Country Reports - Honduras through Mexico

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
March 3, 2011


Honduras is a major transit country for drugs, primarily cocaine, destined for the United States. Its geographical location, limited resources, and weak law enforcement presence in under-policed areas of the Atlantic coast make Honduras vulnerable to drug trafficking organizations (DTO) operating from South America and Mexico. These groups use the remote northeastern region known as La Mosquitia and other isolated sites as transit and storage areas. Marijuana is cultivated in Honduras almost exclusively for domestic consumption. Honduran police have not detected any cocaine or heroin processing laboratories in the country.

2010 was primarily a rebuilding year for counternarcotics efforts, due to the political crisis which followed the June 28, 2009 coup d’état and continued until the January 27, 2010 inauguration of President Porfirio Lobo Sosa. The United States suspended assistance during this period, while the de facto regime reassigned Honduran armed forces and law enforcement resources from counternarcotics duties. Even before the political crisis, drug traffickers had increased their use of Honduran air, land, and maritime routes, and this upward trend continued into 2010.

Since restoration of constitutional order in Honduras, U.S.-Honduran joint counternarcotics efforts have resumed, and the Lobo administration has supported counternarcotics cooperation. Efforts by the Government of Honduras (GOH), in conjunction with U.S. law enforcement agencies, directly addressed the air, land and sea drug transshipment through the country. This resulted in some increases in interdictions of illegal narcotics, precursor chemicals bound for North America and illicit bulk cash shipments bound for DTOs.

While the prosecution of drug cases by the Public Ministry remains weak, a symptom of systemic deficiencies in the criminal justice system, collaboration with U.S. law enforcement on trafficking cases is improving. Honduras is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

The United States Government (USG) resumed active counternarcotics cooperation with the GOH following the January 27 inauguration of President Porfirio Lobo Sosa. The Lobo administration has worked through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), formerly part of the Merida Initiative, to develop a plan of action for counternarcotics operations, strategy, and security sector development in Honduras. The U.S. Mission and GOH have developed a set of institutional changes, including the establishment of a financial crimes task force to investigate and prosecute narcotics and other financial crimes; agreement to create a GOH Joint Counternarcotics Operations Center; and expansion of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) vetted joint anti-narcotics unit. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) established a vetted police unit as well as developed a vetted gang unit under the auspices of Operation Community Shield to combat trans-national gangs. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) worked with local government actors on participatory crime prevention plans, establishing Outreach Centers in high risk communities and expanding vocational and workforce development opportunities for at-risk youth.

The GOH put in force a revised asset forfeiture law on July 5, and a U.S.-Honduran interagency working group has begun developing procedural guidance to fully implement the law. The financial crimes task force, a joint special investigation and prosecution unit, will be the primary method of investigating and pursuing asset forfeitures. In December, an emergency provision related to the seized asset law allowed the distribution of over $8 million in U.S. currency to various government agencies.

The Honduran Armed Forces drafted a proposed interagency counternarcotics strategy, and commenced refurbishing air assets in support of the plan. The Secretariat of Security, which oversees the Honduran National Police (HNP), drafted a long-term plan of action for strengthening the capacity of the HNP to combat transnational crime. The plan involves the expansion of the police information and analysis center (CEINCO) to serve as the national Joint Information Center for intelligence-driven investigations, including counternarcotics. Once this plan is enacted, these initiatives will derive additional funding support from the asset forfeiture process, creating a sustainable GOH approach toward improved counternarcotics efforts in the future. The GOH has sought international donor nation guidance and support in implementing this combined plan.

As part of its overall national police reform plan, the Security Secretariat reconstituted its vetted border police unit, a program that had been previously disbanded despite numerous successes from 2004-2006. Members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Border Patrol Tactical Unit began retraining Honduran border police to conduct improved land-based interdictions.

The Security Secretariat continued work on an expanded polygraph unit within CEINCO. Although the United States agreed to resume support for vetting and training that was suspended after the coup, the HNP has not yet put forward a list of nominees for training.

Honduras has counternarcotics agreements with the United States, Belize, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela, and Spain. Honduras is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol. The major public maritime ports are in compliance with International Ship and Port Facility Security codes. Honduras is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. A U.S.-Honduras maritime counternarcotics agreement entered into force in 2001 and a bilateral extradition treaty is in force between the United States and Honduras, though the Honduran Constitution prohibits the extradition of its nationals. Honduras signed the Caribbean Regional Maritime Counter Drug Agreement, but has not yet ratified it. A Declaration of Principles was signed between the United States and Honduras on December 15, 2005 for the Container Security Initiative, which involves the inspection of maritime cargo destined for the United States.

2. Supply Reduction

Transshipment of illegal drugs through Honduras is facilitated by direct air flights from South America (particularly Venezuela), maritime vessels and the Pan-American Highway, which crosses southern Honduras. Various estimates place Honduras as one of the primary landing points for South American cocaine. Air tracks continued to proliferate in 2010. The Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) recorded 75 suspect air flights into Honduras during the year, compared with 54 in 2009 and 31 in 2008. These flights were increasingly concentrated in La Mosquitia. Shipments arriving from South America were then broken down into smaller loads for onward transit. Honduras is also a key transshipment point for bulk cash being smuggled from North American drug markets to South American producers. In 2010, a new trend arose in Honduras in which suspect flights returned with bulk cash loads to South America. Previously, planes tended to be burned on arrival.

Honduras is not a production center for drugs, except for marijuana grown primarily for domestic consumption. Marijuana is grown in isolated fields hidden in rugged mountainous terrain in the departments of Yoro and Francisco Morazan in central Honduras; Colon along the Caribbean coast; Olancho in eastern Honduras; and in the western departments of Copan and Santa Barbara.

In 2010, the GOH seized 6.134 metric tons (MT) of cocaine, 2,704 stones of crack cocaine, 1.222 MT of marijuana, 29.75 million pseudoephedrine pills, and 12 kilograms of bulk pseudoephedrine. Additionally, the GOH arrested 539 persons for drug-related offenses, and seized cash valued at over $9 million in U.S. currency. The Honduran National Police seized $7,547,000, in a single operation at the San Pedro Sula airport on October 31, in collaboration with the DEA. These figures include seizures of Honduran vessels in territorial and international waters, and represent slight decreases in cocaine seized (6.6 MT in 2009), slight increases in marijuana seized (923 kg in 2009) and persons arrested (529 arrests in 2009), and major increases in the seizure of pseudoephedrine (2.8 million pills in 2009) and bulk cash ($671,641in 2009) over the previous year. The GOH also destroyed two illicit airfields in the Department of Olancho as a result of joint USG-GOH investigations.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Poverty, unemployment, and the lack of economic development continue to be the primary factors for drug use, especially among youth in Honduras. Alcohol and inhalants remain the most commonly abused substances. According to the Honduran Government’s Institute for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction and Dependency, drug use is on the rise, and a majority of Hondurans between the ages of 15 and 19 have tried some kind of illegal drug -- cocaine, in particular.

The Community Policing division of the Honduran National Police conducts drug awareness and prevention programs in schools using the DARE model, and, in 2010, educated 6,608 students through their program. The HNP has worked closely with the U.S. Embassy to obtain updated DARE materials for 2011 and adapt the curriculum to local Spanish. Two Community Police Unit instructors attended the 2010 DARE International Training Conference in the United States. GOH drug treatment programs have been dependent on international donor assistance, most of which was suspended following the June 2009 coup. USG assistance resumed in January 2010, when the new administration took office.

The new asset forfeiture law provides that a portion of the distributions from forfeited assets will be used to support drug prevention and rehabilitation programs. Specifically, Article 78(7) provides that 10 percent of the distributions from forfeited assets will be directed to programs and centers that work on drug prevention and rehabilitation of youth with addiction problems. No seized assets have been directed towards this purpose yet, as no implementation plan has been adopted for the law.

4. Corruption

As a matter of policy, the GOH does not facilitate or encourage illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances. However, corruption within the Honduran government and its law enforcement elements presents obstacles to counternarcotics efforts. While law enforcement authorities made numerous arrests related to drug trafficking, prosecution rates remained low for all crimes and few convictions have been made, in part due to corruption at all levels of the prosecution process.

The Security Secretariat staffed and provided expanded facilities for the National Directorate of Internal Affairs (DNAI), which was created by the 2008 Police Organic Law. This body investigates police misconduct and reports directly to the Secretary of Security. In 2010, the DNAI initiated over 88 prosecutions of police for criminal misconduct in an effort to combat corruption and abuse in the National Police. Ten police officers arrested in July 2009, members of the Anti-Narcotics Group of the National Directorate of Criminal Investigation, remain in custody at a police facility. There still is no date set for preliminary hearings and the cases remain open.

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

The primary vehicle for implementing U.S.-Honduran policy on counternarcotics is the bilateral Merida/CARSI Task Force, co-chaired by the President of Honduras and the U.S. Ambassador. The Task Force convenes quarterly to oversee and direct coordination on a broad range of security sector efforts, including counternarcotics operations and strategy.

Through the task force, eight working groups were established to address specific security sector issues in depth: Criminal Investigation and Prosecution Capacity; Anti-Gang Operations; Community Development and Prevention; Financial Crimes and Asset Forfeiture; Counternarcotics Operations and Strategy; Border Security; La Mosquitia; and Human Rights. These eight sectors represent the major GOH priorities for combating transnational crime and narcotics trafficking, developed in close coordination with the United States. The working groups are also responsible for joint counternarcotics planning, including for the financial crimes task force.

The GOH and USG collaborate on joint counternarcotics operations regularly, and the GOH has supported expansion of these joint operations and the institutions that carry them out in order to increase efforts to combat trafficking. All the successful seizures of narcotics and related bulk cash smuggling in Honduras in 2010 were a result of this collaborative effort.

The Lobo Administration has made the reduction of illicit air tracks into Honduras a public priority. While maritime trafficking is believed to constitute the bulk of narcotics flow through Honduras, air tracks are the most visible sign of the drug traffickers’ autonomy in remote areas, especially La Mosquitia. To reestablish government control over such areas, the Honduran interagency has been developing its capacity and planning toward a major effort to interdict and interrupt illicit air tracks by 2011. At the same time, the U.S. Embassy and GOH have developed a comprehensive strategy for partnering, prevention and interdiction in the remote northeastern region through the La Mosquitia working group. This strategy will prioritize improved access to government services, including health and education, in addition to interdiction efforts.

