf. Domestic Syrian consumption of illicit drugs is not widespread, largely due to harsh penalties and cultural norms stigmatizing substance abuse. However, recent reports indicate an increasing prevalence of local prescription drug abuse, particularly in Aleppo. Syria continues to have a very cooperative counternarcotics relationship with Saudi Arabia and Jordan, but counternarcotics cooperation with Lebanon has diminished since Syrian forces withdrew from Lebanon in 2005. Syria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Syria is not a major producer of narcotics or precursor chemicals. Due to political uncertainty in neighboring Lebanon and Iraq, Syria remains an increasingly important transit country for narcotics between Europe and the Persian Gulf. Syria is a trafficking route for hashish, heroin, and Captagon (fenethylline), a synthetic amphetamine-type stimulant. Captagon is not produced in Syria but is increasingly trafficked through Syria from Turkey and Lebanon to the Gulf States.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Syrian drug policy is based on Law No. 2 of 1993, which authorizes harsh punishment—including capital punishment—for those convicted of narcotics manufacturing, trafficking, or sales. The same law requires treatment at state-operated rehabilitation facilities for drug addicts who surrender to the police. Provided addicts have no other serious criminal offenses, and make a good-faith effort during treatment programs, Law No. 2 exempts them from punishment. Authorities admit that some drug dealers have exploited this aspect of the law to avoid incarceration. Some even used their time getting “treatment” to locate additional customers.
In 2002, Syria upgraded its Counternarcotics Unit from a branch to a directorate of the Ministry of Interior. The government also opened regional counternarcotics offices in Aleppo province (covering the Turkish border) and in Homs province (to monitor the Lebanese border) with eventual plans to open offices in the remaining provinces. Since 2002, five additional counternarcotics offices have opened in Damascus, Zabadani (near Damascus), Dar’a, Latakia, and Dayr Az Zawr. In 2005, Syrian officials implemented a 2002 draft decree providing financial incentives of up to several million Syrian pounds ($1 = 46 SYP) to anyone providing information about drug trafficking and/or illicit drug crop cultivation in Syria. A new police facility for the Syrian Anti-Narcotics Department was opened in Damascus during the early part of 2006. With the opening of the new facility came the arrival of new and updated equipment that enhanced Syria’s drug investigation capabilities. This facility also houses the country’s newest drug lab. In parallel, the (SARG) created the National Committee for Narcotic Affairs, which was tasked with setting up general drug-related polices and coordinating efforts with relevant local and international agencies to formulate prevention and treatment plans. The National Committee for Drug Affairs convened in June 2008 and recommended the establishment of a drug database, the funding of expanded awareness campaigns and treatment programs, and preparation of a national counternarcotics strategy (including rehabilitation). Headed by the Minister of Interior, the committee included representatives from a broad range of concerned Ministries, civic organizations and labor unions.
Syria also contributes to combating the spread and trafficking in narcotics through the Arab Bureau of Narcotic Affairs, which is affiliated with the Arab League. Through this organization, Syria exchanges narcotics trafficking information with other Arab countries.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The number of successful drug apprehensions during the period January-June 2009 stood at 2,480 cases and the number of persons standing trial on drug-related offenses was 3,826. During the same period, the Syrian government confiscated 822 kilograms of hashish, 26 kilograms of heroin, 9.7 million Captagon tablets, 321 kilograms of hashish oil, 196 liters of precursor materials and 61,138 assorted narcotic tablets. Minimal quantities of other narcotics were also confiscated. In a bid to combat narcotics smuggling and drug dealing, Syrian law enforcement personnel cracked down on drug dealers and continually reported their successful raids in the local media. For example, in April 2009, Syrian authorities in Hama dismantled a network of drug addicts and traffickers; Zabadani police officers apprehended 25 persons smuggling 10 kilograms of hashish, heroin, and cocaine; and security squads in Aleppo arrested a doctor and a nurse at a mental facility for selling licit drugs containing narcotic ingredients to addicts. In May, counternarcotics agents in Latakia apprehended a couple trafficking and dealing drugs which had entered Syria from Lebanon; and counternarcotics agents in Homs confiscated one million Captagon tablets from a Turkish national. In June, police in Hama dismantled and arrested a network of drug dealers and addicts. In July, a drug dealer was arrested in Homs with over 1 kilogram of narcotics in his possession. In September, the police apprehended a number of drug dealers in Homs attempting to smuggle 800 Captagon tablets, security forces confiscated 24,000 Captagon tablets at Damascus Airport destined for the Gulf Region, and authorities unveiled a network of 15 persons from Syria and Turkey smuggling narcotic tablets through Latakia and Tartus ports. The tablets were hidden in electrical appliances for reshipment through Yemen and Egypt to their final destination in Saudi Arabia. Nine pharmacies were closed in Dayr Az Zawr in 2009 due to the illegal sale of medicines. Multiple media reports continue to highlight the drug enforcement issues in Aleppo. In September 2009, Aleppo security forces cracked down on drug dealers and addicts—the second campaign of this type in the city in three months.
In 2009, the Syrian Minister of Interior announced that his Ministry would train officers and specialized staff to combat the trafficking of narcotics. The Minister claimed that Syria’s national strategy to reduce demand for narcotics and stimulant drugs was a success, and he hailed the national committee for drugs affairs established to meet that goal. In January 2009, the Yemeni Ambassador to Syria handed over to the Syrian Minister of Industry a list of Syrian companies suspected of involvement in the trafficking of drugs to Yemen. The Ambassador told the Minister that these companies facilitate the smuggling of drugs hidden in goods exported to Yemen. The Ambassador demanded Syria take deterrent measures against them and blacklist them from doing business in Yemen. To date, neither side has indicated follow-up action on this issue.
Corruption. Corruption is a daily fact of life in Syria. Cultural acceptance of corruption, in addition to below-average compensation for police and customs officials, creates an environment ripe for smuggling. The Syrian government does not publish detailed information on corruption investigations. In January 2009, state-controlled newspapers reported on a customs scandal which took place two years ago at the Tal Abyad border crossing with Turkey. A car carrying 4,550 stimulant tablets in a secret compartment was allowed to cross the border without inspection. The car was later stopped by Turkish customs officers. The Syrian customs officer who allowed the car to proceed across the border was later acquitted in court, but the authorities are still investigating the matter and have started building a case against the former Director General of Tal Abyad Crossing, who is suspected of being involved in the drug smuggling operation. The Syrian government has an Investigations Administration (Internal Affairs Division) responsible for weeding out corrupt officers in the counternarcotics unit and the national police force. The Investigations Administration is independent of both the counternarcotics unit and the national police and reports directly to the Minister of Interior. The government of Syria does not officially encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Syria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. On April 8, 2009 Syria ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, but has not yet ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. Syria and the United States do not have a counternarcotics agreement, nor is there an extradition treaty between the two countries.
Cultivation/Production. Traditional drug cultivation and production remain at negligible levels in Syria. However, Syria does have a sizable, legitimate pharmaceutical industry that produces inexpensive prescription pain medication, among other drugs. Currently, the trafficking of prescription pain medicine is not legally categorized in Syria as the equivalent offense of trafficking in illicit drugs, despite the addictive nature of most prescription painkillers. Syrian law previously allowed the practice of “leasing” a licensed pharmacist’s credentials. In this practice, investors would “lease” a pharmacist’s credentials in order to open and operate a licensed pharmacy in Syria. A pharmacist received payment for allowing his/her name to appear on the business registration, but the pharmacist may have had nothing further to do with the operation of the pharmacy. Although the practice of “leasing” pharmacist’s credentials is now illegal, it is still occurring in Syria. In an effort to combat this problem the SARG is now issuing identification badges to all pharmacists and requiring they be worn when working in a pharmacy.
Production of narcotics is a minor problem in Syria and incidents are rarely reported. In October 2009, the Criminal Security Branch in Aleppo received a tip on money counterfeiting which led to the discovery of a secret factory for the production of narcotics in one of Aleppo’s more affluent neighborhoods. The products were seized and sent to Damascus for analysis. Of the eight people arrested, none had a prior criminal record.
Drug Flow/Transit. Syrian officials estimate that, since 2007, the overall flow of illegal narcotics transiting Syria and destined for other countries has increased. As mentioned above, one likely reason for this increased traffic is that the continuing political problems in Lebanon and Iraq have made Syria a more attractive overland smuggling route between Europe/Turkey and the Gulf. Transshipment of narcotics from Turkey continues to represent a major challenge to Syria’s counternarcotics efforts, as the porous Turkish/Syrian border provides easy entry points for drug smuggling into Syria. Narcotics coming from Iraq are transported into Syria both directly and via Jordan. The SARG’s reported seizure statistics suggest that Syria’s counternarcotics efforts have either been more effective in 2009, or, more likely, the overall flow of narcotics has increased. Main shipment routes include the transit of hashish and heroin through Syria to Europe and other countries in the region; opium from Pakistan and Afghanistan transiting Syria to Turkey; and Captagon pills from Bulgaria transiting Turkey and then transiting Syria to Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Syrian government’s counternarcotics strategy, which is coordinated by the Ministry of Interior, uses the media to educate the public on the dangers of drug use. Drug awareness training is a part of the national curriculum for schoolchildren. The Ministry also conducts awareness campaigns through university student unions and trade associations. The Syrian government regularly publishes accounts of successful law enforcement efforts to combat narcotics in the various government-controlled media outlets.
Counternarcotics campaigns were noticeably on the rise during 2008 and this trend continued in 2009, particularly with programs marking the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. For example, a seminar was held in the Arabic Cultural Center in Damascus on this day to raise awareness against the dangers of drug use. The seminar, organized by the National Committee for Drug Affairs, included speeches by the Minister of Interior and representatives from the Union of Al Thawra Youth Organization and the Ministry of Health. Another seminar was held in Aleppo by the Society Mobilization Team, a Syrian organization established with assistance from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) that focuses on drug, environment and population issues. An officer from the Counternarcotics Directorate gave a presentation on various narcotics, production methods, and the effect of these narcotics on drug abusers. This speech was followed by two additional presentations, one from a sociology professor and another from a clergyman, both of whom warned against the use of drugs. Local official media outlets dedicated a full page to the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, addressing the dangers of narcotics use, the steps taken by the Syrian government to combat drug use, and new drug-related legislation.
Due to the social stigma attached to drug use and stiff penalties under Syria’s strict antitrafficking law, domestic consumption of illicit drugs remains relatively low. In 2009, an officer from the Counternarcotics office in Aleppo estimated the number of drug addicts in Syria at 3 per 10,000. Although there are no independent statistics available to verify the accuracy of this claim, anecdotal evidence suggests the SARG is significantly underestimating the prevalence of illicit drug use in Syria. Furthermore, the government’s estimate likely does not include prescription drug abusers, as mentioned above. Unless the government increases the penalties for trading prescription medication, and raises public awareness of this problem, the number of drug users in Syria will likely grow.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. In discussions with Syrian officials, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials continue to stress the need for diligence in preventing narcotics and precursor chemicals from transiting Syrian territory and the necessity of terminating any involvement, active or passive, of individual Syrian officials in the drug trade.
Bilateral Cooperation. DEA officials based in Nicosia, Cyprus maintain an ongoing dialogue with Syrian authorities in the Counternarcotics Directorate.
The Road Ahead. The United States will continue to encourage the Syrian government to maintain its commitment to combating narcotics smuggling and production in the region; to strengthen anti-money laundering legislation; and to continue to encourage Syria to improve its counternarcotics cooperation with neighboring countries.
Taiwan authorities continued to make seizures of psychotropic drugs like Ketamine and MDMA (Ecstasy) in 2009, but there is no evidence to suggest that Taiwan is reverting to a transit/transshipment point for drugs bound for the U.S. Taiwan Customs and counternarcotics agencies work closely with their U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) counterparts, guided by the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (MLAA) between the American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the U.S. Taiwan Customs and counternarcotics agencies also work closely with their U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) counterparts, guided by the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) as signed by AIT and TECRO in 2001; and by the aforementioned MLAA.
Taiwan is not a member of the UN and therefore cannot be a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Nevertheless, the Taiwan authorities have in place legislation consistent with the goals and objectives of this Convention.
II. Status of Taiwan
Taiwan’s role as a major transit/transshipment point for narcotics has diminished due to law enforcement efforts and the availability of alternate routes within the southern part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Taiwan authorities continue to strengthen counternarcotics efforts with enhanced airport interdiction, thorough coast guard and customs inspections, surveillance, and other investigative methods. Some drugs, however, continue to transit Taiwan en route to Japan and the international market. The PRC, the Philippines, Thailand, and Burma remain the primary sources of drugs smuggled into Taiwan. In 2009, Taiwan law enforcement and customs agencies continued to seize drug shipments originating from Thailand and Burma and identified heroin shipments seized in Thailand which were destined for the Taiwan market.
III. Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan (LY) failed to enact any new counternarcotics legislation in 2009 due to protracted infighting between the two major political blocs in the LY. Legislation that would permit the use of confidential sources of information and enable undercover operations was not enacted during 2009; however, a continued effort is being made to encourage the LY to implement such legislation.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In the absence of a single focused drug enforcement agency like the U.S. DEA, the Ministry of Justice continues to lead Taiwan’s counternarcotics efforts with respect to manpower, budgetary, and legislative responsibilities. The Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB), the National Police Administration/Criminal Investigation Bureau (NPA/CIB), Coast Guard Administration, and Customs all contributed to counternarcotics efforts in 2009. MJIB, NPA/CIB, and the Coast Guard Administration continue to cooperate on joint investigations and freely share information with their DEA, CBP, and ICE counterparts. During 2009, Taiwan law enforcement authorities exchanged intelligence information with DEA, CBP, ICE, and other foreign law enforcement agencies within the Asia Region.
In 2007 Taiwan law enforcement authorities seized 137.7 kilograms of Heroin, 17.9 kilograms of MDMA, 22.3 kilograms of Marijuana, 124.3 kilograms of Amphetamines, and 412 kilograms of Ephedrine. In 2008 Taiwan law enforcement authorities seized 130.5 kilograms of Heroin, 0.9 kilograms of MDMA, 13.2 kilograms of Marijuana, 28.4 kilograms of Amphetamines, and 66.4 kilograms of Ephedrine.
Corruption. There is no indication that the Taiwan authorities, as a matter of policy, either encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, or other controlled substances, nor launder proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No cases of official involvement in narcotics trafficking or the laundering of proceeds from illicit drug transactions were reported in 2009.
Agreements. In 1992, AIT and its counterpart, TECRO, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Counternarcotics Cooperation in Criminal Prosecutions. In 2001, AIT and TECRO signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA). In March 2002, the AIT-TECRO MLAA entered into force and remains the primary avenue for cooperation.
Drug Flow/Transit. Thailand and Burma remain the principal sources for heroin coming into Taiwan. The PRC, Philippines, and Malaysia are seen as transit points for methamphetamine and synthetic drugs, such as Ketamine and MDMA, destined for Taiwan. India has emerged as a source for diverted Ketamine which is smuggled into Taiwan and other international markets. Taiwan’s domestic clandestine laboratories continue to provide a majority of the methamphetamine consumed in Taiwan. In 2009, Taiwan seized Ketamine coming from India, Europe, and the PRC and observed an increase in illicit domestic Ketamine production. Couriers arriving at Taiwan’s international airports, as well as fishing boats and cargo containers at Taiwan seaports, remain the primary means of smuggling drugs into Taiwan.
Most of the drugs smuggled into Taiwan appear to be for local consumption; the remainder is intended for further distribution to international markets, especially Japan. In 2009, Taiwan has seen an increase in domestically-produced methamphetamine and a decrease in methamphetamine that was formerly imported from the PRC.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Ministry of Education and the Taiwan National Health Administration continue to forge partnerships with various civic and religious groups to raise awareness about the dangers of drug use and educate the public about the availability of treatment programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. Working with the local authorities to prevent Taiwan from reverting to its earlier status as a major transit/transshipment point for U.S.-bound narcotics remains the primary goal of U.S. counternarcotics policy. Counternarcotics training and institution building have proven to be the cornerstones of this policy. In 2009, the DEA, along with its Office of International Training, sponsored a one week training seminar on Clandestine Laboratory Investigations which was attended by representatives of the MJIB, NPA/CIB, Taiwan Ministry of Finance Customs Authority, and the Taiwan Coast Guard Authority. Also in 2009, ICE and CBP provided a four day workshop on Bulk Cash Smuggling. The workshop was coordinated and hosted by the Taiwan Ministry of Customs and was attended by representatives from Taiwan Customs, MJIB, NPA/CIB, and the Taiwan Coast Guard Authority. This workshop enabled ICE and CBP to share best practices on the interdiction and investigation of bulk cash smuggling, fuel for all criminal activities. This workshop also provided ICE and CBP the opportunity to learn about Bulk Cash Smuggling laws, regulations, and processes in Taiwan.
Taiwan law enforcement and Customs agencies enjoy a close working relationship with the DEA, AIT’s Regional Security Office, and CBP and ICE. Agents from MJIB, NPA/CIB, and the Coast Guard Administration all participated in joint investigations and shared intelligence with their DEA counterparts in 2009, resulting in several significant drug seizures and arrests in Taiwan and throughout the Pacific region. In addition, the Coast Guard Administration and Taiwan Customs shared information with their counterparts in ICE. The U.S. Coast Guard trained Taiwanese officers by presenting the Maritime Law Enforcement Boarding Officer Course in Taiwan.
Road Ahead. AIT, DEA , CBP, and ICE anticipate building upon, and enhancing, what is already an excellent working relationship with Taiwan’s counternarcotics agencies. Taiwan counterparts continue to pursue an island-wide forensic clandestine laboratory response capability. In the coming year, the DEA is already planning a Basic Drug Investigations Workshop, a Chemical Control Seminar, and a Precursor Chemical and Clandestine Laboratory Seminar. This training will strengthen the investigative abilities of Taiwan’s law enforcement agencies while, at the same time, promoting continued cooperation and information exchange in the counternarcotics effort. CBP, DEA, and ICE are also planning a joint seminar on drug interdiction/investigation and precursor chemical smuggling that will be provided to Taiwan Custom authorities. More intelligence exchange and jointly conducted investigations are anticipated for 2010. DEA will also continue to urge Taiwan law enforcement to provide the DEA Drug Signature program samples of drugs seized in Taiwan.
Other than geographically limited and small-scale marijuana cultivation, Tajikistan is not a producer of illicit narcotics. It is a major transit country. Significant amounts of opium/heroin are trafficked north from the 1344-km Tajik-Afghan border along the established land-based routes and then onward through Central Asia to Russia. There is some evidence of trafficking in Afghan opiates to and through China, but the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Dushanbe reports that the vast bulk of Afghan opiates transiting Tajikistan are consumed within the Russian Federation. The Tajik Drug Control Agency is operating an INL-funded Drug Liaison Office in Taloqan, northern Afghanistan, which has been instrumental in several significant drug seizures. Internally, Tajikistan’s law enforcement and security services coordinate some investigative and enforcement activities with each other, but the coordination is inconsistent and of undetermined effectiveness.
The Government of Tajikistan implements counternarcotics activities. In the past, Tajikistan’s seizures of Afghan opiates have exceeded all other Central Asian states combined. In the first nine months of 2009, Tajikistan’s seizures remained high, compared to its Central Asian neighbors, but the amount decreased compared to the previous year’s results. Tajik law enforcement makes arrests and seizures in mid- to low-level cases and Tajik cities are generally free of drug-related street crimes. The Tajik enforcement authorities, however, apparently are unwilling or unable to target and prosecute major traffickers. Tajikistan is a party to the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention.
II. Status of the Country
Geography and economics make Tajikistan an attractive transit route for illegal narcotics. The Pyanj River, which becomes the Amu Darya after joining with the Vakhsh, forms most of Tajikistan’s 1344 km border with Afghanistan. It is thinly guarded and difficult to patrol. Traffickers can easily cross the border at numerous points without inspection.
Tajikistan’s legitimate economic opportunities are limited. The recent economic and financial crisis has hit Tajikistan hard. Before the crisis, about one million Tajiks worked outside Tajikistan, many in construction in Russia. Since the crisis, some have returned home and are largely jobless. Remittances have fallen 34 percent from 2008 levels.
Even in normal economic times, Tajikistan’s economic growth possibilities are limited by aging infrastructure and power shortages and complicated by the fact that its major export routes transit neighboring Uzbekistan, an unfriendly and uncooperative neighbor. The U.S.-built bridge at Nijniy Pyanj provides a new route for trade through Afghanistan, but the level of legitimate commerce so far generated does not contribute significantly to Tajikistan’s economy.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The government has made significant legal reforms, but for the most part these reforms are not directly related to narcotics trafficking. On December 3, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon signed into law a new Criminal Procedure Code. The new Criminal Procedure Code contains significant changes designed to improve the fairness, and effectiveness of the criminal justice system. It will transfer the power of issuing arrest, search and wiretapping warrants from prosecutors to the judiciary. If the President signs the law as expected, the Criminal Procedure Code will take effect April 1, 2010.
The first Tajik Ombudsman was appointed by President Rahmon in May 2009. The Ombudsman is charged with conducting an independent review of claims against government officials and agencies. The Ombudsman personally is a well regarded official who enjoys close contacts with the President. His ability to address systemic issues has not yet been tested. The institution will be comprised of political-economical, socioeconomic-cultural and administrative departments and will employ 17 specialists and 15 administrative staff. The Tajik Government provided the Ombudsman with a building in good condition and allocated about $80,000 for its 2009 operations.
President Rahmon established a National Legislative Center in March of 2009. The goal of the Center is to eliminate contradictions in laws, improve the quality of new laws, and bring Tajik legislation into compliance with international treaties signed by Tajikistan. President Rahmon appointed Mahmad Zabirovich Rahimov, Member of Parliament, as the Director of the National Legislative Center. During the Soviet era, Mr. Rahimov was the Head of the Department of Commercial Law at the National University. INL Dushanbe has developed a Justice Sector project to assist training lawyers who will work in the Center.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In the first nine months of this year, the DCA seized over 744 kilos of illicit drugs. The DCA participated in four joint operations with the Border Guards. These operations were successful in seizing 76 kilos of illicit narcotics, to include eleven kilos of heroin, twelve kilos of raw opium and 53 kilos of cannabis. The DCA instituted 110 criminal proceedings.
The Border Guards are the first line of defense against contraband trafficking along the Tajik-Afghan border. They seized 897 kilos of drugs during the first nine months of 2009, which is a 10.4 percent decrease over the same period of last year. They destroyed over a million wild hemp plants. In the first nine months of 2009, the border guards have registered 199 illegal border crossings, and have arrested 7 drug dealers, including leaders of large transnational drug groups. Also, the border guards detained 831 persons presenting fraudulent travel documents, and recovered 46 firearms, including 26 submachine guns, 13 carbines, 1 machine–gun, and more than 1600 rounds of ammunition.
Corruption. Corruption is endemic. Salaries of civil servants, including law enforcement officers, are abysmally low. Under these circumstances, many civil servants look to increase income by charging for services that should be free, or accepting or demanding money to overlook violations of the law. Although there are institutions to investigate corruption, there are no measures in place to change the conditions that give rise to corruption. Tajikistan does not, as a matter of official government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Over the first nine months of 2009, the State Financial Control and Anti Corruption Agency conducted 892 inspections at state-run economic entities and other federally funded organizations. Overall, 666 officials and managers have been implicated in wrongdoing, and disciplinary and administrative actions have been imposed upon them, including 28 dismissals. Additionally, inspections of the activities of 69 private companies revealed tax evasion cases, totaling more than 11.8 million Somoni.
Agreements and Treaties. Tajikistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1972 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Tajikistan is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons.
Cultivation/Production. In a recent address to the donor community, DCA Head General Rustam Nazarov stated that small-scale marijuana cultivation was taking place in the Khatlon region of Tajikistan. However, this problem is insignificant when compared to the opiates flowing north from Afghanistan.
Drug Flow/Transit. The latest UNODC estimates indicate that about fifty tons of narcotics are smuggled into—and out of—Tajikistan each year. Domestic production is small, and domestic use is insignificant compared to the transit volume. Most smuggled narcotics continue on through Central Asia and into Russia, where they are consumed.
The quantity of Afghan opiates crossing into Tajikistan, transiting through the mountainous Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) and entering western China remains undetermined. DCA officials in Khorogh claim that the Mobile Patrols in the area are deterring large scale smuggling. Lack of verifiable intelligence and actual seizures in that region make it difficult to assess the extent of this problem. Reports from China do indicate growing drug problem in the Xinjiang Region.
The amount of precursor chemicals used in Afghan heroin production coming from both western China to Afghanistan and via rail from the Russian Federation is unknown. While the U.S. and other donors assist Tajik authorities in addressing both of these precursor routes, successful interdiction has been very minimal. Existing trade agreements allow sealed rail containers to move uninspected from Russia to Afghanistan. Since there had been no precursor seizures it is difficult to determine the exact extent of the problem, but drug refining and production in Afghanistan continue unabated indicating that the necessary chemicals are reaching criminals in Afghanistan by some route. The GBAO region is of particular concern due to the minimal police presence in the region and deficient customs inspections at the Kulma pass. DCA Mobile Interdiction Teams are not set up to inspect cargo trucks for mismarked/illegal cargo, particularly since narcotics sniffing dogs are not trained to detect precursor chemicals. Ultimately, Tajik customs officials are going to be the key to obtaining seizures of precursors.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The U.S. Embassy conducts drug demand reduction projects to complement other U.S. counternarcotics initiatives. The projects target high school students to promote a healthy and drug-free lifestyle and are popular and well received. In October 2009 the U.S. Embassy International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Office jointly with the Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation of Tajikistan organized the Body Building Championship dedicated to drug demand reduction and promoting a healthy lifestyle among young people in Tajikistan.
The Drug Control Agency continued to expand and develop initiatives to increase drug awareness, primarily among school children. In June 2009 the Drug Control Agency held drug demand reduction events in five summer camps in the Varzob district. The DCA also held similar events in all regions of the country.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. On May 5, 2009, the U.S. Embassy signed an Amendment to the Letter of Agreement on cooperation on narcotics control and law enforcement issues dated January 27, 2003. This amendment provides $9,426,000 in additional assistance for narcotics control, law enforcement, and justice sector reform. With this assistance, the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement program has provided more than $37 million in assistance to support Tajikistan’s security, rule of law and counternarcotics efforts since 1992.
The U.S. Embassy INL Office in Dushanbe signed a co-financing agreement for $1,600,000 with the Asian Development Bank for the reconstruction of the Kulma and Kizil-Art border crossing posts. This reconstruction will provide better living and working conditions to the Border Guards, Customs Service and other agencies working at these posts. This is expected to lead to improved border control. This joint project funds the construction of better facilities than either the United States or the Bank could fund separately.
The bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Tajikistan in counternarcotics and law enforcement is sound but the U.S. government continues to press for more direct operational and investigative cooperation. Cooperation in justice sector reform is continuing and has led to progress in prosecutorial development and international law projects.
The International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Office in the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan is headed by a full-time International Narcotics and Law Enforcement officer. In supporting the many programs directly implemented by INL, the U.S. Embassy funds the UNODC as an implementer in supporting the Drug Control Agency; the International Organization for Migration for implementation of Trafficking in Persons programs; the American Bar Association to implement rule of law programs; and local non-governmental organizations for implementation of justice programs. The INL section also implements programs directly.
The INL Office provides financial support to the Drug Control Agency Mobile Team in GBAO. The INL staff will provide technical advice and will monitor the implementation of the project. The goal of the project is to expand professional, technical and infrastructure capacity of the DCA to detect, investigate, interdict and report on the illegal movement of narcotics, including pre-cursor chemicals, in the GBAO region of Tajikistan.
Effective narcotics interdiction requires cross-border cooperation and information sharing. Since 2007, the Drug Control Agency implemented an INL–funded pilot project with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to create an office in the Taloqan, northern Afghanistan. The DEA Dushanbe Office is responsible for providing operational support in reference to monitoring/ supervising operational case development, and confidential source recruitment and management. UNODC, the implementing agency, provides support to the Taloqan office for administrative managements like payment of salaries, building operating expenses, provision of equipment, vehicle expenses, and provision of expert training in intelligence-led policing. INL staff will provide technical advice and will monitor the implementation of the project.
The U.S. Embassy’s Border and Law Enforcement Working Group (BLEWG) coordinates all USG assistance on counternarcotics and border assistance. Donor countries and organizations coordinate assistance through the monthly meeting of the Border International Group (BIG). The U.S. is renovating the Ministry of Internal Affairs Academy, and an embedded U.S. advisor, a retired NYPD officer, provides information and assistance concerning curriculum development and teaching methodology.
The U.S. Embassy created the biweekly Development Assistance Working Group (DAWG), which addresses all aspects of USG assistance in Tajikistan not covered by the BLEWG. As a major implementer of USG assistance programs INL is a member of the DAWG.
Road Ahead. The U.S. Embassy INL Office works to improve the justice sector to ensure individuals who commit crimes are prosecuted and convicted in a manner consistent with international human rights standards; provide access to justice for the poor, underserved, and disadvantaged; support the development and unification of the defense bar; combat extremism in the legal training of religious leaders; improve the criminal code and its implementation; combat crimes of trafficking, money laundering and corruption; and strive to reduce illegal drug demand.
INL closely coordinates its programs within the Embassy, the Government of Tajikistan, and the international community including the European Union, the United Nations, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The long-term elements include building and renovating border posts along the Afghan border; installing communications and counternarcotics interdiction equipment; and improving the infrastructure, curricula, and methodology of the law enforcement training academies.
Program sustainability is an overarching concern and consideration. USG assistance in Tajikistan cannot be seen as open ended. However, it is unlikely that the Government of Tajikistan will take on the costs of sustaining follow-on to INL programs in the near future. Upcoming assistance projects proposals must be developed with this fact in mind.
Tanzania is located along drug trafficking routes linking Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and, to a lesser extent, the United States. Drugs like cocaine, heroin, khat, and Mandrax, as well as raw opium pass through Tanzania’s porous borders. In addition, the domestic production of cannabis is a significant problem, with active cultivation as well as wild growth in many regions. While domestic use of cannabis has plateaued, heroin and cocaine use continues to increase, particularly among the young, in affluent neighborhoods, and around tourist areas, like Zanzibar. While the Government of Tanzania is working to build the capacity of its law enforcement and health institutions to combat drug trafficking and abuse, the government is constrained by the lack of financial as well as human capital. Within the law enforcement sector, corruption continues to erode the efficacy of existing counternarcotics efforts. Tanzania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Tanzania’s porous borders are a problem. They offer numerous possible points of entry to drug traffickers through poorly controlled land borders and by way of a 1424-kilometer coastline. Drugs are believed to enter Tanzania by air, sea, roads, and rail. Major points of entry include airports in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro, seaports at Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, and smaller ocean and lake ports like Tanga, Mtwara, Mwanza, and Bagamoyo. Traffickers reportedly conduct a significant amount of narcotics smuggling offshore via dhows and small boats that avoid ports. Tanzanians are sometimes used as “drug mules” by organized trafficking groups. During 2009, Tanzanians were arrested for drug trafficking elsewhere in East Africa.
Domestic use of narcotics appears to be on the rise, although cannabis use appears to have stabilized. Because cocaine and heroin are not as affordable as cannabis or khat, they are used in smaller quantities and primarily within affluent urban areas. However, the growth of the tourism industry, particularly on Zanzibar and near Arusha, as well as increasing affluence in Tanzania’s larger cities and towns, have increased demand for these more expensive narcotics.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Efforts to amend the Anti-Drugs Control Commission Act of 1995, which were designed to strengthen the Drug Control Commission (DCC) and increase the penalty for drug trafficking, failed in 2007. Currently, magistrates typically impose fines on offenders. Prosecutors rarely seek prison sentences. The law stipulates that convicted drug traffickers be fined three times the market value of the drugs with which they are caught, but not less than Tsh 10 million (approximately $7700).
According to the DCC, the government drafted a national drug control policy during the year. This policy is currently under review by various government stakeholders.
In 2008, the DCC formed a task force, which includes representation from the DCC, Police Service, Customs, and Immigration. This body facilitates interagency collaboration on narcotics issues, operating at the national, regional, and district levels to maximize the benefits of collaboration between law enforcement agencies. Task force activities are funded from the DCC’s $700,000 budget.
On Zanzibar, the proposed Illicit Drugs Bill was passed by the Zanzibar House of Representatives on October 23, 2009. This bill enhances the powers of police officers to search and seize narcotics, while also allowing for “controlled delivery” of narcotic shipments to persons suspected of involvement in transporting illegal narcotics. In addition, the bill provides for the formation of a narcotics secretariat and a counternarcotics commission to coordinate counternarcotics efforts. The new bill is currently awaiting the Zanzibar president’s signature.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Tanzania has three counternarcotics police teams, located in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, and Moshi. The Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) has roughly 150 officers nationwide, with 50 in the capital city. Law enforcement efforts are increasingly successful at arresting small-scale smugglers and “drug mules.” This increase reflects the ANU’s efforts to sensitize community members about drug issues and earn their confidence by demonstrating the government’s commitment to combat drug trafficking. Narcotics interdictions generally result from tip-offs from informants. Further, law enforcement officials have successfully built international relationships which allow for information sharing regarding the movement of narcotics from one country to another. Officers from the National Park Service have broad powers to search and seize, WHICH IS helpful in suppressing marijuana cultivation
Law enforcement, however, has been less successful at apprehending “kingpins” of narcotics activities. There are suspicions that “kingpins” may be able to infiltrate investigations and elude capture. Low salaries for law enforcement personnel in some cases encourage corrupt behavior. However, the police have put in place a system of incentives to reward police for their efforts to arrest drug offenders, which they hope will help reduce corruption.
While Tanzanian narcotics officials acknowledge their efforts are hampered by a lack of resources, such as modern patrol boats, they have used community outreach and interagency coordination to help mitigate the impact of such resource shortages. Nevertheless, while capability for land interdiction at established borders is reasonable, marine interdiction remains a problem. Furthermore, Tanzanian officers and police staff are not able to effectively implement profiling techniques to seize larger amounts of narcotics.
Formal cooperation between counternarcotics police in Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania is well established. This cooperation has resulted in significant increases in effectiveness in each nation’s narcotics control efforts. Tanzania also cooperates with countries from the Southern African Development Community, including Zambia and South Africa. Tanzanian officers attended various international training events held in Botswana, Japan, and Russia. During the year, the DCC coordinated training and encouraged working relationships between law enforcement in various neighboring countries. The DCC provided drug test kits to officials along the Malawian and Zambian borders with Tanzania to assist with the identification of illegal narcotics.
Between January and October 2009, police arrested approximately 4,000 individuals for drug possession, of which 112 arrests were related to heroin, 107 related to cocaine, 363 related to khat, and over 3,000 related to cannabis. Roughly 15 people were arrested for possession of Mandrax-methaqualone. To date in 2009, police seized over 45,000 kilograms of drugs. More than 70 percent of this total was cannabis. Police seized 32 metric tons of cannabis, eight kilograms of heroin, and 4 kilograms of cocaine. There were no convictions for drug trafficking in Zanzibar during the year; however, by June there were 123 cases pending in the Zanzibar High Court.
Corruption. The Government of Tanzania does not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit drug production or distribution, nor is it involved in laundering the proceeds of the sale of illicit drugs; however, corruption continued to be a serious concern within the Tanzanian police force. It is widely believed that corrupt police officials at ports facilitate the transshipment of narcotics through Tanzania. There is no specific provision of the anticorruption laws regarding narcotics-related corruption cases.
Many believe that corruption in the courts often leads to case dismissals or light sentencing of convicted narcotics offenders. Some prosecutors have complained that they suspect many arrested suspects plead “not guilty” until the magistrate hearing the case can be bribed. Once confident of the magistrate’s complicity, the suspects change their plea to guilty, thereby forgoing a lengthy trial process, and the magistrate issues a judgment of only a minor fine.
Agreements and Treaties. Tanzania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Tanzania is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, as well as the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. The 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty is applicable to Tanzania.
Cultivation and Production. Traditional cultivation of cannabis takes place in remote parts of the country, mainly for domestic use. Although cannabis is produced in almost all regions, DCC and ANU officials identified the following regions as the primary production areas for cannabis: Morogoro, Iringa, Tabora, Mara, Arusha, Rukwa, Rumuva, and Tanga. During the year, production spread to Lindi and Mtwara due to increased demand from Mozambique. In conjunction with the seizure of 357 kilograms of cannabis in the Tarime district of the Mara region, police destroyed 50 acres of cannabis in 2009. In total, police destroyed seventy acres of cannabis during the year. No figures on total production exist. However, the DCC plans to conduct research to determine the extent of cannabis cultivation. Khat is also grown locally, primarily in Arusha and Tanga. However, most of the khat found in Tanzania is smuggled in from Kenya, where it is legal to produce.
Drug Flow/Transit. Due to its location, porous borders, and weakly controlled seaports and airports, Tanzania has become a transit country for narcotics moving in sub-Saharan Africa. Traffickers from landlocked countries of Southern Africa, including Zambia and Malawi, and island nations, like Comoros, use Tanzania for transit. Control at the ports, especially on Zanzibar, is difficult. Internal waterways, such as Lake Victoria, also provide convenient transit routes for drug smugglers. While controls at established ports of entry on the mainland are effective, traffickers often cross the border at points without established posts. There were reports of “rampant” drug smuggling from neighboring countries through uncontrolled areas near the Kasumulu and Tunduma border posts with Malawi and Zambia respectively. Traffickers using forged documents and various methods of concealment face poor controls and untrained and corrupt officials. Smugglers often travel via South Africa to obtain fraudulent documents which are used to hide travel to the Middle East and South America. In an effort to elude drug sniffing dogs, drugs are often concealed with local goods such as tea and coffee or swallowed by drug traffickers.
According to the Anti-Narcotics Unit, heroin entering Tanzania from Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan via Dubai and other locations, often by boat, is smuggled to China and Europe in small quantities. Cocaine enters Tanzania from Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and Curacao in transit to South Africa, Europe, Australia and North America. The port of Dar es Salaam is also a point of entry for Mandrax from India, Nepal, and Kenya headed toward South Africa. Tanzanians continue to be recruited as “drug mules” for trafficking.
In Zanzibar, enforcement officials said that local smugglers usually travel to Dubai where they are given drugs by contacts coming from Brazil. These smugglers then transport the drugs to China via Nairobi, returning with goods to sell on the local market.
While the traffickers are primarily from Tanzania, particularly the Tanga region, foreign nationals have also been arrested for drug trafficking in Tanzania. In August, a Kenyan woman was arrested with three kilograms of heroin en route to South Africa; and in Zanzibar, an Italian national is currently under investigation for possession of illegal narcotics.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Cannabis is the most commonly used narcotic. Although its use has not declined, it has begun to stabilize. Local use of Mandrax is limited. Since the introduction of powdered heroin in 2000, use of this drug has increased. Intravenous drug use is more common in Zanzibar than on the mainland. With direct flights connecting South America and Africa, cocaine use has also increased in recent years, particularly among youth and tourists.
Through community outreach activities, the police have been involved in efforts to educate the public about the dangers of narcotics. In 2009, DCC launched a drug awareness campaign, participating in state sponsored trade fairs, national celebrations, and youth-centered events to create greater awareness about drug trafficking. In Zanzibar, narcotics officials worked with the Department of Substance Abuse Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Zanzibar Ministry of Health, conducting seminars for local leaders, media outlets, and the public on the importance of providing the police with information. On October 25, the Anti Narcotics Squad of Zanzibar aired a television program on narcotics as part of its media outreach program.
The DCC, under the Prime Minister’s Office, oversees treatment and prevention activities, coordinating with NGOs and other medical facilities. It managed a small demand reduction program, which included training courses for nurses, counselors, and teachers in urban centers across the country. Limited government resources existed for specialized care for drug addiction and rehabilitation. Most treatment is provided at the local level by NGOs or at community health facilities. However, these organizations lack trained personnel to identify, assess, and assist drug addicts, particularly those in need of psycho-social interventions. Because resources are stretched so thin, quality of care is an issue and relapse is common among drug users. Although Tanzania has adopted the UNODC guidelines on treatment, these have not been disseminated to local NGOs.
During the year, DCC’s Technical Working Group developed three manuals for service provision, including a guide for the management of drugs at primary health care centers, an outreach service guide, and a strategic framework for the prevention of HIV among IV drug users. The DCC received a grant from the UNODC and WHO to support training activities in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
Any required in-patient care was typically provided by psychiatric hospitals. Drug addicts were often hesitant to seek in-patient treatment due to the stigma associated with psychiatric facilities. There are six psychiatric units in the country, 20 trained psychiatrists, and fewer than five psychologists.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. policy initiatives and programs for addressing narcotics problems in Tanzania are focused on training workshops and seminars for law enforcement officials. During the year, Tanzanian officers participated in a USG sponsored workshop on investigation techniques, held in Tanzania. The Department of State also sent officers from the Tanzania National Police to the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana for training.
The Road Ahead. According to police, fighting corruption will be a priority in 2010 in order to improve the efficacy of counternarcotics efforts. In addition, DCC will seek approval of the national drug control policy and step up cannabis eradication efforts by promoting alternative crop production. Finally, DCC hopes to establish a methadone treatment program in Tanzania as well as a national drug precursor monitoring program. U.S.-Tanzanian cooperation will continue, with a focus on improving Tanzania’s capacity to enforce its counternarcotics laws.
Thailand does not have significant levels of drug cultivation or production, but is a transshipment point and a net importer of drugs. The trade in, and use of illicit drugs remains a serious problem. The primary drugs of concern are amphetamine type stimulants (ATS), whose abuse is less widespread than a few years ago due to improved enforcement and public education, but ATS is still readily available across the country. “Club drugs” such as Ecstasy and cocaine are mainly used by some affluent Thai and foreign visitors.
Trafficking of illicit drugs through Thailand continues to pose an ongoing challenge to Thai law enforcement agencies. Drug smugglers have adjusted their routes in response to successful suppression efforts in certain targeted northern border areas in past years. Heroin and methamphetamine continue to move from Burma across Thailand’s northern border for domestic consumption, as well as for export to regional and international markets. Additionally, traffickers move methamphetamine and some heroin from Burma through Laos and across the Mekong River into Thailand’s northeastern border provinces.
Drug smugglers travel south through Laos into Cambodia where they enter Thailand across the Thai-Cambodian border. Drugs are also transported from Burma through Laos to Vietnam and Cambodia for regional export. Some opium and large quantities of marijuana are moved into and through Thailand from Laos, while smaller quantities are smuggled from Cambodia. Small amounts of marijuana are grown domestically as well. Marijuana and drugs in bulk quantity that are smuggled into southern Thailand are transported subsequently to Malaysia and other regional markets. Thailand is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
There is no significant cultivation or production of opium, heroin, methamphetamine or other drugs in Thailand today, but various regional and international drug trafficking networks use Thailand as a transit point and sell drugs produced in Burma and elsewhere. Seizures of low-dosage methamphetamine tablets made from caffeine and methamphetamine—known locally as “yaa baa” or “crazy medicine”—remain far below the peak 2002 seizure total of 96 million tablets. As of late September 2009, the Thai Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) reports that 14.4 million tablets of Yaa-baa were seized during the first eight months of the year. The ONCB reported that 20.5 million tablets were seized in 2008. “Ya-baa” remains Thailand’s most-commonly abused illicit drug.
The emergence of crystal methamphetamine or “ice” production in the Shan State of Burma is an on-going serious concern to the Thai authorities, who believe that it poses a substantial threat owing to the drug’s highly addictive properties. Its ready availability could lead to significantly increased domestic Thai consumption, with all the attendant social problems. Thailand has long been a net importer of opium. The small quantities of opium produced in Thailand cannot support even the modest continuing domestic needs of traditional opium-smoking ethnic tribal regions, still less any refining into heroin in commercial quantities. Small pockets of local opium cultivation do persist—shifting locations in response to periodic eradication campaigns by Thai authorities. Such planting is usually carried out by ethnic highland tribal peoples trying to supplement their meager incomes by selling locally, or to meet their own consumption needs.
The region’s largest commercial-scale drug producer, the Burma-based United Wa State Army, publicly pledged to eliminate opium poppy cultivation by the end of 2005, and did appear to reduce poppy cultivation in the region they control. Opium cultivation was not entirely eliminated, and was accompanied by the emergence of very significant ATS pill production. In general, the long-term decline in opium production over recent years, accomplished through improved law enforcement and crop reduction, has been offset by increasing production of methamphetamine tablet trafficking from Burma for sale in Thailand.
Thailand has a small domestic consumer market for Ecstasy and cocaine. Ecstasy arrives in Thailand from a variety of sources including Cambodia, Malaysia, Burma, Europe and Canada. The cocaine market in Thailand, like that for Ecstasy, is still primarily restricted to some affluent Thai and foreigners in large cities. Some of the cocaine that arrives in Thailand is for onward transit to other East Asian countries, such as China. While the cocaine market is still largely controlled by West African criminal organizations, South Americans have become involved in Thailand to a limited extent. They are more aggressively involved elsewhere in the region, and represent a new trend in international organized criminal activity.
Marijuana is sold and consumed widely in Thailand without much law enforcement attention, and a steady flow continues to transit Thailand. It is still used by some as a flavoring ingredient in curries and noodle soup. The use of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), a plant with addicting stimulant properties, found in southern Thai provinces, increased, as did marijuana use. In southern Thailand, the expanding use of Kratom is of concern to authorities, as chewing of the addictive leaf has become commonly accepted among many communities, which view it as an easy way to remain alert and ready for work. The ONCB reports that users also mix the Kratom plant leaves with cola drinks, cough syrup, or tranquilizers to form a narcotic-laced drink. Kratom is reportedly popular due to its low cost, difficulty of detection, and broad acceptance by village society.
Ketamine is used throughout Asia by people searching for a chemical “high” without the criminal penalties that pertain to other controlled substances. It is found in both liquid and powder forms. Most Ketamine used in Thailand is produced in India. A veterinary tranquilizer, it has hallucinogenic side effects and is sometimes used in the youthful party scene, because it is cheaper and considered less dangerous than Ecstasy.
Finally, there is significant abuse of inhalants, such as glue, that impoverished users turn to because they are readily available and cheap. Such inhalants are not usually controlled substances.
Treatment data reported by the Thai government and United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime indicates that “yaa baa” use remains widespread. Consumption rates and trafficking volumes of “yaa baa” remain less than before former Prime Minister Thaksin’s controversial drug war of 2003, with prices today about three times higher than what they were prior to the “drug war.” This is attributable to better interdiction than pertained formerly. Heroin and opium usage continued to decline in 2009 as well. Crystal methamphetamine, “ice” usage increased in 2009, continuing a trend since 2004, although usage remains relatively limited, perhaps as a result of the much higher cost of this drug in comparison to “yaa baa.”
Seizures of “ice” by Thai law enforcement agencies declined steadily between 2005 when 322 kilograms were seized and 2008 when 48 kilograms were seized. This trend has reversed in 2009, and ice seizures have risen again to approximately 89 kilograms seized in the first eight months of the year. “Ice” abuse in Thailand is mostly limited to entertainment districts in the larger cities. “Ice” is smoked in a fashion similar to crack cocaine and cost 3,000 baht ($88) per gram on the street. The “ice” that transits Thailand for regional markets usually goes to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. In the past year, several Iranians have been arrested while attempting to smuggle “ice” into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport; Iranian smugglers also have been arrested in other neighboring Southeast Asian countries. It is not yet known if this trend reflects an attempt by Iranian smugglers to develop a new market within Southeast Asia, or if the “ice” was in transit to established markets in nearby locations such as Japan.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The uncertainties of the political situation in Thailand have not adversely affected the Thai Government’s efforts to combat drugs. During 2008, the Royal Thai Government (RTG) launched a special operation entitled “Unity for Freedom from the Threat of Drugs,” in an effort to reduce the numbers of drug traffickers and users by focusing on high-risk youth groups. Government officials, civic groups, local administrations, and interested private citizens were deployed to monitor the drug problem. Three general areas were monitored: Bangkok Metropolitan, the southern border provinces, and other border areas known to present special smuggling control problems. Some components of that program continued in 2009.
Law Enforcement Efforts. RTG efforts to interdict the trade and use of illicit drugs during 2008-09 included the following measures: a) stronger border control; b) using units of the civil service, police, and army to patrol, c) operation of check points to monitor high traffic areas; d) strengthening the counternarcotics educational capacities of local communities and schools through counternarcotics programs for youth; e) border Liaison Offices with Laos and Cambodia; f) using the new law on asset forfeiture and anti-money laundering against illicit drug traffickers; g) enhancing international assistance and operational cooperation; h) surveying the extent of cultivation and manual eradication of poppy cultivation areas; i) education and alternative livelihood support for northern hill-tribe villagers; and j) better statistical research and measurement of drug users, traffickers, and released prisoners. The Thai ONCB conducts year-round surveillance in upland areas of northern Thailand, where renewed opium poppy planting is most likely to occur. The Office coordinates at least one opium eradication campaign per year, carried out by Thai 3rd Army units that have become specialists in this activity. These campaigns are conducted with financial support from the U.S. Mission, through intelligence developed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Bangkok Country Office. The Thai Customs Department operates a suppression team at Suvarnabhumi Airport whose primary focus is narcotics suppression.
Thailand has no quiet, well-controlled borders, and the country’s central location and vibrant economy make it a lodestone for narcotics. Thai counternarcotics air assets are insufficient to control the most narcotics-active land borders with Laos, Burma, and Cambodia, those areas being often remote and vegetation-covered. In recent years the Thai have stepped up efforts to coordinate with law enforcement entities in neighboring countries, even in times of border tension. The relationship with Laos has improved the most. Recent Thai efforts in border interdiction and law enforcement coordination include continued intense policing of the northern and northeast border areas. Improved cross-border operational communications along the Mekong River have been fostered by joint Lao-Thai river patrols, using U.S. Government-purchased small boats and other equipment. Lao and Thai border law enforcement authorities have more frequent contacts and meetings, as well as better communications tools than formerly, supporting operational cross-border communications. While still far from optimal, this is an order of magnitude better than the Mekong border situation only a decade ago.
Thai law enforcement authorities employ extensive field training and modern equipment to respond to the border trafficking threat. A wide assortment of counternarcotics tools, including confidential sources, undercover operations, controlled deliveries, and court-authorized wiretaps are used commonly in drug suppression and interdiction. Thai agencies also adjust their strategy and tactics to meet the changing threat from modern-day drug trafficking groups as the traffickers adapt and alter their own operations. When traffickers shifted their smuggling routes to Laos and Northeast Thailand, Thai authorities shifted enforcement capacity to those areas. A new USG-outfitted drug intelligence center in northeastern Thailand, constructed with the help of the Joint Interagency Task Force, JIATF-West, further bolsters counternarcotics coordinating and operational capabilities within the Royal Thai Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau network. Also with the assistance of JIATF-WEST the RTG has opened an Airport Interdiction Program facility in Chiang Mai which operates as a multi agency task force.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Thai Government does not permit, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of drug proceeds, either by individuals or government agencies. No senior official of the Thai government is known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances or the laundering of proceeds from drug transactions. However, as a matter of fact corruption is endemic in Thai society, even though in recent years it has graduated from a taboo topic to being frequently chronicled in press reports of high-profile court cases. Reports of official corruption are rarely drug-related, but drug-related corruption is very likely, given the volume and value of drugs consumed in and moving through Thailand.
Agreements and Treaties. Thailand is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. It has signed, but not ratified, the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling. Thailand is an active participant in the Colombo Plan and a participant in the AS EAN and China Cooperative Operations in Response to Dangerous Drugs (ACCORD) Organization. Thailand signed the ASEAN Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance. The United States and Thailand have extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties in force and the Thai have been among the most cooperative USG partners in this area. During 2008, Thai authorities extradited two individuals to the United States on drug charges, but both were important as they were related to different high-priority targets of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Cultivation/Production. There is no significant drug cultivation or production in Thailand. In every year since 1999, the annual United Nations survey has found that harvestable opium poppy cultivation in Thailand has been less than the 1,000 hectares (about 2,500 acres), which is the statutory definition for being a “major” source country for opium poppy cultivation. Today’s dwindling population of opium smokers in northern Thailand must now import their opium from neighboring countries. Small quantities of cannabis are cultivated in northeastern and southern Thailand for local consumption.