The Security Secretariat continued to focus on improving the prison system and dismantling criminal organizations working from within the penitentiaries. The Secretariat funded the construction of a maximum security wing at Tamara Prison, which will allow for segregation of the most serious offenders from the general prison population. Budgetary challenges delayed the opening of the unit during the year, but the final stages of construction resumed by year’s end.

D. Conclusion

The Lobo Administration inherited a severely limited ability to combat illegal trafficking when it took office in January. The GOH has nevertheless made significant efforts to rebuild the collaborative counternarcotics effort with the United States. By late 2010, joint counternarcotics efforts saw increased success. Furthermore, expansion of vetted investigative units, GOH prioritization of prison reform, plans for building up institutional structures to combat illegal trafficking, and implementation of an asset forfeiture law all point to greater cooperation and domestic Honduran counternarcotics capacity in the future. However, the challenges posed by corruption and an extremely limited budget persist, and additional institutional changes must be made for Honduras to successfully eject both foreign and local traffickers.

Hong Kong

Poppy cultivation is non-existent in Hong Kong, but authorities have uncovered indoor-grown marijuana operations. While illicit manufacturing of synthetic drugs is rare, authorities occasionally discover small-scale crack cocaine processing sites. As a high-volume and highly efficient financial and transportation center, Hong Kong remains attractive as an occasional transit point for drugs and for management of drug transactions occurring elsewhere. Local enforcement efforts and alternative regional air and sea ports, where controls are less rigorous, reduce the possibility of Hong Kong becoming a major transshipment point for drugs. Increased cocaine seizures in 2010, including a record 372 kilogram seizure, were credited to determined law enforcement efforts, but also indicative of rising demand for drugs in Hong Kong and the region, particularly demand for cocaine. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has identified non-traditional trafficking routes involving Hong Kong as a final destination, such as South American cocaine transported via the Middle East to Hong Kong, as an issue of concern. Another concern is the use of non-ethnic Chinese couriers through Hong Kong.

Ketamine poses the greatest threat to Hong Kong, with its use predominantly associated with young people. Heroin is the second greatest drug threat and most popular among older abusers. According to local authorities, young abusers prefer drug inhalation over injection and reject the traditional stigma associated with heroin use. Cocaine is fast becoming Hong Kong’s third greatest drug threat. Arrests for trafficking and possession of both small and large quantities of cocaine have increased steadily. This supports the theory that a portion of recent large cocaine seizures was destined for a local and growing market where cocaine is exceedingly expensive.

Hong Kong Police Force/Narcotics Bureau and Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department/ Drug Investigation Bureau are the primary drug law enforcement agencies with the mission to suppress drug trafficking and control precursor chemicals. These agencies collaborate with Hong Kong-based U.S. law enforcement personnel, and routinely conduct joint operations with PRC counterparts to combat cross-border illicit drug smuggling.

Latest available data indicate that Hong Kong authorities seized: 42 kilograms of ketamine, 21 kilograms of cocaine, 17 kilograms of heroin, 0.83 kilograms of methamphetamine and 0.23 kilograms of marijuana in the first quarter of 2010, compared to 22 kilograms of ketamine, 22 kilograms of cocaine, 21 kilograms of heroin, 9 kilograms of methamphetamine and 0.77 kilograms of marijuana seized in 1Q2009. Their were also two large seizure of cocaine the 372 kg seizure mentioned above and another of 481 kg, but both of these seizures occurred later in 2010, not during the first quarter of the year.

Hong Kong actively participates with the World Health Organization, Financial Action Task Force, Interpol, and the World Customs Organization to combat narcotics trafficking, related money laundering, and drug abuse. Upon resuming exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, the PRC advised the UN Secretary General that the 1961 Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention applied to Hong Kong.

In 2010, the Hong Kong Government continued its anti-drug use campaign, including pledging $390 million U.S. to its “Beat Drugs Fund”, a government initiative established in 1996 with a capital base of $4.5 million for anti-drug community efforts, education, and treatment. Since 2004, the Hong Kong Narcotics Division has disseminated its anti-drug message through the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust-funded Drug Information Centre, via TV and radio broadcasts, internet films, and widely-disseminated posters and printed materials. Recognizing schools as important platforms to combat youth drug abuse, the government launched a six-month School Drug Testing trial program in December 2009, which has been extended an additional year, and also pledged manpower increases for social work services at all secondary schools to support identified or self-reported drug users.

The Hong Kong Government neither encourages nor facilitates illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, or other controlled substances, nor the laundering of related proceeds. There were no reports of official involvement in narcotics trafficking or related money laundering in 2010. The Independent Commission Against Corruption, which reports directly to Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, enforces anti-corruption in Hong Kong.

Three agreements bolster U.S.-Hong Kong bilateral law enforcement cooperation: a Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Agreement (MLAA), an Agreement for the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders, and an Agreement for the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. Hong Kong law enforcement entities, among the most effective in the region, continue to collaborate closely with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in day-to-day enforcement, intelligence sharing, and training. Proceeds from joint U.S.-Hong Kong counter-drug investigations are routinely shared.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is neither a major narcotics production center nor a major illicit drugs transshipment point. The Hong Kong Government continues to be a committed partner in the war against drugs. Evidence of this commitment includes renewed pledges by senior Hong Kong officials, including Chief Executive Donald Tsang in his annual policy address October 2010, to continuing vigorous law enforcement, which led to recent record drug seizures, and for the government’s determination to prevent drug use through school drug testing and support for the “Beat Drugs Fund”.


A. Introduction

India is strategically located between Southwest Asia (the Golden Crescent) and Southeast Asia (the Golden Triangle), the two main sources of illicit opium and other narcotic drugs. The country's geographic location makes it an attractive transshipment area for heroin bound for Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and North America. In addition, India is authorized by the international community to produce licit opium for pharmaceutical uses. Licit opium is grown, and harvested using the poppy incising method, in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Some percentage of this licitly produced opium is diverted to illicit uses. Illicit opium production also occurs in northern India in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. India has a large chemical industry, estimated to be the third-largest worldwide, and produces all of the major chemical precursors for illegal drugs such as acetic anhydride (AA), ephedrine, and pseudoephedrine, and is also an emerging manufacturer of licit opiate-based psychotropic pharmaceuticals (LOPPS) and synthetics. These items are destined for licit sales in such markets as the Middle East, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, but are vulnerable to diversion through such methods as internet sales. Licit and illicit manufactured opiate psychotropic pharmaceuticals are often diverted in small quantities to the U.S. as illegal "personal use" shipments. India is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments/ Policies and Trends

1. Institutional Development

India has a stringent Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPSA) which was last amended in October, 2001 and which is designed to fulfill India's treaty obligations under the 1988 UN Drug Convention. India is also a signatory to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. India has signed but not yet ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. In March 2010, the GOI approved for ratification the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (also called the Palermo Convention), and India is in the process of completing the necessary formalities.

While the GOI continues to tighten licit opium diversion controls, the capacity of India's drug law enforcement personnel to collect and analyze intelligence data and to initiate and conduct complex investigations of criminal drug trafficking and other sophisticated/organized crimes remains limited by lack of training and equipment. The Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) has a mandate to monitor India's licit opium production and prevent diversion, but is poorly equipped to fulfill that mandate. This inability has lead to an increase in diversion and similar inadequacies in other Indian Government agencies charged with enforcement have contributed to the growing cultivation of illicit opium in certain isolated locations.

India has an elaborate licensing regime to control dual use (licit/illicit) pharmaceutical products and is clearly in compliance with international control requirements for these products.

2. Supply Reduction

The Government of India (GOI) estimates that roughly 10 percent of licit opium production is diverted for illicit heroin production, primarily for local consumption and for the production of crudely refined "brown sugar" heroin. Ten percent diversion of the 2009 licit opium crop would have been a diversion of 52.4 MT of opium gum; some foreign and Indian officials conjecture that the rate of diversion from licit cultivation could be as high as 30 percent, which would be a diversion of 157 MT of opium gum.

Licit opium poppy cultivation in India is a labor-intensive and geographically dispersed industry, which is inherently difficult to control. Both the CBN and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) stress the strictness of the Indian licensing and control system. India is the only country that permits the legal extraction and export of opium gum rather than poppy straw concentrate. Poppy straw concentrate is less prone to diversion. The CBN organizes and supervises the licit cultivation of opium poppy, deciding on the quantity of opium it intends to purchase and expected yield per hectare. After the harvest, the CBN collects opium gum from farmers and operates two processing centers (in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh) where the opium is purified, dried, weighed and packaged for export or partially refined to supply to Indian pharmaceutical companies.

Diversion may occur when properly licensed and harvested fields yield more opium than the Minimum Qualifying Yield (MQY) set by the CBN, and if the unreported excess is sold into the illicit market or if cultivators make false claims that their licensed fields are not harvestable and then sell their harvests illicitly. While farmers who submit opium above the MQY are paid a premium, sales made on the illicit market often have a higher profit margin than sales made to the CBN.

Crop Year

No. of licensed cultivators

Area licensed in hectares

Area harvested in hectares

Opium production in metric tons at 70% consistency































* Estimated

The 2010 INCSR reports that in 2007 and 2008, India was the world's number one exporter of ephedrine (221.2 MT and 189 MT respectively). It seemed to be on course to retain that role in 2010, with 10 month export figures showing India in first place worldwide by a large measure. In 2008, India was also the world's number one exporter of pseudoephedrine (462.8 MT). According to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), traffickers are now targeting India as the primary source for diverted ephedrine and pseudoephedrine to be used in the illicit production of methamphetamine. Despite GOI control efforts, India has been identified in some law enforcement cases as a source of such precursors destined for illicit methamphetamine labs in Mexico.

Some examples of recent Indian enforcement actions: In October 2010, an illegal factory in Maharashtra was raided and 93 kg of ephedrine was seized, and another October raid at an illegal factory in Gujarat netted 238 kg of ephedrine. Two people were arrested in the Maharashtra raid and six were arrested in the Gujarat raid. In September, Mumbai NCB intercepted a truck at Thane, India and seized 61 kg of hashish. Three Indians were also arrested.