Drug Flow/Transit. Thailand is a transit country for heroin and methamphetamine entering the international marketplace, including the United States. Much of the heroin leaving Thailand is destined for regional consumption with small quantities transported and marketed in Taiwan, Australia, and other countries. Drugs are transported from Burma into northern Thailand via couriers, by small caravans along mountainous jungle trails. Heroin and methamphetamine also travel from Burma into Laos and across the Mekong River into Thailand, or are transshipped from Burma through Laos and into Cambodia. Drugs are transported directly to Bangkok and other distribution areas by motor vehicles. Some drugs continue southward to resort areas or to the southern provinces where they cross into Malaysia. Use of the Thai mail system also continues to be a common means for moving smaller units of drugs within and out of the country.
Burmese-based international drug trafficking organizations are believed to produce hundreds of millions of tablets of methamphetamine (“yaa baa”) each year. A substantial portion of this drug ends up in Thailand, where, despite recent enforcement successes, “yaa baa” remains the number one drug of abuse. Cocaine seizures in Thailand have decreased over the last few years: 18.7 kilograms were seized in 2007, 11.4 kilograms were seized in 2008, and only 4.6 kilograms have been seized in the first eight months of 2009. Most of the cocaine smuggled from South America into Thailand is used as a “club drug” by wealthy Thai abusers and foreigners, and is found most often in affluent private residences and entertainment places in Bangkok, as well as popular tourist destinations in the provinces. While the volume of cocaine seized is low, Thailand is part of the regional market for this drug. West African trafficking groups dominate cocaine smuggling into and out of Thailand.
Ecstasy trafficking is more common in Thailand, although high street prices limit the size of the market. Ecstasy typically is smuggled into Thailand via commercial air carriers from Europe; the drug also is smuggled overland from Malaysia. Most Ketamine is believed to transit from neighboring countries, especially Malaysia and Singapore. It is also smuggled into Thailand across the Thai-Cambodian border.
Thailand-based enterprises continue to market steroids and other pharmaceuticals on a worldwide scale, much of which end up in markets where such products are illegal including the U.S. and Europe. During 2008, two Thai-based organizations that produced steroids in three countries, distributed them to multiple companies around the world and channeled or laundered much of their financial proceeds through Thailand were dismantled. The leaders of both organizations have either been extradited to the United States or are awaiting extradition.
Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, which opened in 2006, is being used as a drug transit point for many types of drugs by a variety of drug smuggling organizations. During 2009, several Pakistani couriers were arrested transporting heroin. Additionally, several seizures of “ice” took place at the airport, including at least four cases involving Iranian couriers. Drug arrests occurred frequently at the airport during 2009.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Thailand carries out a comprehensive range of demand reduction programs, encompassing combinations of educational programs for the public and treatment for users. During the past four years, the Thai government has taken positive steps to substitute treatment programs for prison terms in instances where the user was apprehended in possession of quantities of drugs clearly intended only for personal use. A highly visible and effective drug awareness and demand reduction program known as “To Be Number One” continues under the patronage and active involvement of a senior member of the revered Royal Family. This and other drug education and awareness campaigns are conducted in cooperation with private organizations, NGOs, and public institutions, using radio, TV, and printed media.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Thailand and the United States maintain an exemplary, long-standing partnership to combat drug trafficking and international crime. Thai-U.S. bilateral cooperation makes possible a broad range of investigations conducted jointly by Thai law enforcement agencies and DEA, as well as other U.S. law enforcement agencies. These programs build capacity in counternarcotics, as well as other law enforcement areas, and foster cooperation with third countries on a range of narcotics control and antitransnational crime activities.
The U.S. embassy’s Transnational Crimes Affairs Section (TCAS, formerly known as the Narcotics Affairs Section), continues to add some regional responsibilities as funding allows. A new law enforcement capacity building program began in September 2008, with initial funding of one-half million U.S. dollars. The program, under a U.S. Department of Justice (ICITAP) Law Enforcement Policy Advisor, is housed in the TCAS Office in the Embassy. The program aims to improve Thai law enforcement competence and to instill broader respect for human rights in the law enforcement culture of the country. This entails institutional changes in the Royal Thai Police and other law enforcement agencies. A U.S. Department of Justice Resident Legal Advisor, likewise housed in TCAS, is working on complimentary changes in prosecutorial and judicial law, practices and procedures. TCAS also continues to assist the Royal Thai Police bilaterally to improve professional standards. The U.S. Department of Justice Attaché at Post also works closely with Thai authorities to facilitate extraditions and mutual legal assistance in narcotics and transnational crime matters.
The United States continues to provide capacity-building and operational support to Thailand under annual Letters of Agreement. Most visible among these activities is the continued operation of the jointly funded and managed Thai-U.S. International Law Enforcement Training Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok, which provides law enforcement operational and management skills training to government officials and police officers from 12 regional countries, plus Hong Kong. In addition to a full schedule of 2008-09 training programs for regional officials, ILEA also conducted a number of bilateral skills-building courses and seminars to benefit Thai law enforcement and government agencies. These programs included training by federal, state and local U.S. law enforcement professionals, purchases of non-lethal equipment and other commodities, and targeted 3rd-party funded training—all aimed at improving Thailand’s capacity to combat the illicit drug trade and transnational and organized crime.
Thailand is one of 11 countries worldwide in which the DEA has established Sensitive Investigative Units (SIU). Thai SIU participants receive specialized training and undergo a rigorous vetting process in order to be selected for the program. This process assures a cadre of highly competent counterparts with whom DEA works closely to target drug trafficking organizations. Four SIU teams currently operate in Thailand, focused on the most important trafficking groups in the region.
The Road Ahead. The United States will continue supporting the Thai Government’s efforts to interdict illicit drugs moving through Thailand and to the United States, as well as collaborating on a broad range of international crime control issues via material, legal, and technical support. The U.S. will continue working with Thai counterpart agencies to improve law enforcement skills, enhance police attitudes regarding human rights, build better criminal cases based on evidence, encourage the promulgation of laws and regulations more closely aligned with international standards, and develop more consistent adherence to rule of law principals as part of the fight against illicit drug trafficking and other transnational crime.
The U.S. will contribute to manual opium eradication programs and provide modest support to the alternative livelihood programs for upland populations that have been carried out in northern Thailand by Thai agencies under Royal patronage for three decades. The U.S. will contribute to justice sector reform at the request of Thai counterpart agencies, and use seconded U.S. Department of Justice personnel, American state and municipal law enforcement, as well as private sector organizations such as the American Bar Association to help achieve this goal. ILEA Bangkok will continue to offer a comprehensive program of regional law enforcement training and cooperation, and build Thai agency technical skills in order to enhance capacity to fight transnational crime and illicit drug trafficking.
Togo is not a significant producer of drugs; however it plays an increasingly important role in the regional transport of narcotics. During 2009 the drug trade (particularly in hard drugs like heroin and cocaine) continued to increase, and Togo is used more and more as a transit point for drugs moving towards Europe. Togo’s capacity to address the transnational flow of drugs is undercut by its inability to control corruption and the country’s extreme poverty, which are a result of a lack of resources, training, and long, porous borders. Togo is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Drug abuse by Togo’s citizens is relatively rare, and there are few crimes resulting from drug use. There are three agencies responsible for drug law enforcement—the police, the gendarmerie, and customs. The only locally produced drug is cannabis, but it is grown in small quantities for individual consumption. Approximately one metric ton of cannabis is seized in Togo each year. Heroin and cocaine, while not produced in Togo, are also available. Heroin is smuggled from Afghanistan, while cocaine is transported from South America. Lome serves as a transit point for drugs on their way to Benin, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Niger on overland routes and ultimately to Europe. In 2007, the Voice of America reported that approximately 60 percent of cocaine and heroin dealt in Europe pass in transit through West Africa; more recent estimates place that figure at 40 percent.
Togolese traffickers have developed distribution arrangements for drugs bound for Europe. According to police, most smugglers are long-term Lebanese residents or Nigerians, but police have also recently arrested a Colombian smuggling network in Lomé. There have also been reports stating that in addition to Colombian drug smuggling rings, Mexican rings are also involved in transporting drugs through West Africa en route to Europe.
The gendarmerie is also targeting the Togolese players. Togo’s long and relatively porous borders permit narcotics traffickers easy access/egress. Current law enforcement activity in Togo suggests greater complicity of Government of Togo (GOT) entities in corruption to protect narcotics traffickers than was previously known. While in the past it was assumed that the largest quantities of drugs were trafficked through the Autonomous Port of Lome, it is now evident that the traffickers are using the Lomé international airport as well as remote airfields, and land borders for vehicular transport of narcotics.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The Central Office Against Drugs and Money Laundering (OCRTIDB) is responsible for investigating and arresting all persons involved in drug-related crimes. The office has approximately forty-five police and gendarmerie officers assigned to conduct investigations and enforcement operations. Security agencies are supposed to report all drug-related matters to the Director of the Central Office of OCRTIDB. The Director of the Central Office, in turn, is directly responsible to the Minister of Security. The reality, however, is that the police and gendarmerie conduct their own investigations and enforcement operations, leading to poor accountability for seized contraband and money. The National Anti-Drug Committee (CNAD), which consists of representatives from various offices, including security, defense, commerce and finance, meets periodically to coordinate enforcement efforts. Togolese officials have reported that they have good working relations with Beninese authorities. This year the GOT created the Cellule Nationale de Traitement des Informations Financières (CENTIF) managed by the Ministry of Security to fight money laundering.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The number of drug-related arrests decreased in 2009. Only occasional spot checks are made of passengers at the airport. The Port of Lomé’s cargo screening ability of 100 containers per day should aid the interdiction of drugs arriving by sea; however, many are skeptical of port authorities’ willingness to use this tool aggressively. Arrests have been mainly at the land border crossings and in Lomé; the vast majority of trafficked drugs cross land borders. Arrests are sometimes made after a tip, but are most often made in the course of other routine law enforcement activities, such as traffic security or customs checks. The greatest obstacles that the GOT faces in apprehending drug traffickers are widespread official corruption, the government’s lack of computer technology, communication and coordination problems, and mutual distrust among security agencies and interested ministries. While all agencies are required to report narcotics related crimes to the Central Office, in practice there is no effective reporting, record keeping, or cross-agency communication process. In 2009, the GOT, in cooperation with the USG, expelled two Colombian drug traffickers to the U.S. to face trial. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) visited Togo in September to extend its appreciation for this cooperation in an award ceremony.
Corruption. The Anti-Corruption Commission made no drug-related arrests of government officials. Reports continue to circulate that unnamed officials in various GOT agencies can be bribed to allow illicit narcotics to transit to or through Togo, and a number of high government officials are believed to be actively involved in the drug trade. However, no officials have been arrested thus far, and it appears increasingly likely that Togo will miss a good opportunity to send a clear message to its public, its public officials, and to the drug trade organizations regarding its purported tough stance on narco-trafficking. As a matter of government policy, the GOT does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There is no indication that senior officials have encouraged or facilitated the production or distribution of illicit drugs.
Agreements and Treaties. Togo is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by its 1972 Protocol. Togo is a party to the UN Corruption Convention and is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its protocol on Trafficking in Persons.
Cultivation/Production. The only drug cultivated in any significant quantity in Togo is cannabis, but even cannabis cultivation is limited. Cultivation is primarily for local demand, although some cross border distribution by small-scale dealers is suspected. Domestic use of cannabis has decreased from the previous year.
Drug Flow/Transit. There are sizable expatriate Nigerian and Lebanese populations involved in Togo’s drug trade, and they arrange for drug transshipments from many places in the world, through Africa, and onward to final markets. Colombian drug trade organizations are also showing greater interest in Togo. Many observers of drug trafficking in West Africa believe that hard drugs like cocaine and heroin are “warehoused” in the region before being sent to final consumption markets, mostly in Europe.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The National Anti-Drug Committee has sponsored counternarcotics films and counternarcotics discussion groups. For the national counternarcotics day, June 26, the committee worked with civil society organizations to hold a week of counternarcotics activities, including awareness raising seminars, debates, a march against drugs, and, together with the OCRTIDB, a ceremony for the destruction of seized drugs In addition, the Minister of Security and Civil Protection conducted a counternarcotics conference in the second week of December last year, which included experts from the EU and UN. There are inadequate treatment arrangements in Togo, as few health officials are trained in drug treatment, and government-financed medical facilities are inadequate to the demand.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The primary goal of U.S. counternarcotics policy in Togo is to help the GOT combat the international trafficking of drugs. The U.S. seeks to help the government improve its ability to investigate and prosecute Drug Trafficking Organizations, dismantling them if possible by targeting their leadership. In March, a drug enforcement delegation consisting of the Department of State, Department of Treasury, Department of Justice, and AFRICOM visited Togo to assess Togo’s ability to fight drug trafficking and money laundering. The consequent report resulted in further USG plans to aid Togo. For example, the Department of Treasury provided funds for the training of CENTIF.
The Road Ahead. U.S. cooperation with Togolese counternarcotics officials continues. USG-funded narcotics assistance will be used in support of Togolese counternarcotics infrastructure improvements. With the support of the regional DEA representative based in Accra, the U.S. Embassy in Lome will continue to look for ways to provide counternarcotics trafficking training to Togolese law enforcement personnel. Togo’s emerging willingness to confront the issue of illicit drugs is hampered by severe corruption problems among Togolese officials and the weak state of GOT finances, but results thus far show that progress is possible.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago is a transit country for illegal drugs from South America, principally from Colombia via Venezuela, to Europe and to a lesser extent the United States. The majority of narcotics are destined for other locations due to direct international flights to Europe and the ease of flow within the Caribbean and to Western Africa, and do not have a significant effect on the U.S. Trinidad and Tobago’s petrochemical industry imports and exports chemicals that can be used for drug production and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GOTT) has instituted export controls to prevent their diversion. The GOTT continues to cooperate with the U.S. on counternarcotics issues and allocates significant resources of its own to the fight against illegal drugs through methods including the purchase of equipment to assist in border control. In 2009 the Government has increased regional patrols and solicited international assistance in combat the illegal drug trade. The GOTT is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Trinidad and Tobago is located only seven miles off the coast of Venezuela at its closest point and is not only a convenient transshipment point for illicit drugs, primarily cocaine and marijuana, but also heroin. Increased law enforcement pressure in Colombia and Central America has led to greater amounts of illegal drugs transiting the Eastern Caribbean, but the narcotics transiting Trinidad and Tobago do not have a significant effect on the United States. Trinidad and Tobago has an advanced petrochemical sector that imports and exports chemicals easily diverted for the manufacturing of cocaine hydrochloride. In the past, precursor chemicals originating from Trinidad and Tobago have been found in illegal drug labs in Colombia. The GOTT tracks chemical shipments through Trinidad and Tobago, and has instituted export controls to prevent diversion to narcotics producers. The GOTT has yet to adopt court-authorized wiretap legislation to allow for the introduction of the contents of intercepted oral communication as evidence in court for specific crimes. The GOTT also lacks civil forfeiture legislation that would allow the government to seize funds and/or assets identified as proceeds of illegal activities and would allow the proceeds to be used to fund certain law enforcement activities.
Criminal gang activity is a major concern for GOTT officials and warrants the enactment of legislation authorizing prosecutors to charge any member of a criminal organization for illegal acts committed by another member if the act furthered or supported the criminal organization. The difficulty in advancing this legislative agenda stems, in part, from the GOTT’s parliamentary process that requires a super-majority vote for matters that pertain to civil liberties. Other initiatives that would strengthen the counternarcotics/crime capabilities of the GOTT’s law enforcement agencies include the establishment of a drug court to deal with drug offenses; strengthening border protection by automating inspection methods to include container scanning; providing additional training for officers to deal with counterfeit merchandise and copyright items and counterfeit money; establishing an internal affairs unit to combat internal fraud and bribery; and initiating more border patrols on the western side of the island.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. In 2009, the GOTT National Drug Council continued to implement counternarcotics policy initiatives, including elements of the country’s counternarcotics master plan that address both supply and demand reduction. Acknowledging that Trinidad and Tobago is a significant drug transshipment location, the GOTT undertook initiatives to improve its capabilities against traffickers and to enhance regional cooperation. In August, the GOTT participated in the initial meeting for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative and offered to assist the initiative by providing coordinated air and maritime surveillance. The GOTT’s Defense Force created an Operations Center which will coordinate with the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) to improve regional security. Additionally, GOTT is in the process of purchasing six patrol vessels and three offshore patrol vessels (OPV), as well as helicopters capable of landing on the OPVs to assist in drug interdiction and antismuggling operations. Legislation and rules enacted in October would give authorities greater ability to counternarcotics traffickers through new anti-money laundering provisions and by allowing authorities to pursue action against the proceeds of crime. The government also announced it is drafting an omnibus crime bill that would include strengthened counternarcotics provisions. In October, GOTT participated for the first time in the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) initiative “Carib Venture,” a multinational mission in the Southern Caribbean focused on stemming the flow of drugs in the region. Continued participation in multinational efforts would benefit GOTT’s counternarcotics efforts.
Accomplishments. Joint operations with foreign law enforcement counterparts led to 94 drug trafficking arrests from January to September 2009, an increase of 43 suspects compared to the same period last year. Figures are incomplete due to a lack of reporting from all local law enforcement agencies, but the USG is assisting the GOTT with equipment and training to improve statistical reporting and case tracking. Based on local investigations and data collection, as of September 30, the GOTT had unofficially seized approximately 158 kilograms of cocaine, 11 grams of heroin and almost 2,092 kilograms of cannabis in various forms. The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG), Organized Crime, Narcotics, Firearms Bureau (OCNFB), Counter Drug and Crime Task Force (CDCTF), Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT) and other specialized police/military units continued drug interdiction and eradication operations throughout 2009, conducting 32 exercises which resulted in the destruction of 51 fields and 211,420 marijuana plants—an increase of 42,720 plants destroyed from the previous year. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection participated in several joint exercises resulting in the destruction of 25,050 seedlings and 98 kilograms of cured marijuana.
Law Enforcement Efforts. GOTT law enforcement agents continued to receive technical assistance and on-the-job mentoring from retired Scotland Yard officers who work alongside them and provide support for the CFATF which has its secretariat in Port of Spain. The GOTT is primarily focused on implementing recommendations from retired Canadian Major General Cameron Ross’s 2009 Ross Report. Local press and law enforcement suggest that the recommendations include additional legislation on interception of communications, antigang laws, consolidation of law enforcement, and an amendment to the Defense Act to provide greater assistance to law enforcement efforts to name a few. GOTT continues to implement Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) suggestions on improving law enforcement.
Legislation that would grant arrest authority to the Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT) has not been passed as of October 2009. However, Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) officers embedded within the agency are able to make arrests. The GOTT Incident Coordination Center continued to facilitate information sharing among law enforcement agencies and the CDCTF, and was active in developing and implementing counternarcotics operations and conducting financial investigations. To help combat the maritime smuggling threat, the GOTT has added two fast patrol vessels to the Customs and Excise Division Marine Interdiction Unit (MIU). The TTCG continues to upgrade its maritime resources, and has developed a formidable fleet of vessels to assist with border protection.
Corruption. Trinidad and Tobago is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Corruption. During 2009, there were no charges of drug-related corruption filed against GOTT senior officials, and the USG has no information indicating that any senior government officials encouraged or facilitated the illicit production or distribution of drugs or the laundering of drug money. The country actively fights against the production or distribution of illicit narcotics and in October approved legislation establishing a Financial Intelligence Unit. The 1987 Prevention of Corruption Act and the 2000 Integrity in Public Life Act outline the ethical rules and responsibilities of government personnel. The Integrity in Public Life Act requires public officials to declare and explain the source of their assets and an Integrity Commission initiates investigations into allegations of corruption. In May, the Integrity Commission ceased functioning and has not yet resumed its activities. At the GOTT’s request, the USG has assisted in the vetting of officials selected for training or entering elite law enforcement units.
Agreements and Treaties. Trinidad and Tobago is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties with the U.S. entered into force in November 1999. The GOTT continued to comply with U.S. requests under the extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties. A bilateral maritime counternarcotics agreement between the USG and GOTT is also in force. The GOTT is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols. Trinidad and Tobago is a member of the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Commission (OAS/CICAD). In May 2009 the GOTT signed a policy agreement with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) of the U.S. Justice Department to provide access and utilization of e-Trace services.
Cultivation and Production. Small amounts of cannabis are cultivated year-round in the forest and jungle areas of northern, eastern, and southern Trinidad and, to a lesser extent, in Tobago. The total amount of cultivation cannot accurately be determined because plants are grown in small lots in remote areas and are largely for domestic consumption.
Drug Flow/Transit. Illicit drugs arrive from the South American mainland, particularly Venezuela, on fishing boats, pleasure craft and commercial aircraft. Sizeable quantities of drugs also transit the country through commodities shipments from South America. Drugs are smuggled out on yachts, in air cargo, or by couriers, and during the year, GOTT law enforcement authorities noted an increase in drug swallowers transiting Trinidad from Jamaica carrying marijuana and cocaine to the U.S. and Europe. Cocaine has also been found on commercial airline flights from Tobago en route to North America and Europe. Drug seizures reported by U.S. law enforcement officials at their international airports link directly to Trinidad and Tobago.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Demand reduction programs are managed by government agencies such as the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs; the National Drug Council in the Ministry of National Security; the Ministry of Education; and the Office of Social Services Delivery, often with assistance from NGOs. However, the GOTT does not maintain statistics on domestic consumption or numbers of drug users. The GOTT also funds the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program, which coordinates the activities of NGOs to reduce demand. GOTT demand reduction programs include job skills training programs for high-risk youth, and support for police youth clubs through its community-policing branch. In addition, the GOTT has a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, a Military Led Academic Training Program (MILAT), and the Youth Program of Apprenticeship and Re-orientation Training (MYPART). The USG supports demand reduction efforts in Trinidad and Tobago through assistance to schools police youth clubs, soccer leagues, NGOs such as SERVOL (Service Volunteer for All), WAND (Women’s Action for New Directions) and other public awareness campaigns.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives
Policy Initiatives. U.S. efforts focus on reducing the flow of illegal drugs through Trinidad and Tobago to the United States by strengthening the GOTT’s ability to detect and interdict drug shipments, bring traffickers and other criminals to trial, address money laundering, and counternarcotics-related corruption. The U.S. also seeks to strengthen the GOTT’s administration of justice by providing training and technical assistance to help streamline Trinidad and Tobago’s judicial process, reduce court backlogs, and protect witnesses from intimidation and murder.
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, the USG provided training to policy makers and tactical law enforcement officials on crime scene investigation, command and control, witness protection, damage control, and combating terrorism. In 2009 the DEA and its local counterparts successfully closed 121 investigations, a significant increase from 42 investigations in 2008. The USCG provided resident training in the areas of engineering and maintenance, and leadership and management to the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard. The GOTT-funded U.S. Customs Advisory Team continues to provide technical assistance to Customs and Excise in tracking and intercepting marine vessels, including cargo container ships. The State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the DEA also provided equipment to assist GOTT law enforcement related to drug interdiction and seizure. In 2009, the maritime agreement was used to board and seize one Trinidad and Tobago flagged vessel transporting over 2,000 lbs of marijuana, which included the detention of four suspected smugglers.
The Road Ahead. Trinidad and Tobago could enhance its drug control efforts further by adopting more effective tools and capacity to combat crime and narcotics trafficking, such as wiretap and civil forfeiture legislation, gang crime laws and the establishment of a drug court. In addition, we encourage the GOTT to take steps to strengthen the control of its borders by automating inspection methods to include container scanning and by providing additional training for officers to deal with counterfeit merchandise and counterfeit currency.
Turkey continues to be a major transit route for Southwest Asian opiates moving to Europe, and serves as a staging area for major drug traffickers and brokers. Turkish law enforcement organizations focus their efforts on stemming the traffic of drugs and intercepting precursor chemicals. The Department of Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime of the Turkish National Police (TNP), Jandarma, and Coast Guard are all part of the Ministry of Interior and have significant counternarcotics responsibilities. The TNP has responsibility for law enforcement in Turkey’s cities and towns. The Jandarma, a paramilitary police organization, is responsible for law enforcement in rural areas. TNP-developed intelligence frequently leads to rural areas where the Jandarma has jurisdiction. In these cases, the two agencies work together to conduct investigations and effect seizures. DEA’s counterpart within Customs is the Directorate General of Customs Guards. The Ministry of Health is the competent authority for issues relating to importation of chemicals for legitimate use. The Ministry of Finance oversees the financial intelligence unit (known by its Turkish acronym as MASAK) which has responsibility for investigation of potential money laundering and terrorist financing activities.
Turkish law enforcement cooperates closely with European and U.S. agencies. While most of the heroin trafficked via Turkey is marketed in Western Europe, some heroin and opium is also smuggled from Turkey to the U.S. There is no appreciable cultivation of illicit crops in Turkey other than cannabis—grown primarily for domestic consumption. There is no known diversion from Turkey’s licit opium poppy cultivation and pharmaceutical morphine production program, which has been a success since its inception. Turkey is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Although Turkey is a major donor to the UNODC, it is still eligible for bilateral assistance and assistance for projects that are regional in nature, and the UN funds a variety of projects in Turkey each year. UNODC continues to sponsor training sessions at the Turkish International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) in Ankara.
II. Status of Country
Turkey is a transshipment point for Afghan opiates moving towards Europe and Russia. Information from investigations indicates that while heroin is being produced in Afghanistan at record levels, some processing of opium and morphine base from Afghanistan is occurring near the Turkish/Iranian border. Ethnic Kurds generally live in the areas where opiates enter Turkey from the east. Many major traffickers based in Turkey are ethnic Kurds or Iranians, and many of the same individuals and families have been involved in smuggling contraband for years. Large drug trafficking organizations and major traffickers based in Turkey are frequently involved in both heroin production and transportation. Several have also been involved in the production and/or smuggling of synthetic drugs.
Drug proceeds are often moved to (and through) Turkey via the informal sector. This is despite the fact that alternative remittance systems are illegal in Turkey and only banks and authorized money transfer companies are officially allowed to move money. In general, investigations of money exchange bureaus, jewelry stores, and other businesses in Turkey believed to be part of the underground banking system (hawala) are initiated only if the business is directly tied to an existing drug or other criminal investigation.
Turkish law enforcement agencies are strongly committed to disrupting drug trafficking. The Turkish National Police (TNP) remains as Turkey’s most proactive counternarcotics force, with the Jandarma and Customs continuing to play a significant role. Turkish authorities continue to seize large amounts of heroin and precursor chemicals. Given the scale of these seizures, it is likely that huge, multi-ton shipments of heroin are smuggled through Turkey each year.
Turkey and India are the only two traditional licit opium-growing countries recognized by the USG and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). Opium for pharmaceuticals is cultivated and refined in Turkey under strict domestic controls, and in accordance with international treaty obligations. Under the current method of production, the poppy is not incised (scored); instead, the plant is allowed to mature and the opium flower and stalk is then harvested, and processed in a large sophisticated plant used to extract opium alkaloids, such as morphine. There is no appreciable illicit drug cultivation in Turkey other than cannabis—grown primarily for domestic consumption. Turkish law enforcement authorities continue to seize synthetic drugs that have been manufactured in Northern and Eastern European countries, and most recently Iran. The majority of the synthetic drug seizures have occurred as the drugs were being shipped through Turkey to countries in the Middle East.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The Government of Turkey (GOT) devotes significant financial and human resources to counternarcotics activities. Turkey continues to play a key role in Operation Containment (a DEA regional program to reduce the flow of Afghan heroin to Western Europe), as well as in other regional efforts. The Turkish National Police uses its International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) to train officers on interdiction and investigation techniques in order to fight drug trafficking in and through Turkey.
Accomplishments. TADOC is a significant contributor to the training projects organized within multinational organizations and institutions such as the United States, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Economical Cooperation Organization (ECO), and Black Sea Economical Cooperation (BSEC), NATO-Russia Council (NRC). TADOC mobile teams perform the important function of traveling to deliver TADOC training courses where trainees are. It is important and often essential because most of the TADOC courses, particularly the practical ones, need to be implemented in an environment with which trainees are familiar. Since its establishment in 2000, TADOC has implemented 225 international courses with the participation of 3178 law enforcement personnel from 63 countries. By December 2009, 46 training programs have been realized with the participation of 762 law enforcement officers from 25 countries. These training programs focused on drug law enforcement, intelligence analysis, illegal immigration and human smuggling, interview techniques, surveillance techniques, and antiterrorism training for judges and prosecutors. Attendees included officers from the countries of Azerbaijan, Guinea Bissau, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan. This year TADOC conducted training in several foreign countries. TADOC also trained over 2,500 Turkish officers in computer-based training centers throughout Turkey in 2009.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Turkey continues to serve as a transit point for large amounts of heroin being smuggled to Western Europe.
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. Turkish law enforcement officials act quickly when faced with officers accused of involvement with drug traffickers. In 2009, a senior law enforcement officer faced accusations of involvement with narcotics traffickers and was suspended pending a judicial review. As in most countries, it is likely that some corruption is present among lower-level enforcement personnel.
Agreements and Treaties. Turkey is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Turkey is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on migrant smuggling, trafficking in persons, and illegal manufacturing and trafficking in firearms. The U.S. and Turkey cooperate in law enforcement matters under a 1981 treaty on extradition and mutual assistance in legal matters.
Cultivation/Production. Illicit drug cultivation, primarily cannabis, is for domestic consumption and has no impact on the United States. The Turkish Grain Board strictly and successfully controls licit opium poppy cultivation, with no apparent diversion into the illicit market.
Drug Flow/Transit. Turkey continues to be utilized as a major route and staging area for heroin destined to Europe. Turkish-based traffickers and brokers operate in conjunction with drug smugglers, laboratory operators, and money launderers in and outside Turkey, who finance and control the smuggling of opiates to and from Turkey. Afghanistan is the source of all of the opiates reaching Turkey. Morphine base and heroin are generally smuggled overland from Afghanistan to Iran (sometimes via Pakistan) and then to Turkey. Turkey is the central hub for narcotics shipped en route to Western Europe along the Balkan Route Intelligence indicates that traffickers also use a more northerly route: through Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine. In addition to the northern route, traffickers are utilizing Roll-on, Roll-off (RORO) ferries to move TIR (long-haul, Customs-sealed) trucks from Turkey to Italy. From Italy, the TIRs are driven to other countries in Europe where the drugs—concealed in hidden compartments or within legitimate cargo—is delivered. Opiates and hashish are also smuggled to Turkey overland from Afghanistan via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Turkish authorities report an increase in the amount of opium seized in Turkey that was identified as being destined for Europe. It is not unusual to seize small amounts of opium in conjunction with heroin shipments, particularly when Iranians are involved in the smuggling operation. However, the total amount of opium seized in Turkey remains relatively small when compared to heroin seizures. Some criminal elements in Turkey reportedly have interest in heroin laboratories operating in Iran near the Iranian-Turkish border in ethnic Kurdish areas. In recent years, there appears to be more heroin arriving in Turkey as a finished product from Afghanistan and—to a much lesser extent—from labs on both sides of the Turkey-Iran border. Turkish-based traffickers, of whom some are ethnic Kurds, control much of the heroin marketed to Western Europe.
Turkish authorities reported an increase in synthetic drug seizures throughout Turkey beginning in 2005. Most of the amphetamine-type stimulants seized in Turkey are produced in Eastern Europe. However, a recent trend indicates that Turkey is increasingly being utilized as a transit country for Iranian-produced methamphetamine—destined for the Far East. Turkish law enforcement reports some indigenous synthetic drug production, primarily amphetamines such as Captagon (the brand name for fenethylline). Amphetamine production is a relatively new phenomenon in Turkey.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. While drug abuse remains modest in scale in Turkey compared to other countries, the number of addicts using treatment clinics is increasing. Although the Turkish Government is increasingly aware of the need to combat drug abuse, the agencies responsible for drug awareness and treatment remain under-funded. Eight Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment and Education Clinics (AMATEM), have been established, which serve as regional and drug treatment centers. Due to a lack of funds, only a couple of the centers focus on drug prevention as well as treatment. The most recent clinic opened in Izmir in 2006, at a research hospital. The clinic opened in Ankara in 2004 serves as the countrywide coordinating center for drug and alcohol treatment and education. The Health Ministry does not conduct regular, periodic drug abuse surveys. Turkey became a full member of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) after the European Parliament ratified Turkey’s participation in October 2006, following a successful EU twinning project. Turkey’s national focal point for this effort is the Turkish Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, known as TUBIM. TUBIM is charged with collecting data on drug use and addiction in Turkey, reporting on new drugs found in Turkey, and for conducting demand reduction activities.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. Embassy Ankara wants to capitalize on Turkey’s work as a regional leader in counternarcotics training and education. The Embassy plans to offer regional training opportunities at the TADOC center to provide additional investigative and prosecutorial tools to Turkish officials and their international counterparts. Future plans include strengthening TNP’s demand reduction programs, as well as interdiction trainings for Turkish law enforcement officers.
Bilateral Cooperation. DEA reports excellent cooperation with Turkish officials. Turkish counternarcotics forces are both professional and technically sophisticated.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to try to strengthen Turkey’s ability to combat narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, and financial crimes.
Turkmenistan is a transshipment route for narcotics traffickers attempting to smuggle Afghan opiates to Turkish, Russian and European markets, by several different routes, including through Iran. Turkmenistan itself is not a major producer or source country for illegal drugs or precursor chemicals. It shares a rugged and remote 744-kilometer border with Afghanistan and a 992-kilometer boundary with Iran. Most illegal drug seizures occur along those borders.
Major developments during 2009 included the arrest and indictment of 20 physicians on the staff of a prison in Mary province for selling illegal narcotics to prisoners and the arrest of an alleged large-scale female drug trafficker, dubbed the “Drug Godmother,” in Dashoguz. According to official statistics, Turkmen authorities seized a total of more than 1,009 kilograms of illegal narcotics in the first six months of 2009.
At a session of the State Security Council in June 2009, President Berdimuhamedov noted publicly that despite measures taken to control illicit drug trafficking, this “evil” had not been eliminated. He also emphasized the need to intensify efforts to combat drug trafficking and drug abuse at both the national and international levels. While Turkmenistan continues its limited cooperation on narcotics enforcement with international organizations and diplomatic missions, its law enforcement agencies are still hampered by a lack of resources, training and equipment. Although reliable statistics are unavailable, internal narcotics sales have reportedly dropped since President Berdimuhamedov stopped granting pardons to prisoners previously convicted of drug-related crimes. Turkmenistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Turkmenistan remains a key transit country for the smuggling of narcotics and precursor chemicals. The flow of opiates from Afghanistan, such as heroin, opium and other opium-based drugs destined for markets in Turkey, Russia and Europe, enter Turkmenistan from Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan. The government directs the bulk of its law enforcement resources and manpower towards stopping this flow of drugs from Afghanistan, especially focusing on the share headed for Iran. Common methods of transporting illegal narcotics include concealment in trucks or passenger vehicles, deliveries by pedestrian carriers or animal transport, and in some cases, by concealment in the body cavities or stomachs of humans and animals. Turkmenistan’s law enforcement efforts at the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan border have been more focused on interdicting smuggled commercial goods than on narcotics, thus providing an opening for drug traffickers. Commercial truck traffic from Iran continues to be heavy (reportedly more than 60,000 vehicles per year), and Caspian Sea ferry traffic from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and Russia continues to be an opportune smuggling route. In January 2009, President Berdimuhamedov transferred Colonel Myrat Islamov, the head of the State Counter Narcotics Service (SCNS) to head the State Border Service. Thereafter, the SCNS was headed by Acting Chief Serdar Batyrov (formerly the Deputy SCNS Head), until July, when a Deputy Minister of National Security was put in charge.
The SCNS held a “drug burn” in June, an event that coincided with the UN International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, during which 1.2 tons of narcotics were destroyed.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. On May 2, President Berdimuhamedov signed into law a new Code of Criminal Procedure. The new code provides a right to bail for the accused prior to trial and also gives investigators the prerogative of deciding themselves, without authorization from prosecutors ,to initiate and to close criminal investigations, and also whether and when to conduct searches. The previous Code required that investigators seek the permission of a committee with representatives from the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministries of the Interior and of National Security, municipalities, or members of the “Council of Elders,” complicating the investigation process.
On June 1, the Law on Combating Legalization of Proceeds from Crime (i.e. money laundering) and Terrorist Financing was passed, an important step in the development of a comprehensive anti-money laundering system in Turkmenistan. The Turkmen government earlier announced a National Program for Combating Illegal Drug Trafficking and Assistance to Drug and Psychotropic Substance Addicts for the period 2006 to 2010. Key elements of the program’s agenda include increased regional cooperation to prevent drug and precursor trafficking, prevention of drug-related crimes committed by minors, enhanced application of technology-based border security, enhanced training for law enforcement agencies to combat organized crime, increased counter-terrorism efforts, and training in drug trafficking and money laundering. The National Program also provides for cooperation with the U.S., international organizations and with other countries through their diplomatic missions in Ashgabat.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The Turkmen government continues to give priority to counternarcotics law enforcement, and the government has paid special attention to improving the technical capacity of law enforcement agencies. Turkmenistan’s drug seizure data for the first six months of 2009 is as follows: Heroin: 154 kilograms 367 grams; Opium: 562 kilograms 219 grams; Marijuana: 94 kilograms. 519.5 grams; Hashish: 156 kilograms 15 grams; Poppy straw: 42 kilograms. 160 grams; Total: 1009 kilograms. In June of 2009, SCNS reported that a narcotics ring led by Rakhatay Razzakova, dubbed the “Drug Godmother,” was discovered and the perpetrators, mostly close relatives of Razzakova, were arrested and charged with large-scale heroin trafficking. Along with the criminal indictment, her property was confiscated and her admission of guilt and request for forgiveness were broadcast on state-run television.
Corruption. The government does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics or other controlled substances. Nevertheless, law enforcement officials’ low salaries and broad general powers foster an environment in which corruption occurs. A general distrust of the police by the public, fueled by police officers soliciting bribes, indicates a problematic level of corruption in law enforcement. Payments to lower-level officials at border crossing points to facilitate passage of smuggled goods occur frequently. Reports persist that senior government officials are directly linked to the drug trade. In May, twenty employees of the infirmary of the penitentiary in Mary province, including the director, two deputy directors, chief physician, physicians, practitioners and prison guards, were arrested for selling illegal narcotics to prisoners. All of the accused have been detained in Ashgabat at the Ministry of National Security’s detention facility and are being refused visits by either attorneys or family members. Reportedly, an Iranian national who was serving a sentence in the penitentiary had been “hospitalized” at the facility for 18 months, an arrangement that allowed him to sell drugs to prisoners and hospital patients. High-level prison and hospital officials were reportedly aware of and involved in the arrangements. The operation and arrests were carried out by SCNS jointly with the Ministry of National Security. During a May session of the State Security Council, President Berdimuhamedov dismissed the Minister of Internal Affairs (MIA) Orazgeldi Amanyradov, and made reference to what he termed the lack of efficiency of the former Minister’s work, as well as the “ongoing shortcomings and breaches of the law” in the work of the police force. He cited the Mary prison incident as an example of the Minister’s failings. In early August, an Air Force commander was arrested in Tejen (near the Iranian border) in Ahal Province for attempting to smuggle seven kilograms of heroin across the border from Iran. The commander’s wife was also arrested. The involvement of high-ranking military and Border Service officials in cross-border smuggling is reportedly rampant among their ranks.
Agreements and Treaties. Turkmenistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Turkmenistan is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its Protocols against Migrant Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons, and Illegal Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms.
Turkmenistan and the United States signed a letter of agreement for the provision of U.S. government counternarcotics assistance in September 2001. During the past year, the U.S. DEA has had discussions with SCNS regarding joint counternarcotics training programs, and SCNS has asked for specific assistance in training forensics laboratory chemists. In June 2007, the governments of Turkmenistan and Iran agreed to form a special joint committee to combat narcotics trafficking. The following month, the presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan signed a joint communiqué noting the need to further develop their counternarcotics and counterterrorism cooperation. Also in July 2007, Turkmenistan joined Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in the establishment of a UN-led Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center. In September 2007, the presidents of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan signed a joint communiqué acknowledging the need to further develop cooperation in counternarcotics efforts. The same month, the U.S. signed the second Amendment to the Letter of Agreement for additional funding of U.S. counternarcotics assistance.
Cultivation/Production. Turkmenistan is not a significant producer of illegal drugs, although small-scale opium and marijuana cultivation is believed to occur in remote mountain and desert areas. Each spring, the government conducts a limited aerial inspection of outlying areas in search of illegal poppy cultivation. Law enforcement officials eradicate any opium crops that are discovered. According to the State Counter-Narcotics Coordination Committee, law enforcement officials conduct Operation “Mak” (“poppy”) twice a year to locate and destroy poppy fields. Reports on illegal poppy cultivation are occasionally published in the weekly newspaper “Adalat.” One such report described an alleged purchase of cannabis seed from an unidentified person in March 2008 at a bazaar in Tejen. The accused then planted the seed in his own garden and produced 153 grams of marijuana, which he later sold for $100. Both perpetrators (buyer and seller) were sentenced to 11 and 10 years in prison, respectively. Similarly, a case was reported of a father and son accused of cultivating 1000 opium poppy plants in 2007 and then selling a portion of the dried poppy straw. The police searched his residence and reportedly seized three kilograms of poppy straw, after which he was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. A third individual was arrested for cultivating more than 2500 poppy plants and was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison.
Drug Flow/Transit. Turkmenistan is a primary transit corridor for smuggling organizations seeking to transport opium and heroin to markets in Turkey, Russia and the whole of Europe, and for the shipment of precursor chemicals to Afghanistan. There are air, land and sea smuggling routes through Turkmenistan. The government’s recent efforts to improve border crossing stations, which began in 2007, could lead to higher seizure rates, but traffickers could respond by developing alternate smuggling routes. Turkmenistan’s two major border control agencies, the State Customs Service and the State Border Service, have received increased attention and funding for their drug enforcement duties.. Nevertheless, systemic deficits in necessary equipment, training, resource and facilities will take time to improve. Border crossing points with rudimentary inspection facilities for screening vehicle traffic and without reliable communication systems have been identified by the government and are being improved. Nevertheless, Turkmenistan is likely to continue to serve as a major transit route for illegal drugs and precursors.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Currently, the Ministry of Health operates seven drug treatment clinics, one in Ashgabat, one in Serdar City, and one in each of the five provincial administrative centers. Addicts can receive treatment at these clinics without revealing their identity and all clinic visits are kept confidential. Drug addiction is a prosecutable crime and persons convicted are subject to jail sentences, although judicial officials usually sentence addicts to treatment. It is still difficult to obtain any detailed statistical information about the number of drug addicts in Turkmenistan, but the President announced during an open presidential cabinet meeting that there are more than 30,000 drug addicts in Turkmenistan. Although not yet implemented, the government is currently considering internationally funded prevention programs. A strategy for counternarcotics efforts and assistance to drug addicts is included within the framework of the 2006-2010 National Drug Program. In August 2008, a Drug Demand Reduction Program (DDRP), funded by the Department of State (INL), was launched by the Turkmenistan Red Crescent. It aims to increase the awareness of young people and adults of the harmful effects of narcotics. DDRP headquarters in Ashgabat has opened branches in Turkmenbashy and in each of the five provincial administrative centers. DDRP has been working closely with drug treatment clinic and public organizations. On the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in June, the DDRP conducted several public activities, including the distribution of brochures on the harmful effects of drug abuse, drawing contests for students and public discussions. The events aroused much public interest, as well as enthusiasm about discussing the issue openly in public for the first time on the streets of Ashgabat and other cities.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. In addition to the previously completed construction of new border crossing stations at Imamnazar (Afghan border) and Altin Asir (Iranian border), at a total cost of$4.2 million, the U.S. funded and oversaw the construction of another border crossing post at Ferap (Uzbek border). The total U.S. contribution to that project, which was completed in October, reached $5.5 million. In October 2008, 20 law enforcement officers graduated from the second round of INL-funded English Language Training Courses, after completing ten months of language instruction. Three of the graduates (one from the Customs Service and two from the State Migration Service) were selected for a week-long study tour in Great Britain, during which they held meetings and exchanged ideas with British NGOs, parliamentarians and Metropolitan Police officers on counternarcotics and international crime issues. In December 2008, a third round of U.S.-funded English classes began, with 32 students enrolled from eight law enforcement agencies. In February, INL sent three law enforcement officials from the Prosecutor General’s office and the SCNS to the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Science. Participants met with colleagues from DOJ, counterparts from other countries, including other Central Asian republics, and expanded their knowledge of forensics and recent innovations in the area of criminology. In March, two officials from the State Border Service and SCNS participated at an International Narcotics Detector Dog Conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan, organized by the Military Institute of Kazakhstan’s State Committee for National Security. The Turkmen participants reported on their approach to narcotics detector dog use in Turkmenistan, , and learned about recent trends in the detector dog use in other countries. As a follow-up to the conference, in June, the same officials traveled to Graz, Austria for a narcotics detector dog competition and familiarization visit to the Austrian Narcotics Detector Dog Center. Three training seminars, on the “History of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA),” “Interview and Interrogation,” and “Drug Identification” (on the use of INL-donated drug testers) were organized and presented during the year by a visiting DEA Special Agents.
The Road Ahead. Staying engaged with all of Turkmenistan’s counternarcotics enforcement agencies is necessary to encourage a successful partnership against narcotics trafficking. Bilateral cooperation is expected to continue, and the U.S. government plans to expand counternarcotics law enforcement agency training in Turkmenistan. As both Turkmenistan and U.S. officials identify areas for improved counternarcotics efforts, the United States will attempt to provide an appropriate, integrated and coordinated response to Turkmen training and equipment needs. The U.S. government will also encourage the government of Turkmenistan to institute long-term demand reduction efforts and improve Turkmen capacity for more efficient supply reduction through interdiction training, law enforcement institution building, the promotion of regional cooperation, and an exchange of drug-related intelligence.
United Arab Emirates
Although not a narcotics-producing country, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a transshipment point for traffickers moving illegal drugs from major drug production and transit countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. Frequent reports of seizures of illegal drugs in the UAE over the past few years underscore this conclusion. Most seizures have been of hashish and heroin. There are several factors that contribute to making the UAE a transit point, including its proximity to major drug cultivation regions in Afghanistan, and a long (700 kilometer)coastline. High volumes of shipping render UAE ports vulnerable to exploitation by narcotics traffickers. There are numerous reports that drugs leave Iran and Pakistan by vessel and move to the UAE, among other destinations, in the Gulf. Though currently designated as a transit country, drug seizures in the last two years indicate that the UAE may be transitioning from being a transit country to being a staging point for Afghan heroin and hashish.
In 2009, the UAE continued to advance its national drug strategy focusing on intensifying security at the country’s air and sea ports and patrols along the coastline, reducing demand for illegal drugs through educational campaigns, enforcing harsh penalties for trafficking, and rehabilitating drug addicts. In October 2006, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration established a country office in the UAE to enhance cooperation with UAE law enforcement authorities. In 2007, the UAE was re-elected as the Asian regional representative to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The UAE’s term will end in 2011. The UAE is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
A major regional financial center and hub for commercial shipping and trade, the UAE is a transshipment point for illegal narcotics from Afghanistan, to Europe, to Africa, and less significantly, to the United States, as well as a key location for narcotics money laundering by international drug traffickers—including possibly from South America. Western Europe is the principal market for transiting drugs, and Africa is becoming an increasingly prominent market. Factors that contribute to the role of the UAE as a transshipment point are the emergence of Dubai and Sharjah as regional centers in the transportation of passengers and cargo, a porous land border with Oman, an easily accessible commercial banking system, and the fact that a number of ports in the UAE have free trade zones where transshipped cargo is not usually subjected to the same inspection as goods that enter the country. Though currently designated as a transit country, drug seizures in the last two years indicate that the UAE may be transitioning from a transit country to a staging point for Afghan heroin and hashish. Regional drug trafficking organizations are increasingly using the UAE to stockpile drugs for future sale and re-shipment rather than simply as a transit point. Afghan drug trafficking organizations may also be using the UAE as a logistics hub for vehicles and other goods vital to the operations of the organization. Foreign drug brokers also are believed to come to the UAE to meet with regional supply organizations to negotiate international drug and pre-cursor chemical transactions that will take place outside of the UAE.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The UAE continued to advance its national drug strategy focusing on intensifying security at the country’s air and sea ports and patrols along the coastline, reducing demand for illegal drugs through educational campaigns, enforcing harsh penalties for trafficking, and rehabilitating drug addicts. On March 29, 2007, Dubai Police and the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) signed a $1.2 million project, fully funded by the Dubai Police, to combat drug abuse and drug trafficking in the UAE and in the region. The project will conclude in late 2009. The project agreement has four elements: Dubai Police will play a leading role in reversing increased drug trafficking and drug abuse among young people in the UAE and other states of the region. UNODC helps upgrade the Dubai Police Training Centre into a center of excellence for the region-wide transfer of knowledge and the training of law enforcement staff to ensure they have the skills needed to cope with an increased influx of narcotic drugs. UNODC assists Dubai and the UAE as a whole to develop a coordinated national action plan on drug demand reduction. UNODC helps develop and implement national drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention modules for schools and universities to address young people in a way that suits the culture of the Gulf region. In September of 2005, the UN established a sub-office on Drugs and Crime in Dubai. The UAE government funded the estimated $3 million cost of the office and contributed an additional $50,000 to the UN counternarcotics program. In October 2008, the UN and UAE Ministry of Interior signed an agreement to open another semi-regional office in Abu Dhabi, which is expected to start functioning by 2010.
In 2009, Dubai Police established a new counternarcotics unit to combat narcotics trafficking beyond the UAE’s borders by working with overseas drug law enforcement units to break up international drug rings. The new unit will be better staffed and have more independence than its predecessor, which was part of the Criminal Investigation Department. On September 1, 2009, the Dubai Public Prosecution established four new and specialized prosecution offices, including one section dedicated to investigating narcotic drugs crimes, which will eventually handle prosecution and arraignment processes in crimes involving the use of narcotic drugs and mind-altering substances. Another office was established for the Public Funds Prosecution section, which will focus on crimes of embezzlement, mismanagement of public funds, bribery and money laundering.
Law Enforcement Efforts. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime World Drug Report 2009 the smuggling of amphetamines and heroin through UAE has continued to grow. This finding is confirmed by drug seizure statistics released by the Anti-Narcotics Unit of Dubai Police. In the first five months of 2009, the total quantity of seized drugs increased by 41 per cent, from 94 kilograms in the first five months of 2008 to 133 kilograms in the first five months of 2009. According to Dubai Police, during the first nine months of 2009 there were 544 narcotic drug cases, involving 852 individuals, up from 488 narcotic cases, involving 623 individuals during the same period of 2008. Similarly, the nine-month figures for drugs seized in 2009 increased to 203 kilograms from 148 kilograms seized during the same period in 2008. From beginning of 2008 until mid-2009, UAE law enforcement seized 1,273 kilograms hashish, 542 kilograms heroin, and 49 kilograms opium. The increase in the number of narcotic cases charged by the police was due to the increase in the enforcement efficiency. Around 95 per cent of the seized drugs in these cases were brought into UAE to be trafficked in the local market, while 5 per cent used Dubai as transit point. Arrestees included Iranians, Pakistanis, Africans, Europeans, Arabs, and some UAE nationals.
A 1995 law stipulates capital punishment as the penalty for drug trafficking. Sentences usually are commuted to long-term imprisonment. In January 2009, the Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced two Pakistani visitors to 25 years in jail for attempting to smuggle 22 kilograms of heroin into the UAE. In February 2009, the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi sentenced a drug trafficker 15 years in jail, fining him Dirhams 50,000 ($13,613) and imposing subsequent deportation, and the Fujairah Court of Appeal sentenced another trafficker to 14 years in jail. In March 2009, an Asian marijuana trafficker was sentenced to life term imprisonment by the Ras Al Khaimah Criminal Court.
UAE authorities also cooperate with other countries to stop narcotics trafficking. In June 2007, the UAE Ambassador to Pakistan announced that the UAE had established a drug liaison office in Islamabad and was in the process of establishing a second in Karachi. In March 2009, Dubai Police and Germany’s Federal Police signed an agreement to combat organized crime, including the flow of narcotic drugs and related money laundering. At the signature ceremony, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Chief, Jorg Ziercke said that a heroin shipment from Afghanistan coming through Dubai en route to Germany was interdicted through cooperation of Afghanistan, Dubai and Germany.
Corruption. The Government of the UAE as a matter of policy does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances or the laundering of proceeds from drug transactions. Senior officials are not known to engage in or facilitate illicit production of these drugs or the laundering of proceeds from drug transactions. There is no evidence that corruption -including narcotics related corruption—of public officials is a systemic problem.