In August 2010, the NCB seized two operational methamphetamine laboratories in Mumbai, India. In an effort to reduce the possibility of any illicit methamphetamine from this lab being smuggled from India, NCB executed four additional search warrants; two on the laboratory locations and two on separate residences. The NCB seized multiple kilograms of methamphetamine, amphetamine, suspected powdered/bulk ephedrine, suspected pseudoephedrine hydro-chloride powder, multiple liters of methamphetamine base, over 15 additional precursor chemicals and chemical processing equipment including laboratory equipment. Five Iranian nationals, three Indian nationals, one Dutch national, and one Columbian national were arrested.

The NCB also destroyed illicit cultivation of poppy and cannabis in Situ. In May 2009, 276 acres of illicit opium poppy cultivation was detected and destroyed in Jammu. Illicit poppy cultivation totaling 5,238.87 acres was also destroyed in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. UNODC reports that in 2008, illicit poppy cultivation totaling 1,542 acres was eradicated across India, down from 19,768 acres eradicated in 2007 through a series of joint law enforcement eradication operations.

India is also one of the world's largest clandestine methaqualone producers. Methaqualone (Mandrax) in pill and bulk form is mainly trafficked to South America and South Africa.

The table below outlines total drug seizures made in India during the period of 2003 through December 2009. (Note: The reporting period for 2003-2007 was equivalent to the calendar year. The reporting period for 2008 was April 2008 through March 2009. The reporting period for 2009 was April 2009 through December 2009).

Name of Drug

Total kg seized in India 2003

Total kg seized in India 2004

Total kg seized in India 2005

Total kg seized in India 2006

Total kg seized in India 2007

Total kg seized in India 2008

Total kg seized in India 2009

























Ganja (Marijuana)






















2, 382


Acetic Anhydride (ltrs)








Precursor Chemicals

















n/r = not reported

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Figures from the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) indicate drug abuse in India is on the rise. Their records indicate that of the over 53,000 individuals who present themselves for treatment annually at the center, opiate abusers accounted for 22% of patients in 2000 but 42 percent of patients in 2009. India often quotes an official figure of 70 million users nationwide, however this figure is based on one national survey conducted in 2000-2001 and published in 2004. At the time of that study, the most commonly abused drugs were marijuana, hashish, opium and heroin, and women and children were omitted from the study. The new World Drug Report (WDR) 2010 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) describes the growing abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) along with prescription drugs in India. The abuse of these drugs during the 2000-01 national survey was too small to merit scrutiny.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) has a three-pronged strategy for demand reduction, consisting of building awareness and educating citizens about drug abuse, dealing with addicts through counseling and treatment programs, and training volunteers to work in the field of demand reduction. In July 2008, a National Consultative Committee on De-toxification and Rehabilitation (NCCDR) was created to advise Central and State governments on methods to reduce drug demand. In response to the publication of UNODC's New World Drug Report 2010, which indicated increasing drug abuse in developing countries and the growing abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), the MSJE began working on the first-ever national policy on prevention of substance abuse. The new policy will include more awareness training in medical colleges and schools, increased vigilance on social networking sites, periodic surveys on drug abuse, increased monitoring of pharmacists, drug demand reduction as a public health policy, a shift in treatment from detoxification and rehabilitation to longer-term substitution therapy, and more sensitive treatment of patients in de-addiction centers.

4. Corruption

In December 2005 India signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption (the Merida Convention), and the GOI has taken steps at both the policy and law enforcement level to limit corruption. Since 1964, India has had an independent statutory body, Central Vigilance Commission, which issues guidelines and conducts inquiries to address government corruption. The CVC reports to the President of India through the parliament. Despite this, Transparency International's Bribe Payers Index in 2008 ranked India as one of the five highest ranked countries where bribes had to be paid.

Although the GOI central government provides guidance and support, India's 28 states and seven union territories have the primary responsibility for maintaining law and order, and investigating such crimes as corruption. Corruption in police forces at all levels of government is pervasive, with officers frequently acting with impunity and rarely being held accountable for illegal actions. Officers found to have participated in such illegal activity as bribe solicitation were often simply transferred to a new post. While the law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, in practice many officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. This undermines the effectiveness of even the most elaborate control regimes for dangerous drugs. Neither the GOI nor any senior government official as a matter of policy encourages or facilitates drug trafficking.

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

India is party to the UN Drug Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988, and cooperates with global and regional organizations. India has entered into bilateral agreements with several countries including the U.S. on cooperation in drug related matters. India's Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) complies with all of its international responsibilities under these agreements and treaties. India actively participates in such precursor control arrangements as Project Cohesion and Project Prism, and issues pre-export notifications for export of precursors using an online system developed by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). Law enforcement agencies in India continue to exchange lead information on a regular basis with drug law officers based at embassies in India, and they continue their extensive cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). India has conducted a number of joint operations against illicit internet pharmacies with DEA, and five significant large-scale conspiracies were detected and dismantled during 2006-2008. Since 2004, the U.S. and GOI have had a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement.

D. Conclusion

India is a drug transit country due to its strategic location between the drug producing regions of the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent. India is the world's largest producer of licit opium and the only authorized user of the gum method of opium production for pharmaceutical preparations. This method of production is appropriate for India’s labor-rich economy, but is intrinsically harder to police from efforts at diversion. Precursor chemicals and other controlled substances are also diverted, as well as licit pharmaceutical preparations and prescription drugs containing psychotropic substances. India has become a hub of drugs sold through illegal Internet pharmacies and the misuse of courier services, despite constant efforts by governments at all levels to combat this sort of crime. India is increasing its efforts at training of its national enforcement officers, and is vigorously exploiting opportunities for international cooperation in an effort to improve the effectiveness of both its demand and supply control efforts.

According to the respected periodical “India Today”, drug use in India has undergone a demographic and social shift during the last decade which could result in a public health disaster. Use of cocaine and heroin is declining globally, and use of alcohol, opium, and cannabis- the traditional drugs in India- are giving way to synthetic drugs such as Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) and prescription drugs, which are easily attainable and can be both bought and sold over the counter, via the Internet, and transported via courier. The emerging drug abusers in India are young, affluent professionals, beneficiaries of India's recent rapid economic growth, using chemicals to stay awake longer or feel relaxed. With seventy percent of India's population below 35 years of age, the potential number of substance abusers is very large.


A. Introduction

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, continues to face challenges in combating drug production, trafficking, and internal drug use. Although Indonesian drug enforcement efforts appear to have contained the threat from industrial-scale domestic methamphetamine laboratories that were prevalent as recently as 2008, Indonesian law enforcement continues to view methamphetamine as the country’s main drug threat. Mainly syndicates that export from Thailand, China, Iran, and Malaysia supply the drug.

Although the majority of the methamphetamine supply originates from smuggling activities, small clandestine labs also actively manufacture the drug domestically. Purity levels of domestically produced methamphetamine, however, are still not as high as the imported variety. Other narcotics produced domestically are cannabis and MDMA/ecstasy. Aceh is the nation’s hub for cannabis production. There is also an increased threat posed by heroin, as indicated by increased reports of heroin seizures nationwide.

Indonesia has a large internal demand for methamphetamine and ecstasy. Both drugs, when smuggled into Indonesia, typically transit Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, or Thailand. Recent trends also show an increased influx of the drug, ketamine, mainly from India. A recent study estimates total drug users in Indonesia at approximately 3.6 million people, out of a population of 234 million, an increase of nearly 13% over last year’s estimate. Rehabilitative services and alternative sentencing provisions have not kept pace with this growth in drug use. As a result, most narcotics users serve time in prison, a group estimated at 65% of the total prison population, contributing to a prison system that is underfunded and overcrowded.

Indonesian narcotics law enforcement has made significant strides in coordinating its investigations with counterparts worldwide. Indonesian drug enforcement also continues to work closely with DEA. As further commitment to its stance against drugs, the Indonesian Government has joined the rest of ASEAN in pledging to make Indonesia drug free by 2015. Nevertheless, Indonesia faces the ongoing challenge of building the capacity of its premiere drug enforcement agency, BNN (National Narcotics Board). Deployment of BNN assets to areas near the Malacca Straits continues to be a challenge. Malacca’s extensive coastline and inadequate border security arrangements open the area to drug trafficking by syndicates based in Malaysia and other regional countries. Indonesia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Indonesia’s has increased the coverage and stringency of its narcotic laws. The new laws, impose harsher penalties on drug trafficking. The amended laws also elevate the categories of certain narcotics from lower schedules (Schedule II and III), where the penalties are limited to administrative fines and revocation of business license, to dangerous narcotics schedules (Schedule I), where the penalty is imprisonment and even capital punishment.

At the same time, the revised laws establish mitigating circumstances, notably for minors and first time drug offenders. For example, the new law allows Indonesian courts to order minors and first time drug offenders to mandatory drug rehabilitation instead of prison. The addition of a rehabilitation option to sentencing in drug cases has created a surge in requirements for drug rehabilitation facilities and staffing with BNN leading the efforts. However, until funding for drug rehabilitation facilities catches up with provisions of the new law, most first time drug offenders are likely to spend time in Indonesian prisons, the majority of which are not equipped to handle this specialized population. The new amendment also establishes BNN as a non-ministerial government entity that is no longer subordinate to the Indonesian National Police (INP), and reports directly to the Indonesian President. Further, the law grants BNN law enforcement authority, thereby, authorizing BNN investigators to initiate and conduct investigations, subpoena witnesses in court, and arrest and prosecute suspects in drug cases. BNN is still required to coordinate with INP in drug investigations. Additionally, due to staffing shortages, BNN borrows resources from INP’s pool of detectives for their investigations. BNN’s enhanced role and expansion has created a surge in the organization’s staffing, training, and facility requirements. To meet these demands, BNN is on an aggressive campaign to recruit and expand its staff.

2. Supply Reduction

Supply reduction efforts coordinated and led by BNN, focus on methamphetamine, cannabis, MDMA/ecstasy, ketamine, and cocaine. Heroin is likely to become an increasing focus of supply reduction activities.

While there was a 50 percent decrease in heroin and cocaine smuggling cases in 2010, there was a 30 percent increase in methamphetamine smuggling cases. Most foreign drug smugglers caught with methamphetamine originate from Iran, where they acquire the drug. Once in Indonesia, methamphetamine can command a street value 10 times its cost. Within the past year, Indonesian authorities have foiled multiple drug smuggling attempts by Iranian nationals. In May 2010, a BNN delegation traveled to Iran to meet with counterparts to discuss measures to curb the flow of drugs from Iran to Indonesia. BNN also continues to disrupt and dismantle clandestine domestic methamphetamine laboratories. Earlier efforts by enforcement have seemed successful against ATS Mega-labs, but the smaller labs prevalent now are even more difficult to detect.