Agreements and Treaties. The UAE is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol and the 1988 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The UAE ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on May 7, 2007. The UAE is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption.
Cultivation/Production. There is no evidence of any major drug cultivation and/or production in the UAE. Published records show that there were two cases of “planting” drugs in the Emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah in 2004, with a total of three people arrested. There have been no similar cases since.
Drug Flow/Transit. High volumes of shipping and investment development opportunities render the UAE vulnerable to exploitation by narcotics traffickers and narcotics money laundering. The UAE, Dubai in particular, is a major regional transportation, financial, and shipping hub. Narcotics smuggled from South and Southwest Asia passes through Dubai and then on to Europe and Africa and, to a significantly lesser degree, the United States. Hashish, heroin, and opium shipments, originating in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, are smuggled in cargo containers, via small vessels and powerboats, and/or sent overland via Oman. According to published figures, Iranians, Pakistanis, Afghans, Africans, Europeans and third-country Arabs made up the largest number of non-UAE nationals arrested in drug cases in 2009.
Recognizing the need for increased monitoring at its commercial ports, airports, and borders, the UAE is making an effort to tighten inspections of cargo containers as well as passengers transiting the UAE. In December 2004, the Emirate of Dubai signed the Container Security Initiative (CSI) with the United States. CSI inspectors arrived in Dubai in 2005, and are inspecting containers destined for the United States. UAE customs officials randomly search containers and follow-up leads on suspicious cargo.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. In 2003, the UAE’s Federal Supreme Court ruled that authorities needed evidence that drug use occurred in the UAE before they could prosecute users. A positive blood test is considered evidence of consumption, but not evidence of where the consumption took place. The majority of UAE drug users take their first doses abroad, primarily because of peer pressure at home. Statistics reveal that 75 percent of drug users in the UAE use hashish, 13 percent use heroin, while six percent use morphine. The report illustrates a clear relationship between drug abuse and level of education: 75 percent of arrested drug users in 2002 were high school graduates, but only two percent were university graduates. While the data is a few years old, trends reported are still reflective of current societal patterns.
The focus of the UAE’s domestic program is to reduce demand through public awareness campaigns directed at young people. The UAE has also established rehabilitation centers and several awareness programs, including issuing postage stamps to highlight the hazards of drugs. Every year, the Ministry of Interior holds a high-profile “Drug Awareness Week” with exhibits prominently set up in all of the local shopping malls to coincide with International Anti-Narcotics Day on June 26. On the occasion of the International Anti-Narcotics Day of 2009, Dubai Customs launched an awareness campaign on the serious dangers of drugs abuse and its negative consequences on health, the national economy and local and international communities. Dubai Customs has also distributed leaflets among passengers coming through Dubai terminals to raise their awareness of the issue. The UAE also launched several awareness campaigns in 2009, which included the following themes: “Yes to Sports, No to Drugs”, that were promoted in shopping malls, media, booklets, and lectures. UAE efforts also included religious counternarcotics campaigns promoted by Muslim preachers. In 2009, Dubai Police in cooperation with the United Nations issued a drug awareness electronic book, which includes instructions, and films showing the danger of narcotics to health. In June 2009, Ras Al Khaimah Police opened a permanent drug exhibition, considered the first of its kind in the UAE, aimed at promoting better drug awareness for students.
In April 2008, the Abu Dhabi based National Rehabilitation Center (NRC) announced that some 600 drug addicts have been rehabilitated over the past six years. UAE officials believe that adherence to Muslim religious morals and severe prison sentences imposed on individuals convicted of drug offenses effectively deter narcotics abuse. The UAE has established an extensive treatment and rehabilitation program for its citizens. There is one rehabilitation center in Abu Dhabi, two in Dubai, and one each in Ajman and Sharjah for those identified as addicts. In accordance with federal law, UAE nationals who are addicted can present themselves to the police or a rehabilitation center and be exempted from criminal prosecution. Those nationals who do not turn themselves in to local authorities are referred to the legal system for prosecution. Third-country nationals or “guest workers” (who make up approximately 80 percent of the population) generally receive prison sentences upon conviction of narcotics offenses and are deported upon completing their sentences. Most UAE nationals arrested on drug charges are placed in one of the UAE’s drug treatment programs. They undergo a two-year drug rehabilitation program, which includes family counseling/therapy. In July 2009, the Director of Enforcement in Al Ain stated that 60 per cent of addicts who receive treatment under supervision of Al Ain Anti-Narcotic Department recover from addiction. In Dubai, 236 Emirati drug addicts were undergoing treatment during the first five months of 2009, under the supervision of the Dubai General Department of Anti-Narcotics.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The DEA Administrator visited the UAE in July 2005 to enhance counternarcotics cooperation with the UAE. During the visit, the UAE agreed to, establish a DEA presence in the UAE to work closely with UAE authorities. The first DEA Country Office was formally established in October 2006 in Dubai and is also responsible for Oman. DEA officials will now be able to work more closely with UAE authorities to combat drug smuggling.
The Road Ahead. The United States and the UAE will continue to work together to discourage narcotics trafficking and to protect citizens from the scourge of drug abuse. The DEA Country Office looks forward to expanding cooperation on narcotics investigations with UAE authorities.
Drug trafficking in Uganda is increasing. Lack of proper reporting, police corruption and lack of adequate police/enforcement structures make counternarcotics efforts and accurate intelligence gathering on narcotics difficult. Government of Uganda (GOU) authorities have detected and confiscated heroin and cannabis transiting through Entebbe International Airport and along the border with Kenya. The only drug believed to be produced in Uganda is cannabis. The GOU’s Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) has total personnel strength of around 136, but estimates it needs at least 300 additional officers. Uganda has only two counternarcotics sniffer dogs, both working at Entebbe International Airport. Poorly trained officers, inadequate equipment, and corruption are likely the primary causes for the growing narcotics trans-shipment in Uganda. Uganda is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Drug production and trafficking within Uganda is not significant in comparison with other primary drug countries. However, reports of illegal trafficking and use are on the rise. Due to porous borders, corruption, and inadequate equipment and training for Ugandan Police and law enforcement entities at Entebbe International Airport, traffickers are increasingly using Uganda as a transit route to Europe. Drug production in Uganda is believed limited to the cultivation of cannabis. Local authorities believe cannabis production increased during the last calendar year due to increased regional demand combined with a lack of more profitable crops.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Comprehensive national drug legislation, introduced in 2008 but currently tabled in Parliament, would lay the foundation for the establishment of a national coordinating body for drug control, treatment and rehabilitation of abusers, regional and international cooperation, and stiffer punishment for traffickers. It would also provide authority for confiscation and forfeiture of assets. Without this legislation, drug traffickers will continue to operate in Uganda with little threat of detection, arrest, or conviction.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Accurate accounting of regular law enforcement efforts is difficult due to limited capacity in national crime reporting and corruption within the police and the justice system. From 2008 to present, the ANU seized 5 kilograms of heroin, up from 1.4 kilograms in 2008, but down from 18 kilograms in 2006. This seizure led to four arrests and convictions. The unit reported 482 individuals arrested for possession of cannabis, and ten arrested for possession of cannabis seeds. Fifteen acres of cannabis plants were uprooted with nine related arrests. The ANU also reported one kilogram of cocaine seized with one arrest. The ANU stated that it doubts any of the reported arrests were of major traffickers, and expects that they were either small-time dealers, personal users, or couriers. The capacity of the GOU to combat illicit drugs is made more difficult by corruption and severe resource constraints. Specifically, while the ANU has experienced an increase in total personnel to 136 from 80 in 2008 (a return to their 2007 staffing level), it estimates a need for 300 additional officers. The ANU has only two trained drug-sniffing dogs whose ability to detect drugs has decreased due to lack of in-service refresher training. There is no x-ray machine available at the airport to assist the ANU in detecting drugs that might have been ingested. The ANU has no reliable drug test kits to determine if suspected drugs are in fact prohibited substances.
Corruption. Corruption at all levels is a pressing concern in Uganda. In 2007 and 2008, Uganda failed to meet the basic anticorruption benchmarks needed to qualify for foreign assistance funding from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation. Within Uganda, the Inspectorate General of Government, the Auditor General and the Director of Public Prosecutions, as well as the Ugandan Police Criminal Investigative Division and the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity handle most issues of corruption, but have also been plagued by charges of corruption within their own ranks. As a matter of government policy, the GOU does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. The GOU is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention Against Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol. The GOU is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol against illegal manufacturing and trafficking in firearms, as well as the UN Convention against Corruption.
Cultivation/Production. The ANU does not have accurate data regarding the actual spread of illicit drug cultivation in Uganda. Available reporting suggests established domestic cannabis cultivation in eastern Uganda, particularly in the districts of Busia, Mayuge, Bugiri, Iganga, Mukono, and Kayunga. Commercial cultivation of cannabis is also spreading northward and to other districts throughout the country. In total, 15 acres of cannabis plants were reported destroyed between 2008 and 2009.
Drug Flow/Transit. Trans-shipment of illicit drugs through Uganda is the most prevalent aspect of the illicit drug trade in Uganda. Most couriers travel by air via Entebbe International Airport smuggling drugs from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and India. Unofficial reports suggest that South American drugs bound for Europe are possibly routed through Uganda due to Uganda’s weak border controls and high levels of corruption. Ugandan cannabis is primarily trafficked regionally to Kenya, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Demand Reduction. The GOU does not have an organized campaign to sensitize the public to the dangers of drug abuse, nor does it have organized programs for the treatment and rehabilitation of users. Interactions between the GOU and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime have been limited to information exchange, arrangements for training, and conference participation.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. has assisted Uganda’s counternarcotics efforts with numerous law enforcement training courses and general investigative skills training. The U.S. is also assisting by establishing a crime/forensics laboratory and supporting a community policing project at the National Police Training Academy. The Ugandan Police Force (UPF) is a willing partner in the fight against narcotics trafficking. However, UPF officers (particularly in the ANU along with border and airport enforcement officers) are in dire need of assistance to curb the illegal drug trade.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. Government continues to engage with the GOU on a variety of law-enforcement issues with the objective of improving Uganda’s capacity to enforce its laws and investigate crime. The bottom line, however, is that whatever the level of commitment by the UPF to fight drug trafficking within Uganda, they currently lack the training and equipment needed to be an effective partner.
Combating illegal narcotics remains a national priority for Ukraine. Ukraine’s counternarcotics legislation is well developed, and the GOU is committed to keeping it current with the evolving threats. The Ukrainian Government attaches great importance to prevention of narcotic addiction, but efforts in this area oftentimes prove to be under-funded. Coordination between law enforcement agencies responsible for counternarcotics occurs, but continues to be plagued by regulatory and jurisdictional constraints. Official statistics show a slight decrease in the number of drug-related crimes and registered addicts in 2009. Ukraine is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and it follows the provisions of the Convention in its counternarcotics legislation.
II. Status of Country
Ukraine is not a major drug-producing country; however, it is located astride several important drug trafficking routes into Western Europe, and thus is an important transit country. Ukraine’s numerous ports on the Black and Azov Seas, its extensive river transportation routes, its porous northern and eastern borders, and its inadequately-financed and under-equipped border and customs agencies make Ukraine an attractive route for drug traffickers into the bordering European Union’s profitable illegal drug market. Narcotics, primarily heroin, originating in Afghanistan move through Russia, the Caucasus and Turkey, pass through Ukraine, and go on to Western Europe. But, as frequently occurs in transit countries, drug addiction appears to be growing in Ukraine itself. Analysts seem to be unanimous in the opinion that Ukraine is increasingly being viewed by drug traffickers as both a transit country and a drug market in its own right.
Meanwhile, domestic drug abuse continues to be focused on drugs made from locally grown narcotic plants (hemp and poppy), which account for approximately 85 percent of the total drug market in Ukraine, but the use of synthetic drugs and psychotropic substances, especially amphetamines, has been rapidly increasing in Ukraine over the past few years. Most of the major drugs consumed in Ukraine are either produced in Ukraine or supplied from Russia and Moldova (poppy straw, hemp, opium) as well as Poland, Hungary and the Netherlands (amphetamines, methamphetamines, and MDMA, also known as “Ecstasy”).
According to official statistics, the drug-addiction level in Ukraine is approximately 35 addicts per 10,000 inhabitants. An interesting sign, however, is a drop in the number of registered drug addicts this year from 178,043 (September 2008) to 165,045 (September 2009), approximately a 7.3 percent decrease. This drop in registered drug addicts, the first in many years, could be ascribed to positive interventions of the government, international organizations and local NGOs. However, many experts continue to believe that the number of unregistered drug addicts may in fact be at least twice as large as the number reported as registered, given the social stigma attached with formal registration as an addict.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. Ukraine has well-developed counternarcotics legislation consistent with international standards. In 2009, the GOU continued to implement a comprehensive counternarcotics policy entitled: “The Program Implementing the State Policy in Combating Illegal Circulation of Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors for 2003-2010.” The Program frankly acknowledges the growing scale of drug abuse in Ukraine and the lack of adequate prevention education and public awareness campaigns, community prevention efforts, and treatment and rehabilitation facilities.
The Program consists of two stages, the first of which occurred in 2003-2005, and the second of which is being implemented in the 2006-2010 timeframe. Stage one included: improvement of legislation; monitoring and prevention of drug abuse and drug trafficking; interagency cooperation; creation of a modern interagency data bank; an increase in law-enforcement capacity; scientific research into the causes of drug addiction; and setting up an interagency lab to research new synthetic drugs appearing on the domestic market and discover new trends in drug trafficking. Stage two foresees integration into the European information space and exchange of information on drug trafficking; strengthening of drug abuse prevention centers; introduction of new treatment practices; an increase in public awareness and education, especially in schools; further strengthening of law-enforcement capacity; and full achievement of international standards. To implement the plan for the second stage, these priorities were further split into 63 specific tasks and assigned to responsible agencies. The Program also provides estimates of future funding needed to support its implementation. The total estimate is over 300 million Ukrainian hryvnia ($37.5 million). However, the GOU has not been able to ensure full allocation of these resources. For example, due to tight budget funding, the GOU has not provided support for the Interagency Research Laboratory for Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors proposed by the Ministry of Interior. As a result, Ukraine has no common database on illegal narcotics and the level of information-sharing between Ukrainian government agencies is low.
The national legislative act called “Law on Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors” was updated in 2008, and the Cabinet of Ministers approved a set of new regulations in 2009 to improve the handling of controlled drugs and precursors. The law also provides for better storage and disposal of seized narcotics. The Narcotics Control Committee established in 2003 in the Ministry of Health continues to monitor the licit production and use of controlled substances by licensed companies and organizations to avoid diversion to illicit uses.
In the last two years the GOU has amended its legislation to make illegal the non-prescribed use of strong opiate analogs, like Tramadol. Over the last few years Ukraine experienced significant problems with uncontrolled production and use of Tramadol. The new legislation allowed a much more effective law-enforcement response to this problem. As a result, Tramadol abuse has been reduced sharply. Approximately 10 times fewer Tramadol pills were seized in the first nine months of this year (217,286) than last year (2,020,000). In addition, 707,443 pills of other illegally disseminated dangerous drugs and strong medications were seized. These numbers testify to the fact that abuse of prescription drugs and dangerous substances remains significant, especially among young people.
Accomplishments. The National Drug Observatory continues to monitor the drug situation in the country. The Observatory was established at the Ministry of Health in 2006 with the assistance of the EU-funded BUMAD Program. It helps collect, analyze and disseminate data on drugs at the national level as well as share and improve comparability of these data at the regional level through the harmonization of key epidemiological and drug supply indicators.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The responsibility for counternarcotics enforcement in Ukraine is shared by the Ministry of Interior (MOI), with its primarily domestic law-enforcement function, and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), which deals with trans-border aspects of drug trafficking. The State Border Guard Service (SBGS) and the State Customs Service (SCS) interdict drugs along the border and at ports of entry.
In 2009 (January through September), the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior’s (MOI) police force seized approximately 7.9 tons of various drugs, including 4.15 tons of poppy straw, 3.5 tons of marijuana, 31.4 kilos of opium, 7.52 kilos of heroin, and 0.72 kilos of cocaine. The MOI has also seized 235 tons of precursors and destroyed 283,900 sq. meters of illegally-grown poppy and 983,300 square meters of cannabis.
In the same period of 2009, the Security Service seized 1.2 kilos of heroin, 4.2 kilos of cocaine, 1.2 kilos of methadone, 14.6 kilos of methamphetamine, 3.5 kilos of amphetamine and over 19 kilos of other stimulant substances.
The Ukrainian police investigated 45,276 narcotic crimes in 2009 (as of September), 6.7 percent fewer than last year. It is unclear whether declining numbers of cases and seizures mean less trafficking or less efficient police work.
At the same time the number of controlled buys and deliveries has increased by several percent. The Ukrainian police have also uncovered 256 international narcotic trafficking routes and disrupted 40 organized crime trafficking rings in the first 9 months of 2009 (a 23-percent and 25-percent increase in comparison to the previous year, respectively). This might indicate that Ukrainian law enforcement is paying increasing attention to organized criminal aspects of narcotics trafficking, and is utilizing informants, operational analysis, controlled buys and deliveries, and information from their overseas counterparts to disrupt illegal narcotic activities.
In 2009 the MOI created a separate division within its General Investigations Department that focuses specifically on criminal investigations related to narcotics, psychotropic substances and precursors.
The MOI and SBU continued to build cooperative relationships with international counterpart agencies in Western Europe, Eurasia and America. As an example, in April 2009, a coordinated action of SBU and German narcotic control authorities prevented the trafficking of 10 tons of potassium permanganate, which is used in the production of cocaine.
Corruption. The GOU openly acknowledges that corruption remains a major problem in society, due to the existence of a bribe-tolerant mentality and the lack of law-enforcement capabilities to investigate and prosecute corruption. The government has committed itself to strengthening its capabilities to investigate and prosecute corruption by adopting international and European standards for creating a specialized law-enforcement body to investigate sensitive corruption cases. However, the pace of anticorruption reform remains slow and the number of successful prosecutions of corruption cases (including those related to narcotics) is extremely low. Thirty-two government employees were prosecuted for corruption by Ukrainian prosecution authorities in the first 9 months of 2009. Several law-enforcement officers were arrested for similar activities. Only one government employee was sentenced in the first half of 2009. As a matter of government policy, however, the GOU does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Ukraine is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The U.S.-Ukraine Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty came into force in February 2001. Ukraine has ratified the UN Convention against Corruption, with the reservation that the ratification enters into force on April 1, 2010, together with two new national laws on corruption. Ukraine is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. The U.S. and Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Law Enforcement Assistance in December 2002. It provided for State Department-funded (INL) assistance to Ukraine to help the GOU bring its law-enforcement institutions, including those involved in the effort against narcotic drugs, up to European and international standards, with the goal of facilitating Ukraine’s accession to Euro-Atlantic institutions such as the European Union. It has been amended regularly since 2002 to add funding and establish justice-sector and law-enforcement projects as agreed by Ukraine and the U.S.
The General Prosecutor Office processed 32 international legal assistance requests in narcotic cases and submitted 30 requests to prosecution authorities in other countries in 2009.
Cultivation/Production. Opium poppy is grown predominantly in western, southwestern, and northern Ukraine, while hemp cultivation is concentrated in the eastern and southern parts of the country. Poppy and cannabis are controlled plants and can be grown only by licensed farms. The Government approves cultivation quotas every year. In 2009 the approved quotas included 14,000 hectares of poppy and 1,100 hectares of cannabis. Despite the prohibition of unauthorized cultivation, many cases of illegal cultivation in small quantities by private households are discovered.
Drug Flow/Transit. Ukraine is predominantly a destination country for poppy straw, hemp and methamphetamines, and a transit country for heroin. Heroin is trafficked from Central Asia (primarily Afghanistan) and comes into Ukraine mostly through Russia, the Caucasus and Turkey. Shipments are usually destined for Western Europe, and arrive by road, rail, or sea, which is perceived as less risky than air or mail shipment and permits traffickers to move larger quantities of narcotics. Nonetheless, the number of air couriers has lately increased significantly. Through September 2009, 68 couriers were detained in the international airport of Ukraine’s capital city (15 times as many as in 2008).
Lately, experts have noted an increase in heroin traffic from Turkey into Ukraine by sea, or into Russia and then into Ukraine across its South-Eastern border, and further by land across Ukraine’s western border into Western Europe. Experts believe that traditional Balkan drug traffic routes have become saturated and criminals are looking for new trafficking channels. Drug traffic from Asia is increasingly controlled by well-organized international criminal groups of Afghan, Pakistani, and Tajik origin that use citizens of the former Soviet republics as drug couriers.
Poppy straw and hemp are produced and consumed locally, with the surplus exported to Russia, Belarus and Moldova. Conversely, these drugs are also trafficked into Ukraine from Russia and Moldova. The trafficking of synthetic drugs and psychotropic substances from Poland and medical prescription drugs from Moldova is growing. Criminal groups of mixed origin (Ukrainians, Polish, Belarusians and Russians) that formed back in the 1990s and traditionally stayed away from drug trafficking are increasingly taking up this lucrative niche. The price of these drugs is lower than that of heroin and cocaine and therefore the drugs are attractive to young addicts. Despite major efforts against drug trafficking, the GOU estimates that narcotics intercepted in Ukraine while en route to other destinations account for less than 30 percent of the total volume transiting Ukraine.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. In the last five years, the number of registered drug addicts in Ukraine has increased by approximately 32 percent, up from 124,805 in 2004 to 165,045 in 2009. There are roughly 35 addicts per 10,000 citizens. Various experts, however, estimate that the total number of drug addicts in Ukraine may range from 300,000 to 500,000. Traditionally, the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine rate the highest in terms of drug addiction (on average 70 addicts per 10,000 individuals). Drug-related deaths over the last few years have averaged 1,000 per year, according to Ukrainian health authorities.
Marijuana and hashish are growing in popularity with young people, but opium straw extract remains the drug of choice for Ukrainian addicts. The popularity of this drug is due to its low cost ($5–$8 per 1-ml dose) and simple production methods. The use of synthetic drugs is also on the rise with young people, in particular ephedrine, Ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, amphetamines and methamphetamines. The spread of synthetic drugs is exacerbated by the rapid growth in local production. Hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, are still too expensive for most Ukrainian drug users. In recent years, Ukraine has seen the growing illegal use of the legal but restricted prescription medical drug Tramadol. The legal medical needs of Ukraine for this drug are estimated to be 4 million pills per year, while the Ukrainian pharmaceutical industry produced by various estimates 25 times that quantity. The GOU responded to this abuse in 1988 by listing Tramadol as a controlled narcotic drug, and has tightened control over its production and distribution, which have now been made subject to licensing. Tramadol has become a prescription drug, and sales of Tramadol pills are subject to stricter supervision by the government.
Ukraine’s drug problem today is increasingly affected by a rapidly growing HIV/AIDS epidemic, in which intravenous drug use is the primary mode of transmission of HIV, through behaviors such as syringe-sharing. The World Health Organization, UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNAIDS have recommended that substitution maintenance treatment programs with methadone and buprenorphine be integrated into national HIV/AIDS programs in order to support access to and adherence to antiretroviral treatment and medical follow-up. Since 2004, the GOU has implemented pilot substitution maintenance treatment programs using buprenorphine. The GOU has also committed through its Global Fund Round 6 Grant to incorporate the significantly less expensive and at least as effective opiate substitute methadone into substitution maintenance treatment programs. Fully incorporating methadone into its national HIV/AIDS program is critical to curbing Ukraine’s burgeoning HIV/AIDS epidemic. Starting in June 2008, the Ministry of Health began a methadone substitution program that is available to approximately 2,000 individuals, half of whom are HIV positive. It is expected that the methadone therapy will cover up to 20,000 addicts in 111 clinics countrywide by 2013.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. narcotics policy objectives include helping Ukraine bring its law-enforcement and justice-sector institutions up to European and internationally accepted norms and standards, and facilitating Ukraine’s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. This will in turn assist Ukrainian authorities to build law-enforcement capacity and develop effective counternarcotics programs in interdiction (particularly of hard drugs transiting the country), investigation, and demand reduction. It will also help Ukraine counter money laundering. Officers from the DEA have conducted a number of training courses funded by the Department of State in the areas of drug interdiction at seaports and advanced drug investigation techniques. The DEA has established a good working relationship with both the MOI and SBU, and the training programs have helped deepen these relationships. The Department of State, through a variety of projects, is also assisting the MOI build capacity while simultaneously strengthening the capability of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service (SBGS) to control Ukraine’s borders. State Department-funded projects include helping the SBGS develop Risk and Criminal Analysis capabilities that are compliant with European Union norms in order to target and suppress threats, including narcotics trafficking, more accurately along its approximately 7,000 km long border. In addition, the USG has provided a wide range of equipment to the SBGS and State Customs Service, including video and electronic border-monitoring systems, which should enhance these services’ ability to detect narcotics smuggling. Finally the State Department is supporting GUAM (an international organization comprising Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova), particularly through a virtual law enforcement center which will facilitate counternarcotics information-sharing among member states’ law enforcement bodies.
The Road Ahead. Trafficking of narcotics from Asia and cocaine from Latin America to European destinations through Ukraine is on the upswing as drug traffickers look for new ways to circumvent Western European customs and border controls. Synthetic drugs trafficked from countries of Eastern Europe or produced locally are also a growing concern. Demand reduction and treatment of drug abusers remain challenges requiring close attention. However, the largest challenge remains the limited budget resources to fund law enforcement efforts to investigate and interdict sophisticated, international trafficking rings that see Ukraine as a transit point to lucrative Western European markets, especially for heroin.
The United Kingdom (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 try to exploit the illicit narcotics market and use the UK as a major transshipping route. 2008 was the final year of the UK’s 10-year drug strategy. The strategy tried to address both the supply and demand aspects of illegal drug use. An assessment of the program determined that it was successful in meeting its goals. The Government launched a new 10-year strategy last year, called “Drugs: Protecting Families and Communities’ 2008-2018”. The UK strictly enforces national precursor chemical legislation in compliance with EU regulations. The UK is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Government data for 2008 suggested that 25-35 tons of heroin and 35-45 tons of cocaine enter the UK each year. Virtually all parts of the UK, including many rural areas, confront the problem of drug addiction at least to some degree. Cannabis remains the most-used illicit drug in the UK, predominantly in the 16-24 age-group; cocaine is the next most commonly used drug, closely followed by Ecstasy and amphetamines. Home Office figures for England and Wales, compiled as part of the 2008/09 British Crime Survey (BCS), indicated a decline in drug use between 2007/08 and 2008/09. Overall use of any illicit drug by 16-59 year olds has also shown a decrease from 11.1 per cent in 1996 to 10.1 percent in 2008/09, due in part to successive declines in the use of cannabis between 2003/04 and 2007/08.