Cannabis is cultivated mainly in the Aceh region of Indonesia and transported in bulk by heavy trucks via Sumatra’s main highway. Cannabis is consumed primarily in metropolitan areas, such as Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali. To access these areas, drug syndicates transport cannabis from northern to southern Sumatra via roadway, then across the Sunda Straits. Harvesting of cannabis in Aceh occurs year-round due to the region’s ideal growing conditions. On May 28, 2010, authorities discovered 3.5 tons of cannabis while investigating a collision involving the vehicle transporting it. Most discoveries and seizures of marijuana by law enforcement are coincidental. Regional Narcotics police state they are in need of training and more experience in highway drug interdiction techniques. The Singapore DEA office has addressed this requirement by supplying training courses in FY11 to counter the drug threat in Aceh and North Sumatra.

Ketamine, a veterinary anesthesia, taken by young people because it induces LSD-like hallucinations, dominates the nightclub circuit. Ketamine, which is legal in India for veterinary use, is increasingly diverted into Indonesia for the illicit market. The growing importance of ketamine in Indonesia is supported by more frequent and higher-volume ketamine seizures. Jakarta law enforcement reported that ketamine is, at times, more readily available in nightclubs than ecstasy. Jakarta law enforcers assessed that the market has been flooded with faux MDMA/ecstasy (Nimetazepam/Erimin/“Happy Five”), which has led consumers to resort to ketamine as an ecstasy alternative for its hallucinogenic effects. As recently as 2007, Indonesian authorities did not report on ketamine abuse, highlighting the rapidity of its penetration into the domestic abuse market during the past three years

Cocaine is viewed as a niche drug in Indonesia, trafficked in small quantities, for use by Westerners at tourist destinations, and wealthier Indonesians at metropolitan party circuits. Recent reports, however, suggest that drug syndicates may be attempting to market cocaine to a wider market. Earlier this year, law enforcement officials arrested two Indonesian nationals in South America for attempting to smuggle kilogram-quantities of cocaine. From mid-2009 to the present, law enforcement investigations have implicated six Indonesian couriers for involvement in cocaine smuggling from South America. BNN, with DEA’s assistance, continues to conduct an international investigation into these cocaine arrests to determine if they indicate a major trend or represent merely isolated incidents. BNN also suspects involvement of West African drug distribution networks in Indonesia in cocaine smuggling operations. With the recent reports of Indonesians drug couriers in South America, Indonesian law enforcement remains concerned that a step-up in cocaine trafficking may be in store for Indonesia in the years ahead.

Indonesia’s BNN Chief is concerned that inadequate maritime security in, Indonesia's coastal areas opens the country up to drug smuggling, with the Batam Islands in Riau Province noted as a major transit point for drug smuggling. Trafficking syndicates employ increasingly sophisticated resources to conduct their drug smuggling operations. DEA Singapore Office has responded with a counter-narcotics technological training program and enhanced capabilities to target high-level drug distribution networks.

BNN fears that traffickers might also begin taking a keen interest in the Miangas Islands area. Miangas is Indonesia’s northernmost island, directly bordering the Philippines, and falls under the administration of North Sulawesi Province. Miangas is closer in proximity to the Philippines than to Manado, North Sulawesi’s main city. Miangas is four hours by boat from the nearest coastal area of the Philippines. In contrast, Miangas is 18 hours by boat from Manado. To raise public awareness and deter drug trafficking activities on Miangas, BNN conducted anti-drug campaigns through its 2010 Miangas Caring Action Program. Raising public awareness in Miangas of the danger of transnational drug trafficking was important to BNN and part of its agenda to commemorate Indonesia’s International Anti-Drug Day on June 26, 2010.

Following are national statistics on drug types and amounts seized from January to July 2010:




16,326 kilograms=16.3 MT


15.1 kilograms


78 grams


52 grams


244,728 pills


188.4 kilograms

Meth (liquid)

5,000 ml=5 kilograms

BNN’s most recent statistical reports paint a troubling picture of drug use and trafficking in Indonesia, particularly for methamphetamine. According to the report, national use of Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) has increased. The increased discovery of smaller clandestine ATS laboratories further confirms Indonesia’s shift from a consumer of ATS to a supplier and manufacturer of ATS, at least for the growing domestic market.

BNN statistics also show a threefold increase in the methamphetamine cases brought to court from 2006 to 2009 -- from 2531 cases in 2006 to 7543 cases in 2009. Similarly, there has been an increase of ATS-related arrests from 4077 in 2006 to 10,046 in 2009. In contrast, there has been a decrease in MDMA/ecstasy cases, from 2381 cases in 2007 to 1375 cases in 2009. Statistics also show a slight decrease in MDMA/ecstasy arrests from 1452 arrests in 2007 to 1422 arrests in 2009.

3. Drug Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

A recent study conducted by BNN and the University of Indonesia estimated total drug users in Indonesia at approximately 3.6 million people, or about 1.5 percent of the Indonesian population. Most drug users in Indonesia reside in larger cities.

BNN estimates the amount of money spent every year in Indonesia for the consumption of narcotics and dangerous substances at upwards of $2.2 billion. For 2010, BNN projects that the Indonesian economy will suffer losses of about $41 billion due to drug abuse. This figure is projected to rise in successive years to $46 billion in 2011, $51 billion in 2012, and $57 billion in 2013.

Within the 2010 economic loss numbers, the misuse of methamphetamine accounts for the greatest loss, to the tune of $5.51 billion. Marijuana and its derivatives account for a loss of $2.37 billion, heroin $2.31 billion, and MDMA/ecstasy $1.98 billion. East Java, Central Java and the Special District of Jakarta suffer the most from economic losses due to meth abuse.

BNN has introduced several supply reduction programs, such as livestock farming in Aceh, to replace the illicit cultivation of marijuana in the region. The program offers local farmers higher profit margins if they substitute livestock farming for marijuana cultivation. Given the prevalence of marijuana production in Aceh, law enforcement struggles to eradicate marijuana crops, due to corruption and the provincial authority’s lax attitude regarding marijuana abuse.

4. Corruption

Indonesia has made progress in combating official corruption, primarily through a growing body of laws and the efforts of its Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). However, the KPK’s focus on high-level targets may limit its impact in fighting corruption linked to narcotics trafficking and smuggling. Additionally, vested interests seek to weaken the KPK’s anti-corruption mandate and capabilities, and some anti-corruption watchdogs believe these efforts have weakened the institution. In perhaps the most flagrant example of these attempts, an investigation into two of the KPK’s vice-chairmen on allegations of bribery appears now to be based on fabricated evidence. How Indonesia resolves this case will likely affect KPK’s efficacy in the future.

As a matter of government policy and practice, Indonesia does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or the laundering of proceeds from illegal transactions. Nevertheless, corruption at all levels of government and society is endemic, and the pervasiveness of corrupt practices poses a significant threat to the country’s counternarcotics strategy. This threat exists along the entire law enforcement chain, from police to prosecutors to judges and prison officials.

While counternarcotics laws have been strengthened, Indonesia police and prosecutors remain susceptible to official corruption due to low wages. The prevalence of judicial middlemen, often referred to as the “judicial mafia”, further undermines the integrity of the judicial process. These middlemen, who have direct links to prosecutors and judges, can “fix” a case for the appropriate fee. Furthermore, corrupt police and investigators reportedly abuse their authority by conducting illegal searches, as Indonesian courts will admit evidence obtained without a warrant. On occasion, police have initiated investigations solely as a means for soliciting bribes from suspects. Corrupt prosecutors in narcotics cases reportedly request bribes for a reduction in charges with defense attorneys serving as facilitators.

Even when narcotics offenders receive stringent prison sentences, rampant corruption within the prison sector facilitates the ongoing use, distribution, and trafficking of illicit substances from prison. In September 2010, investigators revealed the disruption and dismantling of an organized narcotics ring in a high-security prison on the island of Nusa Kambangan, often referred to as the “Alcatraz of Indonesia.” Investigators implicated three suspects on charges of methamphetamine distribution. All of the suspects had been sentenced to life imprisonment for prior narcotics offenses, and investigators believe the ring had been in operation for at least six months before it was detected.

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

Indonesia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol. Indonesia is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its two Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling.

BNN has worked to implement appropriate strategies to make Indonesia drug free by 2015. In August 2010, BNN entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Rural Development to support the eradication of cannabis production while also supporting crop substitution efforts. BNN also collaborates with civil society organizations and charitable foundations to raise public awareness of the dangers narcotics pose to Indonesian society. Finally, if budget constraints lessen, 2011 may see increased diversion of first-time narcotics users to rehabilitation programs, easing the burden on already overcrowded prisons.

In 2011, DEA will officially open the DEA Jakarta Country Office (JCO) to include Country Attaché, Special Agent, Intelligence Research Analyst and Administrative Assistant. Plans also include the assignment of an additional Special Agent position in mid-2011. DEA’s increased presence in Indonesia further serves as an indicator of the growing drug threat in Indonesia and the willingness of Indonesian narcotics law enforcement to cooperate with the USG to counter it.

From June 20 through July 1, 2010, DEA Agents from the Singapore Country Office (SICO) conducted an intensive seaport interdiction operation with counterparts from the Indonesian Customs Narcotics Team (CNT) and BNN. The operation targeted ten (10) international seaports, located in the Riau Islands and along the eastern seaboard of Sumatra and the Malacca Straits. The SICO, CNT and BNN Officers targeted both inbound and outbound passengers from Malaysia. During the operation, law enforcement officials seized approximately 13,490 ecstasy tablets, 2 kilograms of heroin and 1 kilogram of methamphetamine, and arrested four people. Intelligence from various sources indicated that, due to the increased interdiction efforts at the ferry seaports, various drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) had switched to alternative methods to traffic narcotics. Earlier, there were indications that in response to increased drug interdiction successes at Indonesia's international airports, several DTOs shifted to trafficking narcotics via international ferry seaports. The operation also helped authorities understand better DTOs method of trafficking in response to enhanced interdiction efforts at the international ferry seaports. As evidence of the constantly shifting battle between enforcement and traffickers, DTOs seemed to be developing alternative trafficking routes, primarily through use of fishing vessels.