Illegal drugs in the UK are classified by their level of harm, and are sanctioned accordingly. Class A drugs include cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD, magic mushrooms, heroin and diverted medical methadone and methamphetamine. Amphetamines can be either Class A or B, depending on whether they are injected or swallowed. In January 2009 cannabis was re-classified from Class C to Class B. Class C drugs include tranquillizers, anabolic steroids, and Ketamine.)
The 2008/2009 BCS showed that there has been an increase in the use of Class A drugs-highly dangerous drugs such as cocaine and heroin-among 16 to 59 year olds between 1996 (2.7 percent) and 2008/2009 (3.7 percent). On the other hand, in recent years, the cannabis market in the UK, which used to be the largest in Europe, has seen a clear downward trend. In England and Wales cannabis use fell from a prevalence rate of 10.9 percent among the population aged 16-59 in 2002/03 to 7.4 percent in 2007/08. Annual prevalence of cannabis use among people aged 16-24 fell from 28.2 percent in 1998 to 17.9 percent in 2007/08. The reported increase in Class A drug usage since 1996 results from an increase in cocaine powder use, partly offset by a decrease over the same period in the use of LSD.
In contrast to the BCS survey data, reporting a general decline in drug usage, but a shift towards more dangerous drugs, police recorded that drug offenses increased by six percent in 2008/09 compared with 2007/08. This increase appears to be related more to changes in police practice than to any underlying change in actual drug abuse. Increases in recent years have been largely attributable to increases in the recording of possession of cannabis offenses, which account for 69 percent of all recorded drug offenses. Possession of cannabis offenses recorded by the police has risen by 90 percent since 2004/2005. The increases coincided with rises in the number of formal warnings for possession of cannabis issued by the police. Historically, drugs have been linked to about 80 percent of all organized crime in London, and to about 60 percent of crime overall.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. UK counternarcotics policies have a strong social component, reflecting the widely held view that drug problems do not occur in isolation, but are often linked to other social problems. The new UK drug strategy for 2008-2018 consists of four aspects: protecting communities through tackling drug supply, drug-related crime and antisocial behavior; preventing harm to children, young people and families affected by drug misuse; delivering new approaches to drug treatment and social re-integration; public information campaigns, communications and community engagement.
In another important policy change, under the Misuse of Drugs Act cannabis was reclassified from a Class C to a Class B drug with effect from January 2009 due to potential long-term risks to health, and recent increases in the market share of high TNC-content cannabis. The penalties for repeated offenses of cannabis possession have also been strengthened. Cannabis remains the drug most likely to be used by 16-24 year olds.
Controversy surrounded the November 2009 dismissal by the Home Secretary of the head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, an independent body charged with advising the Government on drug policy. The advisor had publicly argued against the reclassification of cannabis in 2008 and in 2009 also criticized the Government’s approach to Ecstasy as overzealous. The Home Secretary argued that the advisor had crossed the line of scientific advocacy and embarked on a political campaign against the Government’s drug policy. The advisor and many of his supporters argued that he had been fired because his views were not in line with Government policy.
In 2006, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) examined new evidence regarding the reclassification of methamphetamine from a Class B to a Class A drug. In light of the new evidence presented, the ACMD wrote an open letter to the Home Secretary recommending the higher classification. The Home Secretary accepted this recommendation, and reclassification went into effect at the beginning of 2007. Reclassification put methamphetamine into the same category as cocaine and opiates. The change has lengthened penalties to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine for possession, and up to life in prison for dealing. In 2007, the ACMD was asked to examine new evidence on cannabis as well. As noted above the Government decided to upgrade cannabis to a Class “B” drug against the ACMD’s recommendation that the existing classification as a Class “C” drug should be maintained.
Annual departmental expenditures under the overall drug strategy increased four percent between 2007/08 and 2008/09 (from $1.565million (GBP 941million) to $1.570million (GBP 945 million)). The largest share in this increase will be allocated to spending on prisons and community sentences.
The UK is a member of the Dublin Group, a group of countries that coordinate the provision of counternarcotics assistance, and is a UNODC major donor.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Average cocaine purity in police seizures fell from 32 percent in 2007 to 23 percent in the first quarter of 2009, and the purity of cocaine seized by the customs declined from 67 percent in 2007 to 56 percent in the first quarter of 2009. These statistics suggest that cocaine reaching the UK has been falling in purity and then is being cut further after importation. Cocaine was the most commonly seized Class A drug in the UK during 2008/09 followed by heroin. Seizures in the UK are normally made with both cocaine and heroin in mixed caches. The total number of seizures in the UK doubled between 2004 and 2008/2009. Class B and C dangerous drugs seizures also rose significantly from 2007/2008 to 2008/2009 while Class A seizures decreased by one percent for the same period.
There were 242,907 drug offenses recorded in England and Wales in 2008/2009, a five percent increase from the 230,500 offenses recorded in 2007/2008.
The UK gives high priority to counternarcotics enforcement and the United States enjoys good law enforcement cooperation with the UK. The UK honors U.S. asset seizure requests, and was one of the first countries to enforce U.S. civil forfeiture judgments. The Proceeds of Crime Act, which took effect in 2003, has significantly improved the government’s ability to track down and recover criminal assets.
Corruption. The Government does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. The UK is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The UK is a party to the UN Corruption Convention and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. The U.S. and the UK have a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), and a narcotics agreement, which the UK has extended to some of its dependencies. In 2006, the U.S. Senate ratified a new extradition treaty with the UK, and the exchange of instruments of ratification occurred in May 2007. In addition, the U.S. and the U.K. have concluded, pursuant to the 2003 U.S.-EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements, protocols to the bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties, which will enter into force on February 1, 2010.The U.S. and the UK also have a judicial narcotics agreement and an MLAT relating to the Cayman Islands, which extends to Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The U.S.-UK Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) dates from 1989.
In April 2008, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Royal Navy signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on issues of maritime domain awareness. In 2005, the UK signed an updated USCG Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) Memorandum of Understanding with the USG. This includes the airborne use of force (AUF) capability on Royal Navy and auxiliary vessels attempting to stop noncompliant drug smuggling go-fast vessels, as well as expanding the authorization to carry LEDETs in waters beyond the Caribbean and Bermuda areas of operations subject to the consent of both parties. In 2008, USCG LEDETs deployed on British ships seized 5,192 pounds of cocaine. In 2009, LEDETs aboard British ships removed over 12,400 pounds of cocaine. The deployment of Royal Navy assets to the Caribbean, and particularly in the drug transit zone, remains vital to ensuring continued success.
Cultivation/Production. Between mid-2004 and January 2007, over 2000 cannabis factories were discovered in the UK, predominantly run by Vietnamese criminals. Over 70 more were discovered in Scotland. Cannabis cultivated overseas was imported into the UK from Europe both in bulk by serious organized criminals, sometimes in mixed loads alongside Class A drugs. Crack cocaine was rarely imported, but was produced in the UK from cocaine powder.
Almost all of the Ecstasy consumed in the UK was manufactured in the Netherlands or Belgium; but tablet making sites have been found in the north of England. Most illicit amphetamines were imported from continental Europe, but some were manufactured in the UK in limited amounts. Authorities destroyed crops and clandestine manufacturing/growing facilities as they were detected.
United States authorities have expressed concern about a growing incidence of production of a “date rape” drug called “GBL”. While the UK government made the “date rape” drug GHB illegal in 2003, GBL, a close chemical equivalent of GHB, remained uncontrolled. In August 2009, UK Home Secretary Alan Johnson announced that the UK intended to classify both GBL and BZP (Benzodiazepine), another “party drug” as Class C soon. As part of this review the UK also intends to ban synthetic cannabionoids, which are chemicals that are sprayed on herbal smoking products. Often referred to by its street name, “SPICE” has become readily available in the UK.
Drug Flow/Transit. The illicit drug market in the UK (cannabis, cocaine powder, heroin, crack, Ecstasy and amphetamines) was worth around five billion pounds ($8.3 billion) in 2008/09. Crack and heroin accounted for the largest expenditure share, 28 per cent and 23 per cent respectively
Currently, trafficking in heroin and cocaine poses a significant challenge to the UK. There is clear evidence of large-scale serious organized criminal involvement and the Home Office estimates that the harm caused by Class A drugs is around £13 billion a year. This harm figure is arrived at by including the profits from sales, the value of the crimes addicts commit to fund their habits, the damage caused to family life and communities, and the costs to addicts’ health. The UK continues to be one of the most lucrative markets in the world for traffickers in Class A drugs and was targeted by a wide range of criminals. Drug trafficking, especially in Class A drugs, posed the single greatest organized crime problem for the UK. London, Birmingham, and Liverpool were known to be significant centers for the distribution of all types of drugs.
Approximately 90 percent of heroin in the UK comes from Afghanistan. The primary heroin trafficking route to the UK is overland from Afghanistan to Europe, transiting Iran. It is estimated that 70 percent of the UK’s heroin supply transits Iran, either directly from Afghanistan or via Pakistani Baluchistan. From Iran the opiates are moved through Turkey and on to the major markets in continental Europe, eventually reaching the Netherlands. Once in the Netherlands the heroin is trafficked on to the United Kingdom. In 2007, for example, most of the heroin seized in France had come through Turkey and the Netherlands and was on the way to the UK (50 percent) or to Spain (15 percent). United Kingdom-based criminal groups with ties to Turkey handle a significant amount of the heroin eventually imported into the UK, although criminals in the Netherlands and Belgium also channel heroin to the UK using their connections in Turkey. Traffickers with ties to Pakistan also play a significant part; most of the heroin they traffic to the UK, normally in small amounts by air couriers traveling directly from Pakistan, is destined for British cities with large South Asian populations. Approximately 25 percent of Afghan heroin seized in the UK arrived directly from Pakistan.
While traffickers with connections to Turkey continued to dominate the supply of heroin to the UK, an increasing amount of heroin is coming through West Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia. Criminals with connections to the Caribbean were involved in the supply and distribution of heroin as well as cocaine. Some of the heroin found in the UK continues to be smuggled through ports in the southeast of the UK, although some came through major UK airports with service to Turkey, Northern Cyprus, and Pakistan.
Cocaine imports are estimated at 35-45 tons a year and emanate chiefly from Colombia. An estimated 65-70 percent of the cocaine in the UK market was believed to be produced in Colombia, with increasing amounts transiting through West Africa before entering the UK. The Royal Navy deployed a warship off Cape Verde in June 2009 with an embarked USCG LEDET to train and operate with a Cape Verde LEDET to improve their capacity to counternarcotics trafficking through the region. Average cocaine purity increased from mid-2003 to early 2005 and average street prices fell from 2000-2007 by 30-40 percent. However, over the past two years there has been a marked decrease in the purity of cocaine seized. Distributors, apparently suffering from enhanced enforcement pressure, have increased the amount of cutting agents they add to cocaine.
Supplies of both cocaine and crack cocaine reached the UK market in a variety of ways. The main method of moving cocaine from South America to Europe was in bulk maritime shipments on merchant vessels and yachts from Colombian and Venezuelan ports to the Iberian Peninsula, and then on to the UK. Importation of small quantities was becoming more frequent and may indicate a trend towards ‘little and often’ importations. Around 75 percent of cocaine was thought to be carried across the Channel from consignments shipped from Colombia to continental Europe and then brought to the UK concealed in trucks or private cars or by human couriers or “mules.” Traffickers based in South America, Mexico, Spain, and the UK organized this smuggling. There was increasing evidence that a significant amount of the cocaine smuggled into the UK came through West Africa. Britain is a charter member of the Maritime Analysis and Operations Center-Narcotics (MAOC-N) in Lisbon, which aims to bolster EU capacity to counter this new route from Latin America, especially Venezuela by way of West Africa.
The Caribbean, chiefly Jamaica, was a major transshipment point for cocaine from Colombia coming to the UK. Cocaine came by both airfreight and by couriers, usually women, who attempted to conceal internally (i.e., through swallowing in protective bags) up to 0.5 kilograms at a time. Cocaine purity in Scotland was half that of England and Wales (17 percent), suggesting that the cocaine available on the streets of this part of the UK originated in England and was then re-cut. In Northern Ireland cocaine was even less pure (12 percent). Cocaine related deaths occurred in Northern Ireland for the first time in 2007.
Average cocaine purity in police seizures fell from 32 percent in 2007 to 23 percent in the first quarter of 2009 while the purity of cocaine seized by the customs declined from 67 percent in 2007 to 56 percent in the first quarter of 2009. To compensate for shortages in the cocaine supply, traffickers are using chemicals (such as phenacetin), bulking agents, and effect-enhancing adulterants to cut cocaine and crack. Almost a third of police seizures now have purity levels of less than 9 percent, and in some small-scale seizures at the retail level, purity levels were as low as 4-5 percent in the first quarter of 2009. The Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) seized some 15 metric tons of such cutting agents over the last year, which is more than the amount of cocaine seizures reported by the UK to UNODC. Cocaine wholesale prices rose over the same period from some 30,000 GBP ($50,000) per kilogram in 2007 to 45,000 GBP ($75,000) per kilogram in the first quarter of 2009 according to data collected by SOCA in the UK. It would seem that UK enforcement is having a quite significant impact on cocaine criminals.
Data from the mid-1990s to 2007 shows a strong increase in cocaine use in England and Wales, but more recent data for 2008 suggest a stabilization or even a small decline. The UNODC estimates the United Kingdom to have about one million cocaine abusers. The UK thus continues to be—in absolute numbers—Europe’s largest cocaine market, with its second highest cocaine use prevalence rate, after Spain.
Synthetic drugs continued to originate from Western and Central Europe; amphetamines, Ecstasy, and LSD were again mainly traced to sources in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Poland, with some supplies originating in the UK. The makers rely heavily on precursor chemicals made in China. In a newly identified transit trend, khat (a plant whose fresh leaves and tops are chewed or, less frequently, dried and consumed as tea, as a euphoric stimulant) was being imported to the UK from East African nations and Yemen. Khat is not controlled in the UK, but its stimulant component, cathinone, is a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States. Estimates for 2006 put khat importation levels to the UK at approximately 120 tons per month. Several areas in the U.S. are increasingly seeing khat, and DEA and DHS (ICE) have identified several links between U.S. khat seizures and the UK. Hashish continues to come to the UK primarily from Morocco. On a positive note, the UK intercepts the most amphetamine in Europe. Since 1998, the UK has seized more than 17.8 metric tons. The annual prevalence rate of 1 percent for amphetamine use in 2007/08 in England and Wales is one third of the level one decade ago, but in Scotland annual rates of amphetamine use increased from 0.5 percent in 2000 to 2.2 percent in 2006.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Home Office estimates that there are 332,000 problem drug users in England, with the drug market in the UK worth around five billion pounds ($8.3 billion) in 2008/09. The UK government’s demand-reduction efforts focus on school and other community-based programs to educate young people and to prevent them from ever starting to use drugs. In a related approach to drug education, “FRANK”, a call-in help-line, which offers advice to anyone who may be affected by drugs, has received over two million calls and averaged over 500,000 hits per year on its website.
The UK now has drug education programs in all schools, supported by a certificate program for teachers. “Positive Futures,” a sports-based program started in 2000 specifically to target socially vulnerable young people, which has served over 80,000 young people since its inception with 108 projects continues to operate in many regions throughout the country. In 2006, the program was handed over to the national charity “Crime Concern”. The charity hopes to use the heightened interest in sports generated by London’s hosting of the 2012 Olympics to promote its counternarcotics agenda.
The UK has rapidly expanded treatment services and has met its target of doubling the number of drug users in treatment two years early; current figures show that over 210,000 people are now receiving treatment (out of an estimated 330,000 problem drug abusers
According to the National Treatment Agency (NTA) there were approximately 10,000 registered drug treatment workers as of 2008. The NTA estimates the average waiting time for treatment at under one week for the first intervention. This represents a decrease from the average time of 2.4 weeks in 2002. According to the latest available figures, the number of deaths related to drug poisoning in England rose from 1506 in 2005 to 4107 in 2006. This figure was an all-time high, but may reflect new statistical ways of tabulating deaths that were introduced in 2006; other indications of drug abuse suggest a gradual downward trend, though with some shift towards “harder” drugs.
Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) were set up under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and are, in most cases, coterminous with local government units throughout the UK. CDRPs are composed of representatives from police, health, probation and other local agencies and are charged with developing strategies for reducing crime in the area where they are located.
As the UK prepares to host the Olympic Games in 2012 and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, there will be increasing international focus on its antidoping policies and programs. The Government has designated a strategy to work with key agencies, including the International Anti- Doping Organization, to respond to doping allegations.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
The Road Ahead. The United States continues its close cooperation with the UK on all counternarcotics fronts. The UK provides Royal Navy warships and auxiliary vessels under the tactical control of Joint Interagency Task Force South to support efforts to stop the flow of narcotics in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. A Royal Navy Liaison Officer, seconded to the JIATF South staff, also assists in coordinating UK support to JIATF South counternarcotics operations. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s London Country Office (LCO) continues to maintain a robust exchange of information and training initiatives with several UK law enforcement agencies regarding the threat from methamphetamine. Although not viewed to be in any significant use in the UK at this time, UK law enforcement has acknowledged the potential threat posed by methamphetamine and its capacity for “domestic production.” Under the auspices of the new MOU signed between DEA and ICE, ICE Attaché London has begun to develop investigative coordination protocols and operational initiatives with several UK law enforcement counterparts in the area of narcotics smuggling with a nexus to the U.S.
SOCA continues to send a representative to the quarterly Consolidated Counterdrug Database (CCDB) conference. SOCA contributes a great deal to the CCDB by assisting U.S. counternarcotics agencies in reviewing the details surrounding drug-related events reviewed and validated each quarter. This cooperation is vital to facilitate U.S. interagency efforts towards effectively tracking all illegal drug movement in the Western Hemisphere and cocaine movement worldwide.
While Uruguay is not a major narcotics producing or transit country, foreign traffickers are active there as well as in neighboring Argentina and Brazil. Uruguay continues to experience increasing local consumption of the highly addictive and inexpensive cocaine base product known locally as “pasta base.” In June 2009, the Government of Uruguay released a National Plan Against Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering, which aims to better coordinate the counternarcotics efforts of the varied agencies involved in fighting organized crime. Uruguay is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Though not a major narcotics producing or transit country, Uruguay is nonetheless exploited by international drug traffickers including from Mexico, Eastern Europe, Colombia, and Bolivia for transit and logistics operations. Uruguay’s porous borders and limited capability to inspect airport and port cargo makes it an attractive transit point for contraband. In 2009, Uruguay saw its largest seizure ever (over two metric tons of cocaine), as well as the first seizure of a chemical precursor, lidocaine, which is used to dilute cocaine. The most frequently seized drug in Uruguay is marijuana, though officials are concerned about the growing popularity of cocaine paste. Local demand for cocaine base continued to increase in 2009, as did the incidence of crime related to this drug, according to the National Anti-Drug Secretariat. Use of cocaine base inside prisons has led to insecurity and severe health problems in prisons. Individual drug use is not viewed as a criminal offense and Uruguay’s rehabilitation centers are strained with increasing numbers of addicts seeking assistance. Significant efforts to reduce drug use and assist addicts continued during 2009.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The Government of Uruguay (GOU) made significant strides in establishing a counternarcotics policy in 2009. The newly developed, four-year National Plan Against Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering outlined the coordination of state resources and participants and created a governing body made up of undersecretaries from the agencies working in those areas. In January, special courts that had been established in 2008 for organized crime began operating. The courts have jurisdiction over drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption, and banking fraud, as well as trafficking in persons. Two judges and two federal prosecutors now cover all cases related to organized crime, which allows them to specialize and to better identify related activity. Examples include a money laundering case that was also found to have a trafficking in persons’ component, and a cooperative investigation between the public prosecutor’s office and the national police against two people who had been in prison for money laundering since September 2008 and were found to have been running a trafficking ring that involved sending Uruguayan women to Spain for forced prostitution.
New legislation passed in 2009 allows the sale or use of seized assets before the conclusion of criminal cases that can sometimes take years. Demand reduction efforts also advanced and have reflected the changing abuse patterns and side effects of both petty and violent crime that come with cocaine base use. Uruguay is an active member of the Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), the Southern Cone Working Group of the International Conference for Drug Control, and other international organizations fighting narcotics, corruption, and crime. In 2009, the Financial Unit continued consolidating its work, significantly increasing its inspections to focus on financial agents, particularly those operating in free trade zones, and developing at least six major cases that stemmed from suspicious activity reports.
Accomplishments. In 2009, the GOU seized over two metric tons of cocaine in both national and international counternarcotics operations. The GOU also seized 174 kilograms of cocaine base, which was almost double the 2008 level; and 547 kilograms of marijuana, down from 963 kilograms in 2008. Uruguay’s interdiction numbers are low in the context of its neighbors and reflect lower narcotics consumption and trafficking in Uruguay as well as the GOU’s proactive and aggressive efforts to contain these problems.
The seizure of over two metric tons of cocaine in October, as part of an international operation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), was a historic seizure for Uruguay and the region. After receiving intelligence from the DEA and its Argentine counterparts, the Uruguayan Coast Guard was able to identify and detain a yacht transporting the cocaine. One Croatian national was arrested in Uruguay and three others were arrested in Eastern Europe. The investigation is ongoing. The operation is an example of successful information sharing and international cooperation, in this case with Uruguayan, Argentine, and Serbian officials under DEA guidance and investigation. Nationally, the successful operation, which included the Uruguayan Coast Guard, the counternarcotics police and the organized crime courts, is evidence of improved interagency cooperation.
The GOU made 1,185 drug-related arrests leading to 483 convictions. These numbers are a slight decrease from 2008 in both overall arrests and convictions.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The GOU is highly conscious of the rising counternarcotics threat and has made consistent efforts to improve its response capacity. Efforts to coordinate interagency strategies and the implementation of improved practices have paid off in terms of increased seizures. The Uruguayan counternarcotics police lead the interagency coordination due to their demonstrated, long-term effectiveness. They continued to improve their operations and intelligence unit by upgrading investigative techniques. Port of Montevideo controls are steadily improving, and in March customs officials began working with a team of special operations police who patrol the ports. This team liaises with the counternarcotics police and has full access to the port area and flexibility to investigate suspicious activity. In 2009, the military began integrating a new radar system with the civilian system to gain better control of airspace in the north, in an effort to better control the northern borders and the clandestine airstrips.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, no senior GOU official, nor the GOU, encourages or facilitates the production, processing, or shipment of narcotic and psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, and does not discourage the investigation or prosecution of such acts. Uruguay has taken legislative and law enforcement measures to prevent and punish public corruption as related to narcotics production, processing, and shipment. Corruption cases are now in the jurisdiction of the organized crime courts. The GOU Transparency Law of 1998 criminalizes various abuses of power by government authorities and requires high-ranking officials to comply with financial disclosure regulations. Public officials who do not act on knowledge of a drug-related crime may be charged with a “crime of omission” under the Citizen Security Law. There were no corruption cases in 2009. Of the 25 customs brokers arrested for bribery in 2008, only three will be prosecuted. The prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence to take the others arrested to trial.
Agreements and Treaties. Uruguay is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention; the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances; the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption; the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism; the Inter-American Convention Against Trafficking in Illegal Firearms; the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols; and the UN Convention against Corruption. It is also a member of the OAS Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) and in 2009 Uruguay held the presidency for the CICAD Money Laundering Experts Group. The USG and Uruguay are parties to an extradition treaty that entered into force in 1984, a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) that entered into force in 1994, and a Letter of Agreement through which the USG funds counternarcotics and law enforcement programs. Uruguay has also signed drug-related bilateral agreements with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Venezuela and Romania. Uruguay is a member of the regional financial action task force Grupo de Accion Financiera de Sudamerica (GAFISUD).
Cultivation/Production. Neither USG nor Uruguayan agencies have evidence of significant cultivation of illicit drugs in Uruguay, nor were there cases of marijuana cultivation this year. Production of cocaine is also rare, and unlike previous years, no processing labs were seized in 2009.
Drug Flow/Transit. Limited law enforcement presence along the borders, in the ports, and in the northern Uruguayan airspace make Uruguay vulnerable to drug trafficking by private vehicle, bus, small private airplanes, trucks, commercial aircraft flights, and containerized cargo. Colombian and Bolivian traffickers have smuggled cocaine into Uruguay by flying directly into remote regions from Bolivia, using make-shift airstrips located on foreign-owned residential farms. This practice currently continues and is being targeted by implementing radar systems in northern Uruguay. From Uruguay, narcotics are generally transported to Brazil for domestic consumption there or transshipped onward to Europe.
Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). Uruguay’s demand reduction efforts focus on prevention programs, rehabilitation, and treatment. In 2009, the National Drug Rehabilitation Center continued to train health care professionals and sponsored teacher training, public outreach, and other programs in community centers and clubs. This year Uruguay produced a new counternarcotics education program for adolescents that is taught in schools across the country. The interagency treatment and prevention program “Portal Amarillo” continued to serve as a primary outlet for addicts seeking help. It features drug rehabilitation clinics and a hotline, as well as services for both in-patient and out-patient drug users in northern Montevideo and in the Department of Maldonado. In a specialized program targeting prison populations, prison personnel and inmates were trained to develop, plan, and perform activities to reduce drug abuse. Uruguay continues to develop methods to track trends in drug use. In 2009, Uruguay completed a survey of drug use in youth populations, including secondary schools and prisons, and in 2010 they will undertake a survey of drug use in the general population. Those findings will allow them to better shape demand reduction programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. strategy is to prevent Uruguay from becoming a major destination for narcotics transit or processing. Although DEA does not have an office in Uruguay, the regional DEA office has provided support and guidance to Uruguayan authorities in both general operations and specific investigations. The regional Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office also provided training and support to officials in border areas and ports. USG assistance to the GOU in 2009 included support for demand reduction programs and narcotics interdiction operations, including provision of equipment and assistance with police training. USG programs also provided training in maritime law enforcement leadership, port security including container inspection, and border security training to the Uruguayan Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines. As part of the State Partnership Program, the Connecticut Air National Guard is providing technical assistance to the Uruguayan Air Force on radar integration, maintenance, operations and training.