As with previous years, the USG has also provided equipment donations and technical assistance that has significantly increased Indonesia’s interdiction capability. In 2010, USG assistance focused on the Indonesian Customs Narcotics Team’s (CNT) development of its K-9 drug detection program. During FY10, the U.S. also provided several surveillance vehicles for members of BNN and Polda Metro Jaya (PMJ). USG also provided training in Precursor Control and narcotics investigation. This FY11 training will focus on advancing investigative techniques, including money-laundering investigations. Per Indonesian narcotics counterparts’ requests, USG also will provide training in tactical operations for the development of BNN and PMJ entry raid teams.

BNN has also asked for assistance with the creation of their polygraph unit. In September 2010, BNN officers visited the DEA Office of Technology in Sterling, Virginia to gather details and hopefully model BNN’s future program after that of DEA. BNN has requested additional training in the future for its polygraph operators.

D. Conclusion

Indonesia’s commitment to developing stronger drug-control institutions, evidenced by recent comprehensive amendments to its narcotics laws, should be seen as a highly positive development. Additionally, BNN’s willingness to collaborate with other ministries to develop shared solutions for supply reduction also bodes well for the future. On the law enforcement side, BNN’s focus on information systems capabilities, linking headquarters in Jakarta with 31 provinces, will enhance information-sharing capacity.

Looking ahead, maritime security remains a concern, particularly given the vulnerability of the Malacca and Sunda Straits. Although the nexus between maritime security and narcotics smuggling is undisputed, BNN does not have the resources or mandate to secure these waterways on its own. As a result, this area is ripe for internal collaboration between BNN and the various military entities responsible for patrolling Indonesia’s ‘blue water’ territory and ‘brown water’ harbors. Counter trafficking efforts will also benefit from closer cooperation among the littoral states of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

In terms of demand reduction and treatment, while the mechanism for mandatory rehabilitation instead of incarceration for first-time narcotics offenders has already been codified into law, Indonesia lacks the financial resources and physical facilities to fully implement the provisions of that law. A number of civil society organizations focused on restorative justice programs have started discussions with Indonesian officials about ways to support the development of broad rehabilitative services. This remains an area where international assistance might be necessary.

Finally, when viewed through the specific lens of the 1988 U.N. Drug Convention’s provisions, Indonesia’s primary challenges remain budget constraints and the influence of corruption on rule of law. Bilateral and international assistance, both technical and financial, can help mitigate these influences moving forward.


A. Introduction

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a major transit route for opiates smuggled from Afghanistan through Pakistan to the Persian Gulf, Turkey, Russia, and Europe. A large share of opiates leaving Afghanistan (at least 40 percent) transits Iran for domestic consumption as well as to consumers in Russia and Europe.

There have been reports from U.S. embassies around the world of growing trafficking of crystal methamphetamine by Iranian criminal groups. Much of the methamphetamine being trafficked appears to have been produced in Iran itself. More than 100 Iranians have been charged with drug trafficking in Malaysia and seizures of methamphetamine from Iranian criminals there during 2010 were in excess of one-quarter metric ton. Iranian drug trafficking has been noted in other Southeast Asian countries, including: Thailand, Indonesia, Laos-and in countries closer to Iran like Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. There was also a large seizure of high-purity heroin at Lagos’ container port (130 kg). The heroin was secreted carefully in a container packed in Tehran. In addition, seizures of methamphetamine in Iran itself were almost 2.5 MT in 2009, up 65 percent from the previous year; opiate seizures in Iran during 2009 also continued at a high level.

According to the UN Organization for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Iran has one of the most serious addition problems in the world. In 2007, Iran had 1.2 million drug-dependent opiate users, or about (2.4 percent of the adult population). Furthermore, drug use has driven the spread of HIV in the country. According to the UNODC, some 70 percent of the 21,000 HIV positive cases detected in June 2010 are, in fact, injecting drug users. The total amount of HIV cases in the country may be up to 80,000, according to the Iranian Ministry of Health. Not all opium users in Iran are addicts. Many Iranians smoke opium casually in social circumstances or use it as a medicine, in small quantities. However, what the Iranians call “crystal” or “crack” high-potency heroin is frequently taken intravenously especially by young people and is highly addictive. The share of high-potency crystal/crack heroin seized in Iran has been rising sharply for the past several years.

Evidence such as seizure data, and extensive engineering works constructed along its eastern border indicate Iran is making a serious effort to keep Afghan-produced drugs from reaching Iranian citizens. As Iran strives to achieve this goal, it also reduces the quantity of Afghan drugs reaching markets in the West. Iran is frequently the country reporting the largest seizures of opiates in the world. Iran claims to have invested upwards of $1 billion in its elaborate series of earthworks, forts and deep trenches to channel potential drug smugglers to areas where they can be confronted and defeated by Iranian security forces. Nevertheless, traffickers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran itself continue to cause major disruption along Iran's eastern border. Traffickers have also stepped up use of Iran’s airports and railways to move drugs, and Iran has responded by using body scanners and dog teams to increase drug seizures at airports and from railway freight.

Free needle programs, distribution of condoms, and programs which use methadone and buprenorphine to maintain addicts during treatment are all being used in Iran. Iranian drug officials point to a sharp reversal of their former polices to incarcerate drug abusers; the emphasis now appears to be clearly on treatment, and there is even discussion of formal de-criminalization of drug abuse.

Iran is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, but its laws do not bring it completely into compliance with the Convention. The UNODC is working with Iran to modify its laws, train the judiciary, and improve the court system. Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan arranged at least two joint anti-drug operations under the auspices of the UNODC-sponsored Triangular Initiative, and claim excellent success against traffickers during both.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters leads all aspects of drug control policy. The Secretary General of the Headquarters is its chief. He and his deputy report to the President of Iran. Other members of the Drug Control Headquarters include six Ministers, ranging from Interior and Intelligence through Health and Education to Islamic Guidance and Research. The Chief of Police, Prosecutor General and the Head of the Revolutionary Courts and the Head of Prisons is involved, as is the commander of the Basij militia. The budget for Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters during 2009 was the equivalent of $80 million. The share of this budget allocated to prevention and treatment was almost the same as the share allocated to supply reduction. Together these two classes of expenditure amount to more than 90 percent of the Headquarters’ Budget. Of course, many of the units engaged in both supply and demand reduction have their own budgets, but by allocating roughly equal shares of the Drug Control Headquarters’ own budget to supply and demand reduction, Iran’s drug control authorities seem to be making a statement that both demand and supply reduction are equally important to a successful anti-drug policy.

2. Supply Reduction

Iran blames Afghanistan for many of Iran’s problems with growing drug abuse. Iran regularly criticizes the U.S.-led coalition forces’ failure to confront Afghanistan’s drug production industry more effectively. Iran also clearly believes that its efforts to keep drugs out of Iran have the side effect of mitigating the impact of drugs on the West, and as a result, Iranian authorities regularly call for the West to recognize this fact by more vigorous assistance to Iran, especially through grants of more modern inspection and interdiction technologies for use at Iranian border control points.

Iran pursues an aggressive border interdiction effort along its eastern frontier with Afghanistan. Iran claims it has dug 688 kilometers of trenches, thrown up 477 kilometers of embankments, built a concrete wall 85 kilometers in length and installed 120 kilometers of barbed wire fencing to deter drug smugglers. It also points to new road construction, numerous observation towers, and increasingly sophisticated electronic detection measures installed along its eastern borders. The overwhelming majority of the reported drug seizures registered by Iranian enforcement (82.1 percent) occurs along this border or very near to it. Iran claims that 50,000 law enforcement personnel are regularly deployed along its border with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Interdiction efforts by the police and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have resulted in numerous drug seizures. Iranian officials seized more than 974 MT of opiates (opium equivalent) during 2009. Opiate seizures in 2009 set a new record, increasing by more than 10 percent over 2008. Iran and Pakistan alternate as the countries with the highest volume of opiate seizures in the world.

Iran-Seizure Statistics (in kg)




Hi-pot’cy Heroin

All Heroin


Total Opiates





















% Ch.









NB. To compute the total weight of opiates seized in Iran accurately, we convert morphine base and the several kinds of heroin seized into opium equivalents by multiplying by a factor of ten. This is a convention, and only an approximation of the actual conversion values for these drugs.

Iranian drug seizures in 2009 demonstrated the following interesting trends:

  • Total opiate seizures increased 10.5 percent to set a new record for Iran of 974 MT on an opium equivalent basis;
  • The composition of opiates seized in Iran shifted dramatically, with highly addictive high-potency heroin seizures increasing by more than 386 percent; almost 70 percent of the heroin seized in Iran in 2009 was the crystalline form of the drug;
  • Crystal methamphetamine seizures in Iran continued to increase sharply (+65 percent) to almost 2.5 metric tons. This continuing sharp increase in domestic methamphetamine seizures, combined with reports from around the world of methamphetamine trafficking by Iranian criminals suggests that crystal methamphetamine is being produced, domestically, in Iran, in very large quantities and trafficked worldwide, especially to Southeast Asia. This is a new development in world drug trafficking, and represents a new threat to young people in Iran itself. 

In March and November of 2010, authorities in Ghana and Nigeria made large heroin seizures from containers which had originated in Iran. In Ghana, 80kg of heroin was seized, while in Nigeria the seizure was about 130kg. Law enforcement officials believe that both seizures might be related to the same sophisticated Nigerian trafficking group.

3. Demand Reduction

Although China is estimated to have the largest number of opiate abusers in the world, Iran has one of the highest percentages of its population abusing opiates. The UNODC estimated that 2.4 percent of the Iranian population between the ages of 15 to 64 used opiates in 2007. Many observers – including Iranian practitioners in the treatment community -- believe that opiate abuse in Iran is even higher now.

However, even at 2007’s levels of 2.4 percent, Iran’s usage rate is comparatively high. It is four times the rate of opiate abuse in the U.S. (0.6 percent), and well above neighboring countries like Pakistan (0 .7 percent), and China (0.19-0.31 percent). Ninety-three percent of Iranian opiate addicts are male, with a mean age of 33.6 years. Approximately 1.4 percent of Iranian opiate addicts (about 21,000) are HIV positive, and growing intravenous drug abuse, especially among prison populations, is adding to this number. Iran’s Ministry of Health has said that there might be 80,000 HIV positives currently.