The Road Ahead. With its National Plan Against Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering and the new legislation on organized crime courts and asset forfeiture, Uruguay has set the foundation for undertaking solid counternarcotics work. The counternarcotics police’s improving investigative capacity and international cooperation are further steps towards making Uruguay less attractive to drug traffickers. Regardless, Uruguay could enhance its drug control efforts further by investing more resources to update counternarcotics police equipment and enhancing its capability to provide specialized police training. The USG also encourages Uruguay to continue interagency and international cooperation in its counternarcotics efforts. In addition, we urge Uruguay to increase its counternarcotics efforts in the northern region to more effectively target drug traffickers. Uruguay has several dedicated demand reduction programs and we encourage the GOU to continue reaching out to youth and at-risk groups to stop abuse before it starts.
Uzbekistan is a geographically strategic crossroads between South Asia and Europe. It is primarily a transit country for opiates originating in Afghanistan, with an estimated 95 tons of Afghan opiates passing through Central Asia each year. Well-established trade routes facilitate the transit of these narcotics to Russia and Europe. Although the vast majority of these drugs will never reach U.S. soil, local drug trafficking ultimately affects the security of the United States by threatening the security of U.S. friends and allies. Throughout Central Asia, there are strong connections between narco-trafficking and terrorism. Extremist groups often use the profits of the drug trade to undermine, destabilize, and corrupt government institutions. The Government of Uzbekistan (GOU) has taken some independent steps to combat the narcotics trade but still relies heavily on multilateral and bilateral financial and technical help. Uzbekistan is slowly reengaging the international community, including the United States Government (USG), after a period of comparative isolation. In a major step towards more effective bilateral cooperation with the U.S., the GOU accredited a “Counternarcotics Affairs Office” (CAO) staffed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). However, greater efforts are needed to stem the flow of narcotics through Uzbek territory. Law enforcement officers seized approximately 1,820 kilograms of illegal narcotics in the first six months of 2009, with opiates accounting for almost 84 percent of seizures. Uzbekistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
As with many countries, illegal narcotics create serious social, health, and law enforcement problems in Uzbekistan. Dealing with these problems requires consistent and sustained efforts by the GOU and its international partners; the development of an integrated and comprehensive counternarcotics strategy will facilitate these efforts. On the positive side, counternarcotics issues have been attracting the attention of some high-level Uzbek officials, as press coverage raised the profile of the narcotics issue. Although there seems to be the political will to deal with local drug problems, implementation of programs is slow and bureaucratic. Uzbek law enforcement officers seem eager to work with their international counterparts, but they are not free to act without heavy political oversight. The GOU is showing signs of greater openness to bilateral and multilateral cooperation. However, without direct and regular access to Uzbek law enforcement components by Uzbekistan’s international partners, efforts to develop a counternarcotics strategy will suffer, and pursuit of joint investigations will be difficult at best. The newly reopened Counternarcotics Affairs Office seeks broad-based cooperation with all Uzbek law enforcement agencies, with a special focus on building Uzbek capacity to investigate and prosecute drug crimes.
There is no significant drug production in Uzbekistan, but several transshipment routes for opium, heroin, and hashish originate in Afghanistan and cross Uzbekistan for destinations in Russia and Europe. Seizures for the first half of 2009 increased by approximately seven percent compared to the same time period in 2008, according to official statistics. (Seizures in 2008 had increased by 54 percent in comparison with 2007.) Precursor chemicals have, in the past, traveled the same transshipment routes in reverse on their way to laboratories in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The accreditation of the Counternarcotics Affairs Office is just one signal of Uzbekistan’s increasing willingness to cooperate with international partners in its efforts to combat illegal narcotics. In 2009, Uzbekistan took important steps towards improving its counternarcotics capacity and law enforcement institutions by participating in international programs and taking advantage of training opportunities. Uzbek Customs officials developed a local canine (K-9) training center with assistance from the State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). In March 2009, Uzbek Customs officers participated in an INL-sponsored K-9 conference in Kazakhstan. Such training offers long-term benefits not only to Uzbekistan, but to the entire region—Uzbek officials have already begun to share their newly developed expertise with customs officials of neighboring countries. The Government of Uzbekistan also cooperates with neighboring countries through its participation in the Central Asia Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC), and the Border Management Assistance Program-Central Asia Border Security Initiative (BOMCA-CABSI) sponsored by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The UNODC continues to implement projects focusing on improvements in law enforcement, precursor chemical control, border security, and drug demand reduction. UNODC has reported that cooperation with Uzbek law enforcement agencies is steadily improving.
Uzbekistan continues to work toward the goals of the 1988 UN Drug Convention on combating illicit cultivation and production. The annual “Black Poppy” eradication campaign has virtually eliminated illicit poppy cultivation within the borders of Uzbekistan. In addition, the GOU has created counternarcotics task forces at airports and border checkpoints. However, efforts to achieve convention goals are still hampered by the lack of effective laws, programs, money, appropriate international agreements, and coordination among law enforcement agencies. For want of capacity to manage a sophisticated investigation into drug kingpins, the GOU focuses its law enforcement efforts almost exclusively on drug seizures and arrests of minor drug traffickers. The CAO hopes to work with the GOU to expand its capacity for conducting investigations and prosecuting crimes, providing comprehensive mentor support, training, and enhanced investigation intelligence.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Preliminary statistics provided by the GOU show that in the first half of 2009, Uzbek law enforcement seized a total of 1,820 kilograms of illicit drugs, a seven percent increase from the same period last year. Opium poppy straw accounted for 35 percent of the total, heroin for 28 percent, opium for 20 percent, cannabis for 15 percent, and hashish for about one percent. For the first six months of 2008 authorities reported 5,737 narcotics-related criminal cases, including 176 arrests for drug smuggling and 3,219 for drug distribution. During the first six months of 2009, Uzbekistan reported 4,712 criminal cases pertaining to narcotics, including 174 arrests for drug smuggling and 2,350 for drug distribution
Four agencies with separate jurisdictions have counternarcotics responsibilities: the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), the National Security Service (NSS), the State Customs Committee and the Office of the Prosecutor General. (The Ministry of Defense also plays a role in general border security.) The MVD concentrates on domestic crime, the NSS (which includes the Border Guards) handles international organized crime (in addition to its intelligence role), and Customs works at the border (interdiction/seizures at the border are also carried out by the Border Guards during their normal course of duties). The CAO intends to encourage broad-based cooperation among all of these law enforcement agencies. Despite the straight-forward delineation of responsibilities, a lack of intelligence sharing and operational coordination diminishes the effectiveness of counternarcotics efforts. The National Center for Drug Control was designed to minimize mistrust, rivalry and duplication of effort among the agencies, but the Center continues to have difficulty accomplishing this goal. In practice, its role is purely administrative; it synchronizes the statistics of the various agencies, but has no control over budget or policy decisions. However, the National Center for Drug Control readily shares data with the U.S. Government and other international entities. The NSS plays a pivotal role in the operations of all GOU agencies.
According to National Center reports, most smuggling incidents involve one to two individuals. Large, sophisticated “priority targets” are few, but there are many small, independent smuggling organizations operating between Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Poor border controls allow drug traffickers to cross between the countries with relative ease. Resource and legal constraints have limited the GOU’s ability to investigate these cases, and lack of training and equipment continues to hamper all Uzbek agencies. Basic necessities, even replacements for aging Soviet era equipment, remain in short supply or seem to the independent observer administratively difficult to obtain. Uzbekistan has relied heavily on international assistance from UNODC, the U.S., the UK, the EU, and others to supplement its own thinly-funded programs.
Corruption. As a matter of policy the GOU does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances. However, corruption is endemic at all levels of government, and the paying of bribes is an accepted practice. The scale of drug profits contributes to corruption throughout Central Asia. One of the principal obstacles to a sustained counternarcotics strategy is the presence of numerous corrupt officials throughout the counternarcotics system. Salaries of law enforcement officers are generally very low, and there are anecdotal accounts of customs and border officials supplementing their incomes by accepting bribes to ignore narcotics shipments. It is likely that some government officials are involved with narcotics trafficking organizations. Conspiracy laws in Uzbekistan are ineffective, and corruption cases usually target low or mid-level officers. However, the GOU is implementing anticorruption programs with the assistance of the international community. In one example, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) recently introduced an automated phone system which allows callers to anonymously report crimes; the recorded information that callers provide cannot be deleted by law enforcement officers or any other internal employees. With this program, the MVD aims to reduce corruption by making it more difficult for GOU employees to conceal crimes.
The Uzbek criminal justice system continues to suffer from a lack of modernization and reform, mainly judicial and procedural reform, and standards remain below international norms. The Uzbek criminal justice system is largely inherited from the Soviet Union. The Executive Branch and Prosecutor General’s Office are powerful entities, and the judiciary is not independent. The outcomes of court cases are usually predetermined, and conviction rates approach 100 percent. Prosecutions often rely on coerced confessions by the defendants, and conviction is typical even in the absence of evidence. Corruption at all levels of the criminal justice system is rampant.
Agreements and Treaties. Uzbekistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Uzbekistan is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime ad its protocol against trafficking in persons. In July 2008 Uzbekistan ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption, a development which should help long-term efforts to increase transparency. Uzbekistan has signed the Central Asian Counternarcotics Memorandum of Understanding with the UNODC. In 2006, Uzbekistan formally agreed to the establishment of a Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC) to coordinate information sharing and joint counternarcotics efforts in Central Asia, but is the only member country that has not yet ratified the CARICC agreement. Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan signed an agreement in September 1999 on cooperation in combating transnational crime, including narcotics trafficking. The five Central Asian countries, as well as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey, are members of the Economic Coordination Mechanism supported by the UNODC.
Cultivation and Production. Uzbekistan continues to work toward the goals of the 1988 UN Drug Convention on combating illicit cultivation and production within its borders. The annual “Operation Black Poppy” is one of the GOU’s counternarcotics success stories, having all but eliminated illicit opium poppy cultivation in Uzbekistan. Authorities log between 600-800 hours of flying time in the course of the annual operation. However, the operation is hampered by such basic problems as an aging helicopter fleet and lack of fuel for the helicopters. Officials have reported in the past that two of their three helicopters were grounded due to these problems.
Drug Flow/Transit. Several major transnational trade routes facilitate the transportation of opiates and cannabis from Afghanistan through Uzbekistan to Russia and Europe. The border crossing point at Termez remains a point of concern due to insufficient border control measures. However, a UNODC-implemented border security project at the road and rail crossing has resulted in improved control over the border crossing with Afghanistan, and an INL-funded UNODC project will focus on improving the control regime at the river port. Containers crossing the border from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan are generally not searched, and Uzbeks have requested scanning equipment to help ensure that contraband, including precursor chemicals, does not reach Afghanistan. The National Center and UNODC report that trafficking also continues along traditional smuggling routes and by conventional methods, mainly from Afghanistan into Surkhandarya Province and from Afghanistan via Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic into Uzbekistan. The primary regions in Uzbekistan for the transit of drugs are Tashkent, Termez, the Fergana Valley, Samarkand and Syrdarya.
Domestic Programs. According to the National Drug Control Center, at the beginning of 2009, there were 21,089 registered drug addicts in Uzbekistan, of which approximately 69 percent were heroin users. This represents a slight decrease from the number of registered drug addicts at the beginning of 2008. In contrast with the official statistics, the Ministry of Internal Affairs estimates there are 35,000 drug addicts in Uzbekistan. However, observers in the international community believe the official number of registered addicts is believed to reflect only 10-15 percent of the actual drug addicts in Uzbekistan; the actual number is probably over 200,000. Hospitals with drug dependency recovery programs are inadequate to meet the increasing need for detoxification and treatment, although the government is making an effort to open new treatment facilities. The Ministry of Health and National Drug Control Center have recognized the need to focus increased attention on the drug problem, but do not have sufficient funds to do so adequately. Drug awareness programs are administered in cooperation with NGOs, schools, women and youth groups, religious organizations, national radio, and the mahalla (neighborhood) support system. In 2007 UNODC completed an INL-funded drug demand reduction project that strove to create increased drug abuse awareness among school children, and additional INL funds have already been allocated for the second phase of this drug demand reduction project. A USAID drug demand reduction project is on-going, although only one USAID-funded youth center remains operational in Uzbekistan. This center has provided outreach and education to over 1,000 young people aged 15-25 since December 2008.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Building a strong counternarcotics strategy requires regional and international partners, funding, viable training, and a long-term commitment. A legal framework for bilateral cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United States already exists under the 2001 U.S.-Uzbekistan Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement Agreement and its amendments. These agreements provide for U.S. assistance to Uzbekistan to enhance the capability of Uzbek law enforcement agencies in their efforts to fight narcotics trafficking and organized crime. This assistance is most often provided in the form of technical assistance, training, and limited equipment donations. The new Counternarcotics Affairs Office (CAO) is in the process of assessing the current counternarcotics strategy, with the goal of developing a sound and comprehensive program that will foster bilateral relations and augment (but not duplicate) existing programs. In March of 2007, DEA was forced to temporarily suspend its operations in Uzbekistan when visas for DEA personnel were not renewed. However, in June 2009 the GOU accredited the CAO, which is staffed by DEA. A full-time Counternarcotics Liaison arrived in Uzbekistan in October 2009. The CAO will focus its efforts on strengthening Uzbek institutions and building the operational and investigative capacity of Uzbek law enforcement agencies. In particular, the CAO hopes to assist the GOU in establishing a centralized law enforcement database that would assist those agencies in their investigations and allow them to operate more effectively. The CAO will also encourage Uzbekistan to work more closely with its neighbors, including Afghanistan, to develop investigative intelligence targeting international drug, precursor, and money-laundering organizations.
The State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), with support from the Department of Justice Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), continues to support the GOU in its efforts to improve its forensics laboratories. This successful project, which aims to bring Uzbekistan’s forensic laboratories up to international standards, has included equipment donation, visits to U.S. laboratories, and visits to a conference for forensic scientists, prosecutors and judges. INL has also provided much-needed basic equipment to border guards in the crucial Surkhandarya Province.
The State Department’s Bureau of Export and Related Border Security (EXBS) increased its activities in Uzbekistan in 2009 as cooperation with the GOU improved. In April 2009, Uzbek officials from Customs and the Ministry for Foreign Economic Relations, Investment and Trade attended a course on International Export Control Policy at the University of Georgia Export Control Academy. The Customs and Border Protection agency of the Department of Homeland Security also conducted a successful joint International Rail Interdiction Training/International Border Interdiction Training with Uzbek Customs officials and Border Guards at the Termez border crossing in April. The Department of Energy International Nonproliferation Export Control Program (INECP) successfully conducted Commodity Identification Training (CIT) at the Uzbek Customs Academy in May. Uzbek officials participated in the Defense Threat Reduction Agency-North Atlantic Treaty Organization (DTRA-NATO) Advanced Training Course on Nonproliferation in October. The USG is also providing funding to repair and upgrade the Termez river port.
The Road Ahead. The U.S and Uzbekistan will seek to work together to control the flow of narcotics moving out of Afghanistan.
Venezuela is a major drug-transit country; flows of drugs to the United States, Europe and West Africa via Venezuela increased sharply in 2009. Venezuela continues to suffer from high levels of corruption and a weak judicial system. Inconsistent international counternarcotics cooperation and an increase in trafficking patterns through Venezuela enable a growing illicit drug transshipment industry. Venezuela has not signed the addendum to the 1978 U.S.-Government of Venezuela (GOV) Bilateral Counternarcotics Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was negotiated in 2005. Nevertheless, Venezuela continues some minimal bilateral counternarcotics cooperation with the United States. The decision by the United States and the GOV to exchange ambassadors in July 2009, following the September 2008 expulsion of the U.S. Ambassador from Venezuela, presents an opportunity to improve bilateral cooperation on counternarcotics and other issues that have been hindered by continuing tensions in the bilateral relationship. The President determined in 2009, as in 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005, that Venezuela failed demonstrably to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements. Venezuela is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
A permissive and corrupt environment in Venezuela, coupled with increased drug interdiction efforts in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, has made Venezuela one of the preferred routes for trafficking illicit narcotics out of South America. While the majority of narcotics transiting Venezuela move directly to the United States and Europe, a growing portion also flows through western Africa and then onwards to Europe. The trafficking of drugs has increased the level of corruption, crime, and violence in Venezuela.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. In 2009, the GOV initiated a new effort to combat the money laundering of drug proceeds by having its National Counternarcotics Office (ONA) conduct three training programs in money laundering awareness and investigative techniques for GOV law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Representatives from GOV tax, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies attended training seminars in Venezuela hosted by Spain and the Netherlands.
In September 2009, the GOV hosted the 19th Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA) for Latin America, organized by the United Nations (UN). Key topics included container security at shipping ports and the transit of narcotics from Latin America to Africa.
The GOV national counternarcotics strategy for “2008-2013,” which was slated to go into effect in January 2008, was renamed to “2009-2013,” but has still not been publicly released.
At least six of the ten radar systems purchased in 2007 from China to scan Venezuelan airspace for illegal drug transshipments have been installed.
Since the reduction of bilateral counternarcotics cooperation in 2005, the GOV has maintained limited counternarcotics cooperation with the United States. This cooperation has mainly involved informal information exchanges with remaining U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) representatives in Caracas, coordination of fugitive deportations from Venezuela to the United States and Colombia, and maritime interdiction with the U.S. Coast Guard. Venezuela’s Minister of Interior announced in July 2009 that police receiving training abroad without the Ministry’s approval would be banned from law enforcement and that foreign law enforcement experts giving talks in Venezuela without authorization would face arrest. This announcement has discouraged most professional law enforcement from participating in U.S. government-sponsored programs.
In 2005, the GOV stated that a renewal of bilateral counternarcotics cooperation depended on both parties signing an addendum to the 1978 U.S.-GOV Bilateral Counternarcotics Memorandum of Understanding. While the United States did not agree that the addendum was essential to ensuring appropriate counternarcotics cooperation, the United States reached agreement with GOV officials on a mutually acceptable version in December 2005. Despite repeated assurances from senior GOV authorities and agreement on two signing dates, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has not yet authorized the signing of the addendum to the MOU. The senior GOV officials who negotiated the addendum have since left their positions, and their successors have publicly stated that the GOV will neither sign a bilateral agreement nor cooperate with the United States on counternarcotics.
In March 2009, the GOV allowed representatives from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to meet with the Venezuelan Attorney General. The Attorney General asked for reciprocity in access for Venezuelan government representatives to conduct a similar visit to the United States. However, the GOV did not respond to a diplomatic note from the United States offering to facilitate such a visit.
Throughout 2009, the GOV’s Vice President and Minister of Interior both routinely accused DEA of running an international drug smuggling ring. President Chavez repeated the erroneous claim and also suggested that the U.S. military was involved. President Chavez also asserted that the United States permitted drug smuggling to “pacify” its population.
The lack of greater counternarcotics cooperation reflects the general chilling of bilateral relations over the past few years. Given the GOV’s refusal to expand cooperation, the President determined in 2009, as in 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005, that Venezuela failed demonstrably to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements.
The GOV did renew counternarcotics cooperation agreements with the United Kingdom in 2009.
Law Enforcement Efforts. According to the ONA, seizures of all illicit drugs within Venezuela increased from 40 metric tons in 2008 to 60.2 metric tons in 2009. This is still far below the 2005 peak of 152 metric tons when the United States and GOV cooperated fully in counternarcotics activities. In total, the GOV reported seizing 81 kilograms of heroin, 32.3 metric tons of marijuana, 27.7 metric tons of cocaine and 90 kilograms of bazuco and crack cocaine last year. The GOV does not permit the USG to confirm its seizures nor are other countries permitted to verify the destruction of seized illicit drugs. Moreover, these figures include seizures made by other countries in international waters which were subsequently returned to Venezuela, due to the seized vessel having Venezuelan registry.
Seizures of drugs transiting from Venezuela to other countries, including to the United States and the United Kingdom, rose steadily in 2009. The increase in third country seizures, including some multi-ton seizures, transpired despite the GOV’s limited counternarcotics cooperation.
Venezuelan counternarcotics commandos successfully raided more than 15 high capacity drug processing labs along the border with Colombia in 2009. Seizures of more than one metric tons of cocaine, destined for shipment via containers, were made in the ports of Puerto Cabello and La Guaira.
Venezuela cooperated with the U.S. Coast Guard in three maritime interdiction cases involving Venezuelan flagged vessels in 2009, two of the cases yielding over two metric tons of cocaine. In one of the cases, Venezuela waived jurisdiction to allow the U.S. Coast Guard to retain custody of one Colombian crewmember for U.S. prosecution.
The lack of effective criminal prosecutions, politicization of investigations, and corruption undermine public confidence in the judicial system. Seizures and arrests are usually limited to low-level actors. Walid Makled, Venezuela’s largest drug trafficker, remains a fugitive since the November 2008 raid on his farm.
Corruption. Public corruption continued to be an issue in Venezuela during 2009. There are regular press reports about Venezuelan security forces facilitating or being directly involved in drug trafficking, particularly the special counternarcotics units of the National Guard and the Federal Investigative Police. Even when seizures occur, the drugs are reportedly not always turned over intact for disposal, and the chain of custody for seized cocaine from prosecution to destruction is often incomplete.
Agreements and Treaties. Venezuela is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Venezuela and the United States are parties to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty that entered into force in March 2004. Venezuela is party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, and the UN Convention against Corruption. Venezuela is also 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 and is an active member of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD).
The GOV has also signed a number of bilateral agreements with the United States, including a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement and a 1991 Ship-Boarding Agreement updated in 1997 that authorizes the United States to board suspect Venezuelan-flagged vessels on the high seas. The continued unimpeded use of the ship boarding agreement remains important to Venezuela’s cooperation with the USG in counternarcotics matters.
While a 1978 U.S.-GOV bilateral Memorandum of Understanding concerning counternarcotics cooperation was signed, an addendum to extend the agreement has remained unsigned since 2005.
Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance. 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 its own nationals. Venezuelan authorities continue to selectively deport non-Venezuelan criminals to the United States or a third country. There have been cases where individuals deported from Venezuela to a third country have been successfully extradited from that third country to the United States. Although no formal extradition request had been made, the GOV, in coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, deported two fugitives sought by DEA directly to the U.S. in 2009.
Cultivation/Production. Some limited coca cultivation occurs along Venezuela’s border with Colombia, but the levels are historically insignificant. No reliable cultivation data was released in 2009 by the GOV. Operation Sierra, an eradication effort along the western frontier with Colombia, included elements of the ONA and Venezuela’s Bolivarian Armed Forces (FAB). The results of the eradication programs have not been released.
Drug Flow/Transit. The majority of illicit drugs transiting Venezuela are destined for the United States, Europe, and West Africa. Drug traffickers now routinely exploit a variety of routes and methods to move what the United States estimates to be hundreds of metric tons of illegal drugs on the Pan-American Highway, the Mata and Orinoco Rivers, the Guajira Peninsula, and dozens of clandestine airstrips. Illicit narcotics destined for the United States from Venezuela are shipped through the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Central America, Mexico, and other Caribbean countries. Narcotics destined for Europe are shipped directly to several countries in Europe, particularly to Spain, or are shipped through the eastern coastal waters and rivers of Venezuela, Guyana and the Caribbean to West Africa, notably Guinea and Guinea Bissau. Venezuelan traffickers have been arrested in The Netherlands, Spain, Ghana, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Grenada, Dominica, St. Lucia and other countries. In November 2009, the remains of a commercial 727 jet aircraft that departed Venezuela were discovered in the desert of Mali after allegedly delivering several tons of cocaine.
Traffickers continue to use private and commercial aircraft and maritime cargo containers, fishing vessels, and go-fast boats to move the narcotics to principal markets in the United States and Europe. According to the Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S), the amount of cocaine moving through Venezuela by private aircraft and maritime means increased from 54 metric tons in 2004 to approximately 143 metric tons in 2009, representing about 60 percent of the total volume of transshipments. Illegal armed groups in Colombia, including two U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), are linked to the most aggressive and successful drug trafficking organizations moving narcotics through Venezuela. The FARC and ELN are reported to have established the wherewithal in Venezuela to facilitate trafficking activities, to rest, and to evade Colombian security forces. Reportedly, some elements of Venezuela’s security forces directly assist these FTOs.
In an effort to combat the transit of narcotics through Venezuela, the GOV launched Operation Centinela (Sentinel) in 2009. This umbrella operation coordinated resources of Operation Boquete (Pothole) V-2009, designed to disable clandestine landing strips used for drug trafficking, and Operation Sierra, intended to destroy illicit coca and poppy cultivation in Venezuela. ONA reported that a total of approximately 40 airstrips were disabled, and also reported the seizure of four suspect aircraft in the state of Apure.
Demand Reduction. ONA continued the Planting Values for Life program, a comprehensive drug prevention initiative. By October 2009, more than 30,000 people had been trained as community drug advisors and 70 members of the business community had been trained for workplace programs to complement this program.
Since 2005, Venezuelan law has required that companies with more than 200 workers donate one percent of their profits to the ONA. ONA is then responsible for dispensing funds to demand reduction programs carried out by ONA-approved NGOs or to run their own programs. This represents a departure from how the program functioned under ONA’s predecessor organization (the National Commission Against Illegal Drug Use, or CONACUID), when companies made donations directly to CONACUID-approved NGOs, instead of to CONACUID.
ONA has been slow to certify NGOs involved in demand reduction, thereby hindering implementation of the 2005 law. Several NGOs, such as the Alliance for a Drug Free Venezuela, also claim to have been denied ONA certification for being linked to opposition political parties, while those NGOs receiving assistance from the United States have found it particularly difficult to receive ONA certification. Implementation has also been hindered by legal challenges to the requirement that funds be donated directly to ONA. Companies have postponed making donations, either to ONA or to NGOs, until the statutory requirement is clarified. Many NGOs have closed due to a lack of funding.
The GOV does not track statistics on drug abuse and treatment, with the exception of a 2005 ONA survey, which suggested that drug abuse among Venezuelan youth was decreasing. However, the accuracy of that survey is uncertain, and various NGOs report that drug abuse may be on the rise.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Cooperation with the GOV is restricted to the interdiction of vessels on the high seas and informal exchanges of information between DEA and ONA.