Continuing large seizures of opium by Iranian enforcement suggest that opium continues to be the drug of choice in Iran by a wide margin. The traditional way to use opium in Iran is to smoke it. However, some Iranians also drink its burned residue in tea, inject it, or even eat it. Heroin is smoked or sniffed. A growing share is also injected. UNODC and diplomatic observers in Iran note that young people have turned aggressively to drug abuse (more than two-thirds of Iran’s population is under the age of 30). Some knowledgeable observers have speculated that heroin abuse among the young has grown as an escape from what they perceive as difficult economic and social conditions. Iranians have clearly been using much more heroin during the past several years. Heroin has not replaced opium, the traditional drug of choice in Iran, but the share of heroin in Iran’s total opiate seizures has risen steadily since 2003 and reached more than 27 percent (opium equivalent) in 2008 seizure statistics, falling back to 24 percent in 2009. Iranian drug control officials claim that the heroin available in Iran has also been rising sharply in potency, especially during the last few years.

Iran reports intense efforts to upgrade its capacity to treat opiate abusers. It claims to have roughly 50 percent of its opiate abusers involved in some level of treatment and Iran reports a striking 80 percent reduction in prison admissions for drug users and a concomitant sharp increase in referrals for treatment. Iran’s Fifth Overall Development Plan (2010-2015) calls for increasing efforts in prevention for all age groups threatened by drug abuse from 6 years old through 30 years old, and older. Iran reported that in 2009 it had 1569 treatment centers, 70 percent of which are actually managed by private sector personnel, and that more than 650 thousand persons were undergoing some form of treatment. Iran supports mobile outreach teams around the country to try to reach addicts in their communities to invite them in for treatment, and there are crisis centers in major cities open around the clock where addicts can seek help. Iranian officials single out four of their programs as the most effective during 2009:

  • Use of methadone to maintain addicts during treatment;
  • Syringe exchange program to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS;
  • The use of outreach teams to actively search out addicts and invite them for treatment;
  • Alternative treatment for addiction using opium syrup during detoxification.

Iran acknowledges that even this massive effort is inadequate to meet requirements and that there is a continuing need to upgrade the training and capacity of its treatment professionals. There are indications that treatment recidivism is high, and that more effort is necessary to reintegrate detoxified addicts into society. Iranian officials believe that prevention education could also be improved.

4. Corruption

It is difficult to assess the role corruption plays in narcotics trafficking in Iran. In other countries in the region, corrupt enforcement authorities accept bribes to look the other way to drug smuggling, and fail to enforce laws that prohibit street sales of narcotics and other contraband. Higher level officials are sometimes convicted of protecting narcotics traffickers. Given the scale of narcotics trafficking in Iran, it is possible that similar conditions may exist in Iran. However, Iran does not, as a matter of official government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

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

The U.S. Government continues to encourage regional cooperation against narcotics trafficking, and has worked effectively on narcotics issues with Iranian diplomats in international organizations like the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The United States has also approved licenses that allow U.S. NGOs to work on drug issues in Iran. Iran is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Iran has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime.

D. Conclusion

The Iranian Government has taken strong measures against illicit narcotics smuggling, including cooperation with the international community and costly interdiction of drugs moving into and through its territory. The sudden emergence of apparent large-scale domestic manufacturing of methamphetamine drugs and methamphetamine trafficking from Iran to countries in the Near East, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia poses a significant and growing new threat. Iran stands to be one of the major benefactors of any long-term reduction in drug production/trafficking from Afghanistan, as it is one of the biggest victims of the opium/heroin production and trafficking there now. The two recent developments of domestic methamphetamine manufacture and worldwide trafficking from Iran pose new threats to Iran itself as well as the rest of the world. The United States anticipates that Iran will continue to pursue policies and actions in support of efforts to combat drug production, trafficking and abuse.


In Iraq drug use, trafficking, and production are modest by global standards. Abuse of licit prescription drugs is the only significant abuse problem. Most illicit drugs that are trafficked internationally come from Iran into the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and into the southern region, especially Basra; they typically transit Iraq headed for Europe or are consumed domestically. Given Iraq’s recent history and its modest drug trafficking/abuse problems, combating drug trafficking and abuse is a lower priority to the Government of Iraq than maintaining security and public order. Few specifically dedicated facilities for drug rehabilitation exist. The chief American anti-drug initiative is the establishment of a Center of Excellence on Substance Abuse Services at Baghdad’s Medical City. The cocaine precursor chemical, potassium permanganate, and the heroin precursor chemical, acetic anhydride, exist in Iraq, but only in small quantities. The Government of Iraq undertakes minimal activity to implement United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UN CND) Resolution 49/3 of the 2006 session; its focus, as noted above, is on security. Iraq does cooperate on bilateral counternarcotics operations, especially with information-sharing and on precursor chemical diversions. Iraq is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Iraq’s role in illicit drug production in the region is minor; Iran and Afghanistan continue to be the major producers of illicit drugs, including for the Iraqi market. Iraqi and American officials identify modest levels of illicit drug production in Iraq in 2010-2011. Steroid abuse has risen among bodybuilders and athletes. The illegal manufacture of steroids has risen accordingly to about 1000 kilos. Police estimate that about 2000 kilos of marijuana were cultivated, in southern Iraq.

In Iraq, it is illegal to traffic drugs from one person to another, but not illegal to use them. The GOI’s official position is that the country has no drug problem, but some Iraqis use opiate products, hashish and diverted, licit prescription pharmaceutical drugs improperly. Users in this category exist at all levels of society. Lower socio-economic levels are characterized by abusers of hashish and opiates. Some members of the middle class abuse amphetamines. There are also reports that at least some members of the upper class abuse drugs too, but this is rarely documented because they can bribe their way out of legal trouble. Drug abusers are overwhelmingly male. The daily tensions of life in a highly insecure and violent country must be factored into the more typical causes of drug abuse. According to the Iraqi Office of the National Adviser for Psychological Health in the Iraqi Ministry of Health, 2770 people in the first half of 2010 alone were admitted into or examined in hospitals for drug, alcoholic, or psychotropic substance abuse, up from 1462 in 2008 and 2337 in 2009. Among police personnel, steroids are the most widely abused drug, but drug and alcohol abuse has increased significantly in the last two years, particularly among the army and police deployed in very sensitive and violent areas. Anecdotal evidence suggests police reportedly use drugs, especially Artane, and alcohol to escape some of the pressures of service. Hashish is widely sold, but is seized by law enforcement, if encountered.

Illicit drugs destined for other markets in the Middle East and Europe transit Iraq. Observers estimate that quantities seized are only a tiny percentage of what eventually gets through. Methamphetamine manufactured in Iran goes to Syria, Turkey or Saudi Arabia. Heroin originating in Afghanistan passes through Iran to users in Iraq and beyond. Iranian-manufactured drugs for Iraqi consumption and transit on to Turkey and Europe generally move through the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Drugs moving from Iran to Saudi Arabia also transit Iraq. Much of the trafficking for domestic use flows through Wasit, Maysan and Basrah provinces. Drugs also enter through Anbar and Ninewa provinces. Groups that move drugs through Iraq are usually well-armed and extremely dangerous. Terrorists, militias or large criminal gangs generate revenue from their drug trafficking activities.

Iraq does cooperate on a limited number of bilateral operations. Cooperation focuses on information-sharing and on precursor chemical diversion seizures. This cooperation occurs in Baghdad and in the north. It resulted in chemical shipments being halted by authorities in the countries where the chemicals originated. However, overall border interdiction is weak because Iraqi forces in charge of border control and interdiction have trouble detecting contraband due to inadequate training, lack of manpower, lack of equipment. U.S. Coast Guard representatives have coordinated with CBP and members of the Iraqi Coastal Border Guard to assist the Iraqis in their efforts to patrol the coastline and maritime border areas. Drug policing currently falls under various local law enforcement jurisdictions. Borders are all-but wide open, very little communication among the military, intelligence, and police agencies exists, and there is no central authority specifically targeted on drugs. The border enforcement that does exist however is frequently corrupt and a high rate of illiteracy amongst border enforcement personnel further limits their effectiveness.

Iraq is a party to 1934 bilateral extradition treaty with the U.S. Article II (23) of that treaty states that crimes related to narcotics are extraditable offenses. There is no mutual legal assistance treaty with Iraq, though the granting of mutual legal assistance is possible through informal letters of request.

Iraq’s drug laws are in need of reform. The vast majority of laws date from the 1960’s and are inadequate to discourage drug abuse. There are no laws against conspiracy, abuse of chemicals to manufacture illegal drugs, and no minimum mandatory sentencing law. Harsh sentences up to execution are the primary tool that the government has to combat drugs.

No functioning full-spectrum drug rehabilitation programs exist in Iraq. Efforts are underway at the Ministries of Justice and Interior to develop programs similar to Egypt’s group therapy approach and to develop a program that connects enforcement, arrest and rehabilitation. The Iraqi Ministry of Health is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to establish a Center of Excellence on Substance Abuse Services at Baghdad’s Medical City.

Iraq cooperates on a regional strategy through its seat on the Arab League, seeking to coordinate its limited enforcement activities with its neighbors. A proposal to create a federal drug enforcement authority is in the very early stages of consideration. Turkey has a presence to interdict illicit drugs at its Iraqi border.


A. Introduction

Israel is neither a major producer nor trafficker of narcotics, but does continue to see a rise in illegal drug use, particularly among youth and other high-risk groups. According to a recent epidemiological survey, 20 percent of youth surveyed do not perceive illegal drugs as dangerous. Use of cannabis, hard drugs, hagigat (a qat derivative) and unprescribed/off-label use of medications have grown over last year. Most worrisome to law enforcement authorities is the growth of “yaba,” or a caffeine/methamphetamine combination abused particularly by third-country national laborers.

The Minister for Public Security has stated that drugs continue to be a fairly sizeable trade in Israel. The narcotics market turnover is an estimated seven billion NIS ($1.95 billion) in 2009. Internet trafficking of both counterfeit prescription drugs and “natural” substances which contain banned or pharmaceutically-active ingredients is also on the rise.

Increased seizures and active street-level enforcement by the Israeli National Police (INP) have sharply decreased availability of narcotics, which in turn has driven up street prices, encouraged growth of the hydroponic marijuana market, and pushed organized crime towards trafficking in counterfeit, illegal “lifestyle” and prescription drugs. According to a national survey, about eleven percent of adults have used some illegal substance; about ten percent of students in grades 7-12 reported having used an illegal drug in the last year. Israel is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Israel’s Dangerous Drugs Ordinance provides the legislative basis for drug definition, actions, penalties and related authorities, including the establishment and scope of the Israel Anti-Drug Authority (IADA). Under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice, the IADA coordinates cross-ministerial development, management and implementation of all anti-drug activity on the part of the GOI.