In 2007, the GOV said it would end the judicial sector’s participation in several U.S.-funded United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) programs, and indicated to the UNODC that the GOV would not participate in any programs receiving U.S. funds. However, in 2009, the GOV attended a judicial sector training seminar on money laundering developed with the technical support of UNODC. No further cooperation with the GOV was reported during 2009. While the United States continues to reach out to traditional counternarcotics contacts in the GOV, increasing support has been given to non-traditional partners, including NGOs involved in demand reduction and regional and municipal government anticrime and counternarcotics programs.
In November 2009, ONA informed U.S. officials of its intent to activate the U.S.-funded Container Inspection Facility (CIF) at Puerto Cabello. Completed in late 2006, the CIF was intended to provide a venue and equipment (forklifts, tools, and safety equipment) for Venezuelan authorities to unload and examine containers in a safe and protected environment. Embassy representatives attempted to assess the facility in April 2009 but were refused entry. However, they were alerted that USG-provided computers, forklift equipment, and other materials worth more than approximately $18,000 were missing from the locked facility.
A number of private Venezuelan companies are still enrolled in a private sector antismuggling endeavor called the Business Alliance for Secure Commerce (BASC) program. This program seeks to deter smuggling, including narcotics, in commercial cargo shipments by enhancing private sector security programs.
The GOV continues to cooperate with the United States to permit the boarding of Venezuelan-flagged vessels on the high seas that are suspected to be engaged in narcotics trafficking, although delays in response to requests for verification of nationality have sometimes resulted in lost opportunities. In cases of cooperation, the GOV asks to retain jurisdiction and does not share information on the final disposition of seizures made by the U.S. Coast Guard on Venezuelan-flagged vessels or the corresponding legal cases.
The Road Ahead. The United States is prepared to deepen cooperation with Venezuela to help counter the increasing flow of illegal drugs through that country. Cooperation could be improved if the GOV signed the outstanding bilateral counternarcotics MOU addendum, which would free up funds for joint counternarcotics projects. Illicit trafficking from Venezuela could be curbed if the GOV made operational the Container Inspection Facility (CIF) at Puerto Cabello. Bilateral cooperation could also be improved by returning a Venezuelan liaison officer to JIATF-South in Key West, Florida. These steps would increase the exchange of actionable intelligence, help to dismantle organized criminal networks, and aid in the prosecution of criminals engaged in trafficking. In addition, the GOV is encouraged to agree to an International Shipping and Port Security visit by the U.S. Coast Guard to conduct an assessment of its major seaports. The last assessment was conducted in 2004, but the GOV has denied repeated attempts by the U.S. to discuss port security.
The Government of Vietnam (GVN) continued to make progress in its counternarcotics efforts during 2009. Specific actions included: sustained efforts of counternarcotics law enforcement authorities to pursue drug traffickers; increased attention to interagency coordination; continued cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); increased attention to both drug treatment and harm reduction; continued public awareness activities; and additional bilateral cooperation on HIV/AIDS. Operational cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Hanoi Country Office has improved, but further progress is still needed in order to achieve significant results. Vietnam is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Trafficked drugs included heroin, opium, cannabis and Amphetamine Type Stimulants ATS (methamphetamine and ecstasy). Police also reported the emergence of crystal methamphetamine (ice) on local markets. Various types of ATS manufactured in Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Burma and Thailand were smuggled into Vietnam for local consumption. No specific data for 2009 is available on the total amount of illicit drug crop cultivation; however, estimates suggest that opium poppy cultivation remains sharply reduced from an estimated 12,900 ha in 1993, when the GVN began opium poppy eradication. Cultivation in Vietnam probably accounts for only about one percent of the total cultivation in Southeast Asia, according to law enforcement estimates. Official UNODC statistical tables no longer list Vietnam separately with major drug production countries in drug production analyses. Small amounts of cannabis are reportedly grown in remote regions of southern Vietnam. Prior to 2008, DEA had no evidence of any Vietnamese-produced narcotics reaching the United States nor was Vietnam a source or transit country for precursors. However, more recent information indicates that precursor chemicals and Ecstasy are beginning to be shipped from Vietnam into Canada for eventual distribution in the United States. The dual use chemical, Safrole, (sassafras oil from which ecstasy can be produced) is not produced in Vietnam, but it is imported into Vietnam for re-export under controls to third countries. The potential for diversion of sassafras oil into clandestine ecstasy production remains an area of concern. In 2009, the GVN continued to view other Golden Triangle countries, primarily Burma and Laos, as the source for most of the heroin supplied to Vietnam. GVN authorities are particularly concerned about rising ATS-Amphetamine-type Stimulants use among urban youth. The Standing Office on Drug Control (SODC) reports an increase in ATS seizures. The GVN has also expressed concern about increased amount of drugs being smuggled into Vietnam and the number of foreign criminals involved in drug cases. During 2009, the GVN continued enforcement and awareness programs that it hopes will enable Vietnam to avoid a youth synthetic drug epidemic. Resource constraints in all aspects of narcotics programs are pervasive, and GVN counternarcotics officials note that, as a developing country, Vietnam will continue to face resource constraints for the foreseeable future, despite annual budget increases for counternarcotics efforts.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives. The structure of the GVN's counternarcotics efforts is built around the National Committee on AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Control (NCADP), which includes 18 GVN ministries and Communist Party affiliated organizations as members. In addition, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), as NCADP's standing member, has a specialized unit to combat and suppress drug crimes, and the Standing Office for Drug Control (SODC) under the MPS is responsible for assisting the Minister of Public Security, as the Vice Chairman of NCADP, in advising the Government on development and multi-sector coordination of drug control policies. The SODC also maintains an information unit for collecting and maintaining data on drug trafficking and other drug-related crimes. At the end of 2009, the SODC office underwent a restructuring and its purview had been expanded to include the issues of human trafficking and crime. In June 2008, the National Assembly passed a revised Law on Amendment and Supplement to the Law on Drugs Prevention and Control, which delineates in more detail the responsibilities of law-enforcement authorities, including police, border army, maritime police, and customs, in preventing drug use and controlling drug supply. The law also stipulates that HIV harm reduction activities to be consistent with the HIV/AIDS Law of 2006. The new law came into effect in January 2009, with implementation ongoing throughout the year. In June 2009, Vietnam amended Penal Code article 199 to decriminalize the use of drugs and to bring Vietnamese law in line with a more health care centered approach to drug use. Previously, a conviction for simple drug use, as opposed to drug selling or trafficking, would have resulted in a prison sentence of two to five years, now drug users face administrative punishments such as fines or placement into a drug rehabilitation center.
The Government placed the counter-narcotics issue high on its agenda, and has established a National Drug Control Target Program that aims to improve Vietnam's legal system and policies, build drug control capacity, and streamline and reform interagency drug control coordination. The Program also seeks to increase the involvement of civil society in drug control and promote international cooperation. Although the SODC declined to share specific budgetary numbers, it did report the three main sources for counter-narcotic activity continue to be national and local- level government funding and INGO funding.
The GVN continues to emphasize drug awareness and prevention and views education and demand reduction as integral parts of its effort to comply fully with the 1988 UN Drug Convention. During 2009, many provinces and cities continued to implement their own drug awareness and prevention programs, as well as demand reduction and drug treatment. The GVN continued to rely heavily on counternarcotics propaganda, culminating in the annual drug awareness month in June 2009. Officially sponsored activities cover every aspect of society, from schools to unions to civic organizations and government offices. In 2009, the GVN continued its ongoing effort to de-stigmatize drug addicts in order to increase their odds of successful treatment, and to help control the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Law Enforcement Efforts. MPS reported a crackdown on 312 drug storage sites in 2009. There were 14,237 drug cases, 866 more than the previous year, with 21,086 people arrested for involvement in drug smuggling. The GVN has expressed a growing concern about the rise in the number of foreign national involved in drug smuggling in Vietnam. As of September 2009, 60 cases involved foreign nationals, including individuals from Thailand, Taiwan, China and Laos. In four major international drug smuggling cases this year, police arrested 28 suspects, including 17 of African origins.
SODC reports that as of September 2009, total seizures included 280 kg of heroin, 60 kg of opium, 500 kg of cannabis, 700,000 ATS tablets, 1 kg of ketamine, and 800,000 tablets and 8,000 ampoules of addictive pharmaceuticals. Drug laws remain very tough in Vietnam, with a mandatory death penalty for possession or trafficking of 600 grams or more of heroin, or 20 kg of opium gum or cannabis resin. According to media reports in 2009, of the 58 individuals sentenced with the death penalty in Vietnam, 14 of them were for drug trafficking. Drug crimes were often connected to money laundering and other crimes such as robbery, homicide, firearms trafficking, counterfeit trafficking and human trafficking. Foreign law enforcement sources do not believe that major trafficking groups have moved into Vietnam; however, Vietnamese law enforcement authorities have raised the issue of West African crime syndicates establishing a presence in Vietnam. U.S. law enforcement officials report that West African criminal organizations are utilizing Vietnam as an operational center to coordinate the trafficking of Southeast and Southwest Asia heroin. Additional information revealed that West African criminal organizations in Pakistan are also recruiting couriers, many of whom are Vietnamese nationals, to traffic heroin from Pakistan to Vietnam and to China through Vietnam.
Foreign law enforcement representatives in Vietnam state that operational cooperation on counternarcotics cases is limited largely due to legal prohibitions and policy restrictions that largely preclude Vietnam's drug enforcement authorities from sharing information and supporting bilateral investigations with foreign police agencies. However, there is some operational cooperation on a case-by-case basis. While changes in Vietnamese law are necessary to provide a legal and procedural basis for more comprehensive, systematic cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies, U.S. law enforcement agencies noted that agency-to-agency agreements have made cooperation on individual cases easier. During 2009, cooperation between GVN law enforcement authorities and the DEA remained consistent with the experience in 2008, with counternarcotics police sharing only basic investigative information on a case-by-case basis.
Corruption. As a matter of GVN policy, Vietnam does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No information known to U.S. law enforcement agencies specifically links any senior GVN official with engaging in, encouraging or facilitating the illicit production or distribution of drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Nevertheless, a certain level of corruption is consistent with the fairly large-scale movement of narcotics into and out of Vietnam and is likely occurring both among lower-level enforcement personnel and higher-level officials. The GVN demonstrated a willingness to prosecute some corrupt officials on narcotics related offenses, although most of the targets were relatively low-level.
Agreements/Treaties. Vietnam is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Vietnam has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
Vietnam ratified the UN Corruption Convention on June 20, 2009. Vietnam issued a statement saying it would not be held to item 2, Article 66 of this convention. This item stipulates that if disputes on the explanation and application of the convention cannot be solved by negotiation or arbitrators, members have the right to bring the case to the international private law court. Vietnam also stated to it would not adhere to some optional regulations, such as criminalizing illegal money-making acts, corruption in the private sector, the use of special investigative techniques, which Vietnamese laws do not cover. In addition, Vietnam does not consider this convention as a direct legal foundation for the extradition of corruption-related criminals; extradition must be based on Vietnamese laws.
In February 2004, the United States signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the Government of Vietnam on Counternarcotics Cooperation to facilitate U.S. Government funded counternarcotics programs in Vietnam. On November 16, 2006, DEA and MPS signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate cooperation, including information sharing, coordinated operations, and capacity building. DEA and MPS anticipate extending the MOU for three more years.
Cultivation/Production. During the 2008-2009, authorities nationwide detected and destroyed 45 hectares of poppy plants, primarily in the border provinces of Son La, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Lai Chau, Lang Son, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Ha Giang and Dong Nai, and 1 hectare of marijuana. No specific data for 2009 is available on the total amount of illicit drug crop cultivation; however, estimates suggest that opium poppy cultivation remains sharply reduced from an estimated 12,900 ha in 1993, when the GVN began opium poppy eradication. According to the MPS, some marijuana growers were beginning to use hydroponic equipment to cultivate the drug in hidden locations, such as basements. There have been some recent confirmed reports that ATS and heroin have been produced in Vietnam. Local ATS production relies on ATS powder brought from outside the country, which is then processed into pills. GVN law enforcement forces have seized some ATS-related equipment (i.e., pill presses). As part of its efforts to comply fully with the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the GVN continued to eradicate poppies when found and to implement crop substitution. There were, however, some reports of drug refining and trafficking in heroin among hill tribes along the border with Laos.
The SODC reported that in 2009 teams were sent to provinces to visit import enterprises of controlled chemicals that may be used for drug production and determined most of the organizations visited did not have strict enough control systems in place to prohibit these imports from being diverted and used for illegal drug production.
Drug Flow/Transit. U.S. and foreign law enforcement sources along with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) believe that significant amounts of drugs are transiting Vietnam. Drugs, especially heroin and opium, enter Vietnam from the Golden Triangle via Laos and Cambodia by land, sea and air, making their way to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, either for local consumption or transshipment to other countries such as Australia, Japan, China, Taiwan and Malaysia. An increasing two-way drug trafficking between Vietnam and China was noted; narcotic drugs and ATS from China to Vietnam, while heroin from the northwest border area was smuggled inside Vietnam before transporting to China. Traffickers in major drug cases reported to police investigators that heroin was trafficked to China to supply drugs for local consumption. Heroin was also trafficked from Cambodia to Vietnam. Law enforcement detected Taiwanese traffickers and overseas Vietnamese in Australia smuggling drugs into Vietnam before transporting them to Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Drug trafficking by air was conducted through Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat airport.
The Vietnam Marine Police reports that only a small portion of Vietnam’s drug cases involve trafficking by sea. However the quantity of drugs transported in a single sea-trafficking case is typically larger than those coming by land or air. Most of the cases seen by the Vietnam Marine Police involve drugs intended for transshipment; rarely are shipments intended for distribution in Vietnam. International traffickers have been using temporary import forms at Vietnamese seaports to use the country as a go-between for international drug smuggling. The Marine Police report that drugs are coming mainly from Afghanistan and Pakistan for onward transport to China and Australia.
The ATS flow into the country during 2009 continued to be serious and not limited to border areas. ATS can now be found throughout the country, especially in places frequented by young people. ATS, such as amphetamine, ecstasy, and especially "ice" methamphetamine (crystal methamphetamine), and other drugs such as diazepam and ketamine continue to worry the government and rank with heroin and cannabis as the most popular drugs in Vietnam. Such drugs are most popular in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other major cities. During 2009, numerous cases involving ATS trafficking and consumption were reported in the media.
Drug traffickers have become more sophisticated in recent years and today transport drugs by air, land, sea, and post; employ modern hi-tech communication equipment; change mobile phone sim cards; and enlist drug users, pregnant women, children, and HIV-infected people as couriers and retailers. U.S. and foreign law enforcement sources estimate that 85 percent of drug traffickers were former convicts, HIV-infected and drug addicts. 70 percent of traffickers are between18 and 35 years of age and as many as 25 percent of traffickers are female. Traffickers engaged in violence, and in many instances fought back against law enforcement.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Several ministries undertake demand reduction activities, which include the distribution of hundreds of thousands of counternarcotics leaflets and videos, and organized counternarcotics painting contests for children. The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) carries out awareness activities in schools. Counternarcotics material is available in all schools and MOET sponsors various workshops and campaigns at all school levels. The UNODC assesses GVN drug awareness efforts favorably in preventing abuse, but considers these efforts to have minimal impact on the existing addict and HIV/AIDS population.
Stigma and discrimination against injecting drug users (IDU) in Vietnam – exacerbated by historical campaigns characterizing drug use as a "social evil" – have made it difficult to obtain accurate IDU population size estimates and to expand access to needed services. The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) reports 180,000 officially "registered" IDU nationally, while SODC reports 146,731 officially registered drug users at of the middle of December 2009, a decrease of 26,872 individuals from 2008. The actual size of this population is estimated by U.S. and international organizations to be many times higher. In addition, using even the most conservative estimates of population size, coverage of basic prevention services remains low, though it has consistently improved overtime. According to a recent report from MOLISA, an estimated 35,000 injecting drug users are being detained in 100 government-run rehabilitation centers, with HIV infection rates estimated at over 60 percent in some facilities.
Vietnam strives to integrate addiction treatment and vocational training to facilitate the rehabilitation of drug addicts. MOLISA reports that approximately 54,000 drug users received treatment, more than 10,000 received vocational training, and approximately 6,000 received basic education. SODC reports that 36 provinces and cities have organized detoxification and rehabilitation for more than 40,000 drug addicts and provided vocational training for more than 4,000 drug addicts and facilitated 150 jobs. These efforts include tax and other economic incentives for businesses that hire recovered addicts. Despite these efforts, only a small percentage of recovered addicts find regular employment.
HIV/AIDS is a serious and growing problem in Vietnam and distinctive because the behaviors of injecting drug users drive transmission. Ministry of Health reports 243,000 HIV cases in the country, a figure considered accurate by both the UNAIDS and the USG. More than 40 percent of known HIV cases are injecting drug users, with many additional infections resulting from transmission to the sexual partners and children of these individuals. The Vietnamese National Strategy for HIV Prevention and Control presents a comprehensive response to HIV, including condom promotion, clean needle and syringe programs, voluntary counseling and testing and HIV/AIDS treatment and care.
Vietnam was designated the 15th focus country under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2004. The USG FY09 funding, $88.5 million, is distributed through PEPFAR agencies such as USAID, HHS/CDC, and the U.S. Department of Defense. The majority of USG support targets seven provinces (Hanoi, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, An Giang and Nghe An), where the epidemic is most severe; however, PEPFAR also supports HIV counseling and testing and community outreach for drug users and sex workers in 30 additional provinces. U.S.-led innovations, such as the provision of medication-assisted therapy (including treatment with methadone) are highly regarded by the government and the international community. The USG currently supports the Vietnam government’s pilot medication-assisted therapy program at six sites in two provinces. The program will then expand coverage to additional provinces with the highest prevalence of addiction.
The Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT) program for IDU is currently operational in three sites in HCMC and three sites in Hai Phong, with plans to expand the program to Hanoi by the end of the calendar year 2009. The concentration of HIV infection in IDU populations in Vietnam has spurred the PEPFAR program to focus HIV prevention, care, and treatment efforts in these key urban settings and along drug transport corridors to prevent the continued spread of HIV.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. United States policy objectives in counternarcotics cooperation in Vietnam are aimed at improving bilateral cooperation in counternarcotics enforcement and assisting Vietnam to expand the capacity of its counternarcotics law enforcement agencies. The DEA Hanoi Country Office pursues direct cooperation with the Counternarcotics Department of MPS on counternarcotics cases and engages in some capacity-building efforts through funding GVN participation at international events and conferences, as well as conducting some basic training activities. Between April and June, DEA sponsored training for 50 officers from the MPS, Vietnam Marine Police, and MPS Riverine Police Units in the Hai Phong Port area and in the Southern Mekong Delta area of Tien Giang Province. The training, which was funded and carried out by the Joint Interagency Task Force West (JIATF-W), covered tactical training, emergency medical training, and small craft maintenance and technical training. DEA also carried out a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City in September, training approximately 30 Vietnamese Police officers on drug smuggling techniques and interdiction skills. Additionally, DEA and JIATF-W are working with MPS on an infrastructure support project involving the construction of a joint training facility in Vinh, Vietnam. The International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok, in cooperation with the Thai Government, provides law enforcement training to Vietnamese officers each year on a range of counternarcotics related courses, training approximately 6 Vietnamese students per course, with a total of approximately 100 Vietnamese officers trained per year. The USG also provided port security and vulnerability assessment and container inspection training to Vietnam.
The Road Ahead. The GVN is aware of the threat of drugs and Vietnam's increasing domestic drug problem. However, there is a guarded approach to foreign law enforcement assistance including in the counternarcotics arena. During 2009, as in previous years, the GVN made progress with on-going and new initiatives aimed at the law enforcement and social problems that stem from the illegal drug trade. The GVN continued to show a willingness to take unilateral action against drugs and drug trafficking, and requested assistance from foreign law enforcement organizations, albeit on a case-by-case basis. Vietnam still faces many internal problems that make fighting drugs a challenge, including a lack of resources, corruption, and a need for increased capacity amongst its law enforcement entities. With the 2006-2010 National Plan of Action on Drug control ending in 2010, Vietnam will be developing its next five-year strategy in early 2010. This plan will determine the counter-narcotics priority for the government for the next five years as well as any resource allocation for this effort.
While USG-GVN operational cooperation is on the rise, such cooperation will remain limited until Vietnam develops of a legal framework to allow involvement of foreign law enforcement officers in law enforcement investigations on Vietnamese soil, or the signing of a bilateral agreement between the United States and Vietnam to create a mechanism for joint investigations and development of drug cases. The November 2006 Memorandum of Understanding between DEA and the MPS is a first step in this direction, but this non-binding understanding directly addresses law enforcement cooperation on a case-by-case basis and only at the central government level.
Zambia is not a major producer or exporter of illegal drugs, nor is Zambia a significant transit route for drug trafficking. Cannabis is the only illicit drug that is locally cultivated, primarily by small-holder farmers. It is consumed locally and exported regionally and to Europe. Zambia’s Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) reported a large increase in the number of cannabis seizures in the first nine months of 2009 and, for the first time in the past four years, reported seizures of cannabis plants and seeds. Seizures of other drugs were minimal. The DEC works closely with other Zambian law enforcement and health agencies and has a record of good cooperation with the U.S. Government. As is true of the Zambian government generally, the DEC is hampered by a lack of resources and capacity. Zambia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Based on narcotic seizures and rehabilitation program participation, cannabis is the most commonly consumed drug in Zambia. Consumption of more expensive drugs remains relatively low because their cost is beyond the means of the majority of Zambian citizens. Other drugs that are abused in Zambia include heroin, cocaine, and kyat. According to the DEC, pharmaceuticals such as diazepam, morphine, and phenobarbital are also occasionally used for recreational purposes.
Apart from small-scale cultivation of cannabis, Zambia is not a source of illegal drugs. Subsistence farmers grow cannabis from the cannabis sativa plant. Most of this production is exported regionally, although some cannabis is also transported by air to European countries, including the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. There are no reports or indications of synthetic drug production in Zambia.
Although Zambia is not an important route for drug shipments or a source of precursor chemicals, it has been a transit point for minor amounts of cocaine, raw opium, and heroin. Zambia is also a transit route for small amounts of ephedrine, which is used to manufacture methamphetamine drugs, which are destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola. Locally consumed cocaine is imported from DRC and Angola, whereas khat and heroin are imported from Tanzania. The DEC reports that cocaine transshipping from Angola has increased in 2009.
The DEC has reported an increase of all drugs, including ephedrine, coming into the country to be “warehoused” in advance of the 2010 Soccer World Cup to be held in South Africa, but its information appears to be primarily anecdotal, and it has not reported a commensurate increase in drug seizures.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs During 2009
Policy Initiatives. In addition to cannabis eradication, DEC programs focus on outreach and education, officer training, drug demand reduction, and money-laundering investigations. Zambia also monitors transshipment points and shares information on drug control efforts with its neighbors through Joint Permanent Commissions on defense and security.
In 2008 the DEC began expanding its presence in rural areas. It currently has 519 officers in offices in all nine provinces, with the intention of deploying counternarcotics officers and establishing DEC branches in all 72 districts. In addition to interdiction and eradication activities, the provincial and district offices conduct outreach to primary and secondary schools and education campaigns to farmers on crop substitution and the dangers of cultivating cannabis.
In collaboration with public health institutions, the DEC provides counseling and rehabilitation programs to treat and prevent drug abuse. Although an increasing number of Zambians are participating in these programs, drug treatment and rehabilitation remains a small part of the DEC’s activities. The Commission has not conducted a nationwide survey to ascertain the extent of narcotics abuse . Trained DEC officers from the National Education Campaign Division (NECD) provide counseling, and treatment and admission is managed by health professionals, hospitals and clinics throughout the country. Zambia currently has no dedicated drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities. In 2006, the government provided land seized from a cannabis grower to the DEC to construct a rehabilitation center, but has not yet provided the funding for construction.
As is the case for most Zambian Government agencies, the DEC’s efforts are hampered by a lack of funds for training and equipment.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The DEC leads Zambia’s efforts to meet the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Almost all of the DEC’s interdiction effort is related to cannabis. Between January and September 2009, the DEC arrested and prosecuted 2,283 people for various illicit drug offenses resulting in 806 convictions.
Through September 2009, the DEC seized over 33 metric tons of cannabis, compared with 32 metric tons in calendar year 2008. Three metric tons of cannabis plants and 33 kilograms of cannabis seed were also seized during this period. The DEC attributes the increase to a refocus of its manpower to interdiction efforts and to a program to reward citizens who inform the DEC of drug cultivation and sales activities. In the same 2009 time period, the DEC reported seizures of 295 kilograms of khat and de minimus amounts of cocaine, heroin and Ecstasy.
Law enforcement officers are also authorized to confiscate licit drugs that are transported in large quantities without adequate permits. These include diazepam (valium), diphenylhydramine (benadryl), bromazepam, lidocaine, and lorazepam. Some medical practitioners have complained that these enforcement efforts are restricting the availability of pharmaceuticals for legitimate medical purposes.
Corruption. The Zambian Government is focused on strengthening its lead anticorruption agency, the Anti-Corruption Commission, and in October 2009 disbanded the Task Force on Corruption, which had been formed to prosecute cases of corruption by high-level officials. Although the DEC has played a role in the anticorruption campaign, these efforts have had no direct impact on narcotics control. No evidence has emerged to suggest that current government officials are involved in the production or trafficking of drugs, although several members of parliament, including the government chief whip, have previously been implicated in allegations of drug trafficking. The Zambian Government does not encourage drug trafficking or the laundering of the proceeds of drug trafficking as a matter of government policy.
Agreements and Treaties. Zambia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Regional agreements include the Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC) protocol on combating illicit drug trafficking and the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation. Zambia is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption. A 1931 extradition treaty between the United States and the UK governs extraditions from Zambia.
Cultivation and Production. Cannabis is the only illicit drug that is locally cultivated. It is used domestically and is exported regionally and to Europe.
Drug Flow/Transit. Some heroin enters Zambia from Tanzania, and some South American cocaine enters Zambia from Angola and the DRC. The DEC reported an increase in cocaine from Angola in the first nine months of 2009.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. Government provides training assistance to Zambian law enforcement agencies, including the DEC. In 2009, the U.S. government continued to sponsor law enforcement officers, including officers who are active in narcotics control, at the International Law Enforcement Academies in Gaborone, Botswana and Roswell, New Mexico.
The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to seek opportunities to assist Zambian drug control efforts, and to work together with Zambian authorities on drug cases affecting both countries.