The Knesset amended the Hazardous Substances Law, which specifically defines illegal narcotics, to include cathinone (a.k.a. hagigat), methcathinone, amphetamines and methamphetamines (“Yaba”) in July 2010, at the request of the Deputy Health Minister, to ensure consistency with the drug market. Medical marijuana is legal in Israel, but its production and distribution are tightly controlled. A Health Ministry advisory committee has recommended that it be covered under the national insurance plan in order to reduce production and distribution costs. An estimated 40,000 Israelis use marijuana for medicinal purposes every year. There is one pro-marijuana legalization political party in Israel, but it currently does not have any standing members in the Knesset.

Israeli customs law does allow for “personal” imports of prescribed medications via mail or luggage of incoming travelers of up to a 60 day supply. However, there is little monitoring or universal standards on what constitutes a 60-day supply, and thus this loophole has been a suspected avenue for trafficking.

Amendments to existing legislation have increased penalties for trafficking and also allowed treatment in lieu of jail time for drug users. In addition, money laundering legislation and scrutiny has increased significantly in 2010 focusing on drug money, with ties to terror financing and human trafficking.

Israel is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Israel and the U.S. have a customs mutual assistance agreement and a mutual legal assistance treaty. Israel is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and has been a member of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) since 2003.

2. Supply Reduction

A popular metaphor to characterize the objective of drug prosecution and arrests in Israel is that law enforcement prefers “to dry up the swamp rather than killing mosquitoes one at a time.” In other words, the emphasis is on targeting supply and trafficking rather than prosecuting first-time or minor users, although “lifestyle” users are taken very seriously, and the police have no qualms about prosecution. To this end, the INP has been very successful, with many notable busts in 2010 affecting supply and thus price and availability. They work closely with other law enforcement agencies within Israel, plus Egypt, Jordan, the United States, Colombia, Brazil and other countries to monitor and stem the flow of drugs into Israel, plus trafficking attempts by Israelis in other countries. With the opening of three police units in the south, at Ben-Gurion Airport and on the northern border with Lebanon, key points for smuggling have been reinforced.

So far this year the INP has seized nearly 5,000 kg of marijuana total – a tenfold increase from the same time period in the previous year (January to August) with more than 2,500 kg of marijuana seized at the Egyptian border. Most noteworthy was a bust at the Egyptian border of over 800 kg of marijuana – one of the largest seizures to date. Versus the same time period last year (January to August), the INP has seized nearly 5,000 kg of marijuana total – a tenfold increase. In addition, 173 kg of heroin was seized at the border with Jordan (Israel is a transit country for heroin trafficked between Jordan and Egypt). Cocaine trafficking is primarily from South and Central America, but police have been catching Israelis on both coasts smuggling cocaine in swallowed balloons. Seizure figures for hashish, heroin and cocaine are running about the same versus 2009, but thanks in part to focused, large-scale busts, the INP reported seizing nearly 12,000 methamphetamine (“Yaba”) tablets from January to August 2010, as compared with 2,300 for the same time frame last year.

The INP are also cracking down on growers of hydroponic marijuana, which is generally both weaker in potency and more expensive to produce, leading to higher prices, increased demand and complaints from users unable to get normal supplies. They have produced and posted 30 videos to “YouTube” so far highlighting this hardship. Most notable is a campaign featuring a hand puppet named Elimelech Duda, who also offers helpful suggestions for alternative highs, such as peyote and hagigat.

The Pharmaceutical Crime Unit has been especially active in terms of crackdowns and collaboration. In June 2010, it hosted the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime, at which representatives from fifteen countries discussed leading issues. While preventative measures and public campaigns have not been widespread enough to deter pharmaceutical crimes, particularly over the Internet, frequent seizures have surely deterred customers and sellers alike. The unit has caught everything from anabolic steroids (illegal in Israel but not considered a controlled substance under the law) to Plavix™ (covered under Israel’s national health plan but very expensive in other parts of the world, particularly the United States) and counterfeit Viagra™. Israel is a particularly attractive transit point due to its geographic location and advanced technological development. In addition, many Israelis are multilingual and hold multiple passports, giving criminals an advantage in smuggling and trafficking online or offline. Internet pharmaceutical crime, according to the head of the Pharmaceutical Crime Unit, has also been linked to money laundering as well as fraud and human trafficking.

Increasing numbers of illegal immigrants, particularly from Africa, are also targeted by police for drug trafficking investigations. The old bus station in South Tel Aviv has been a point of congregation for many refugees from the Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia; at least two INP units stationed around this district have arrested suspects for allegedly selling narcotics, particularly marijuana and cocaine. The INP has also been using more and more agents who had emigrated from Africa to make busts. Most notable was “Operation Queen of Sheba,” in which an Ethiopian-born undercover agent infiltrated drug rings in five cities, resulting in the arrest of over 40 suspected drug dealers. Abuse and trafficking of “Yaba,” according to Israeli customs officials, is prevalent among Thai immigrants, particularly those working illegally and attempting to keep up with workdays of 15-plus hours.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The IADA is the primary agency for raising awareness, reducing demand via design and implementation of targeted anti-drug programs, and supporting treatment facilities. They work in close cooperation with relevant ministries, agencies, local and regional authorities and organizations to develop and implement treatment programs. According to IADA, there are currently 150 community treatment programs for substance abuse throughout Israel. While efforts have always been strong and credible towards the general population and key demographics such as youth, the agency is also increasing outreach to target at-risk communities such as Arab-Israelis, new immigrants and orthodox Jews. By law, all drug treatment facilities must be licensed by the State and are subject to approval by government committee, plus regular audits by government-appointed inspectors.

Treatment programs are both thorough and innovative, targeting populations such as prisoners, the homeless, single mothers with children, and even post-tiul gadol (the traditional long trip abroad young Israelis take after mandatory army service and before starting studies or work, where they tend to travel for six months to a year or more, usually to South America, India, Thailand and other hot “backpackers” spots, and often through the United States if they qualify for a tourist visa). The tiul gadol can be a highly vulnerable time for selling, trafficking and abusing hallucinogenic drugs and marijuana, plus working overseas illegally. The IADA also sponsors needle-exchange programs in five major cities, and offers incentives for rehabilitated users – including technology courses, academic scholarships and employment workshops. Treatment opportunities are both outpatient and residential, such as specialized “treatment communities” and hostels. There are at least six facilities for youth only; at least five facilities are women-only, with one only for women with children.

Demand for marijuana has been affected by sharp increases in price, driven by more arrests for “soft” drugs and more police presence at key ports of entry. Some users have shifted to harder drugs unfortunately, according to IADA studies.

A Knesset report released on August 3 noted that the number of methadone stations was “inadequate,” based on an assessment by the World Health Organization. The head of the addiction treatment bureau within the Ministry of Health, according to media reports, stated that there were about 3200 available places for outpatient methadone treatment, as well as an on-site Health Ministry treatment center in Jaffa.

Problems remain with perception, according to surveys conducted by the IADA, the Tel Aviv municipality and Ichilov Hospital, as well as the national toxicology center in Haifa. Among youth and urban residents, ecstasy and marijuana, among others, are not seen as serious drugs – i.e., they are viewed as an adjunct to recreation or leisure. While treatment and hospitalization numbers say otherwise (at least seven victims of ecstasy are treated in emergency rooms at Israeli hospitals every month, according to the Ichilov/Tel Aviv survey), about 20 percent of students in seventh through twelfth grades surveyed by the IADA do not consider using illegal drugs “dangerous,” which, in a country with a sizeable population in the youth target age group, represents a critical moment of truth in terms of vulnerability to drugs. That said, the IADA is actively involved in raising awareness of the dangers of drug use through programs with cities, the “Yes to Sports, No to Drugs” program which encourages youth participation in sports rather than drug use (and also educates target groups on how drugs negatively affect athletic performance and health) and developing education programs for teaching, nursing and medical students so that they can identify and counsel at the early signs of drug use.

4. Corruption

As a matter of government policy, Israel does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs, or other controlled substances, or money laundering from illegal drug transactions. Corruption is treated as a serious matter by the government. In 2010, a ranking IDF officer was arrested for allegedly assisting a drug-smuggling ring along the Lebanese border, and for passing information to Hizbollah. In addition, a former Mossad agent was found by police to be in possession of over 2 kg of marijuana, leading to suspicions of drug trafficking. Israel does not have specific legislation for public corruption related to narcotics, but narcotics-related corruption is covered under its generic anticorruption legislation. Israel ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in February 2009.

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

Israel’s goals as a nation are dramatic reductions in both consumption and trafficking of drugs. To this end, collaboration between the United States and Israel remains strong, with efforts spearheaded out of the DEA regional office in Nicosia, Cyprus. This year, representatives from DEA traveled to Israel for a weeklong conference/information exchange in November 2010 with the Israeli National Police on techniques, intelligence and critical information on drug trafficking and related criminal apprehension, including interdictions at ports of entry. U.S. and Israeli law enforcement have also collaborated closely to combat illicit activities of retail companies believed to be involved in the laundering of drug proceeds and the hiring of illegal workers. In addition, robust cooperation exists on extradition of criminals, especially organized crime figures, convicted on drug-related charges. Also in November, the head of the IADA met with the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy regarding ways to bolster collaboration and sharing of best practices in the war against drugs. This marked the first time that representatives from the GOI had been invited as guests of the Director. The delegation also focused on “precursor” ingredients such as pseudoephedrine, derivative legislation and research.

DEA’s Nicosia Country Office, which covers Israel, is very pleased with the extent to which the Israeli National Police have cooperated on international investigations during this past year. This year alone, DEA’s Main Justice Office of International Affairs and the Los Angeles Federal Prosecutor, along with the DEA Los Angeles Office and DEA Nicosia, had a week-long series of meetings with the Israeli Prosecutors and all INP members who were involved in the investigation of a member of a leading Israeli crime family. The series of meetings was requested by the United States for preparation of an extradition request of this member and four other suspects in this international investigation. Bilateral cooperation was key in preparation for trial, particularly among the Embassy, DEA, and Israeli interlocutors. This case also marked one of the first applications of Israeli organized crime laws. The Israel Supreme Court recently held all five defendants extraditable to the United States.

Israeli Customs has had successful money laundering seizures with DHS ICE, which has also been conducting pharmaceutical investigations with Israeli Customs and the Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit, leading to increased scrutiny and prosecution for Internet trafficking. DEA Cyprus maintains outstanding relations with the Ministry of Health’s Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit. DEA also works with the Head of the Drug Lab in Israel on a wide range of issues pertaining to drug identification as well as the identification of new trends in drug production.

D. Conclusion

Already-excellent bilateral cooperation on illicit drug enforcement and rehabilitation grew even closer this year, with many watershed moments in terms of information-sharing and extraditions. Teamwork has expanded to source countries in South America, Europe and other Middle Eastern countries to combat trafficking and better train officials. DEA’s regional office continues to cooperate with interlocutors in Israel. Drugs as linked to other crimes such as human trafficking, illegal labor and money laundering continue to be issues for law enforcement. A sizeable and growing youth population may be a concern for future drug use, and thus the IADA is working hard to raise awareness about the dangers of narcotics, despite perceptions of illegal drugs as not that harmful. Internet trafficking and fake pharmaceuticals are other growing issues of concern for Israeli officials. The IADA is leveraging relationships with U.S. drug authorities to expand collaboration into research and legislative development. In addition, with the establishment of a dedicated ICE attaché at Embassy Tel Aviv, bilateral cooperation at the working level is expected to flourish even more, in addition to existing strong relationships with the regional security and LEGAT offices.


A. Introduction

Italy remains an important European transit country for illegal drugs, owing to its location and powerful domestic criminal organizations. Southwest Asian heroin arrives in Italy from the Middle East and the Balkans, while cocaine reaches Italy directly from South America or through Spain and other countries. According to UNODC, Italy is Europe’s second largest consumer of opiates (behind the U.K.) and third largest consumer of cocaine (behind the U.K. and Spain). Synthetic drugs (such as ecstasy), hashish and marijuana are also illicit drugs of concern for the Italian government. Italian and Italy-based foreign organized crime groups are heavily involved in international drug trafficking.

A large percentage of all heroin seized in Italy is shipped from Turkey through an overland route by way of Balkan countries. Balkan heroin traffickers work with Italian criminal organizations as transporters and suppliers of drugs. Heroin is smuggled into Italy via automobiles, ferryboats and commercial cargo. Italian law enforcement agencies maintain liaison offices in Albania, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan to assist foreign counterparts in interdicting narcotics originating from Afghanistan, which are destined for Italy.

Almost all cocaine found in Italy originates from Colombian and other South American criminal groups and is distributed in Italy by Calabria and Campania-based organized crime groups. Multi-hundred kilogram shipments enter Italy via seaports concealed in commercial cargo, as well as by private maritime vessels (such as sailboats). Although the traditional Atlantic trafficking route is still in use, stepped-up international scrutiny and cooperation are forcing traffickers to use alternative avenues. During 2009-2010, Italian drug investigations have identified increased activity by Serbian criminal groups involved in the importation of large amounts of cocaine. In 2010, bilateral investigations in Italy revealed South American cocaine trafficking groups are using Italy as a transit point for the repatriation of drug proceeds, via bulk currency shipments, to Colombia and Mexico.

Italian officials have detected traffickers using transit ports in West Africa where drugs are off-loaded to smaller fishing vessels that ultimately reach Spain and other Mediterranean destinations. Cocaine shipments off-loaded in Spain, the Netherlands and the Balkans are eventually transported to Italy and other European countries by land vehicles. Italian organized crime groups have representatives based in Spain who are responsible for purchasing bulk quantities of cocaine for overland transportation to Italian drug markets. Smaller amounts of cocaine (usually concealed in luggage) enter Italy via airline couriers traveling from South America. Express parcels with concealed cocaine are also dispatched to Italy from South America.

Ecstasy found in Italy primarily originates in the Netherlands and is usually smuggled into the country by couriers using commercial airlines, trains or land vehicles. The couriers originating in Amsterdam often conceal thousands of ecstasy tablets in luggage and travel by train or airline to Italy. The EU’s open borders make this journey somewhat less risky. No ecstasy or amphetamine laboratories have been discovered in Italy.

Hashish comes predominately from Morocco through Spain, entering the Iberian Peninsula (and the rest of Europe) via sea access points using speed boats and concealed in commercial cargo shipments crossing the Straits of Gibraltar on ferryboats. As with cocaine, larger hashish shipments are smuggled into Spain and eventually transported to Italy by vehicle. Hashish is also smuggled into Italy on fishing and pleasure boats from Lebanon. Marijuana cultivation does occur in Italy, but it is generally small-scale and is for local consumption. Italy is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

The Government of Italy (GOI) is committed to the fight against drug trafficking domestically and internationally. The Berlusconi government continues Italy’s strong counternarcotics stand with capable Italian law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement officials focus their efforts on heroin, cocaine, synthetic drugs, hashish and marijuana. Although Italy produces some precursor chemicals, they are well controlled in accordance with international norms and are not known to have been diverted to any significant extent.

Italy continues to combat narcotics aggressively. Notwithstanding important tactical achievements, strategic success in significantly limiting Italy’s role as a transit country remains elusive. In 2006, Italy adopted a tough new drug law that eliminates distinctions between hard and soft drugs, increases penalties for those convicted of trafficking and establishes administrative penalties for lesser offenses. All forms of possession and trafficking are illegal, but punishment depends on the severity of the infraction. Stiff penalties for those convicted of trafficking or possessing drugs include jail sentences from six to 20 years and fines of over $300,000. The law provides alternatives to jail time for minor infractions, including drug therapy, community service hours, and house arrest.

In August 2010, the GOI amended the existing legislation regarding undercover law enforcement operations targeting serious criminal activity. A key component of the amendment was the authorization for expanded undercover activities in furtherance of drug trafficking and money laundering investigations. It is expected that this new legislation will enhance the capacity of Italian law enforcement entities to infiltrate and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations.

After contributing about $1.3 million in 2009 to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime programs, Italy contributed nearly $1.6 million in 2010. Italy has supported key U.S. objectives at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), and chairs the Dublin Group of countries coordinating narcotics sector assistance projects for Central Asia.

Italy is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol, as well as the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Italy is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in October 2009. Italy has bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties with the U.S. In February 2010, a U.S.-Italy protocol implementing the 2003 U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements entered into force.

On October 29, 2010, the Italian government approved an Anti-Narcotics National Action Plan 2010-2013 (Piano di Azione Nazionale Antidroga). It is based on recommendations from the UN and the EU and by the EU Drug Action Plan 2009-2012. It also draws from the conclusions of the 5th National Conference on Anti-Drug Policies that took place in Trieste March 12-14, 2009.

The new national drug plan seeks to improve coordination of national level policies that are implemented by regional governments, and provide an integrated approach among the different Italian stakeholders as well as within the EU, the UN, and the international community. The National Action Plan identifies and details areas for intervention for which the Government has authorized 26 million Euros. It is unclear whether the funds are actually available for appropriation. The plan also calls on Italian regions to provide their own funding to accomplish the following goals: reduce demand; reduce availability; provide assistance and treatment; provide rehabilitation and social reinsertion programs; improve monitoring and provide periodic reviews; amend and enhance current laws to adapt them to the current situation.

The anti-narcotics plan states that international cooperation is necessary because “the global nature of the drug problem requires regional, national, European, and transnational approaches.” The plan also focuses on cooperation beyond Europe because of the links between narcotics and both worldwide organized crime and terrorism. The plan particularly highlights the need for cooperation with African partners, stating: “We must offer special cooperation to those African countries affected by the problem of drugs not only as consumer countries, but as countries of transit and storage of large quantities of substances from producer countries headed for European consumer markets.” The plan calls for the government to promote bilateral agreements between Italy’s police forces and those of other countries to confront the trafficking of narcotics drugs, psychotropic substances, and their precursors; organize anti-drug training programs with the police of countries in West Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central America; cooperate with such regional systems as the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC) to organize training.

2. Supply Reduction

The fight against drugs is a major priority for the National Police, Carabinieri, and Guardia di Finanza (GdF) counternarcotics units. The Italian Central Directorate for Anti-Drug Services (DCSA) coordinates the counternarcotics efforts of the three national police services and directs liaison activities with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other foreign law enforcement agencies. DCSA has 20 drug liaison officers in 19 countries (including the U.S.) that focus on major traffickers and their organizations. In 2006, DCSA stationed liaison officers in Tehran, Iran and Tashkent, Uzbekistan; in 2007 they added liaison officers in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Islamabad, Pakistan. The other liaison officers are based in Miami, Florida (co-located with the DEA Miami Field Division); Bogota, Colombia; Caracas, Venezuela; Lima, Peru; La Paz, Bolivia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Brasilia, Brazil; Dakar, Senegal; Rabat, Morocco; Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey; Beirut, Lebanon; Bangkok, Thailand; Madrid, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Budapest, Hungary, and Moscow, Russia.

Investigations of international narcotics organizations often overlap with the investigations of Italy’s traditional organized crime groups (e.g., the Sicilian Mafia, the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta, and the Naples-based Camorra). Additional narcotics trafficking groups include Moroccan, Tunisian, Nigerian, Senegalese, Albanian, and other Balkan organized crime groups responsible for smuggling drugs into Italy. In 2009, Italian drug investigations revealed that Serbian groups have begun importing large quantities of cocaine (100-kilogram shipments or greater) into Italy. Colombian, Dominican, and other Latin American trafficking groups are also involved in the importation of cocaine. Italian law enforcement officials employ the same narcotics investigation techniques used by other western countries. Adequate financial resources, money laundering laws, and asset seizure/forfeiture laws help ensure the effectiveness of these efforts.

During 2009, Italian authorities seized 4078 kilograms of cocaine; 1149 kilograms of heroin; 19,474 kilograms of hashish; 7483 kilograms of marijuana; 119,182 marijuana plants; and 66,253 doses of synthetic drugs. The single largest drug seizures during the same period were: June 2009—400 kilograms of cocaine in Padua; April 2009—180 kilograms of heroin in Milan; May 2009—2,010 kilograms of hashish in Naples; November 2009—1300 kilograms of marijuana in Francica and January 2009—28,700 tablets of ecstasy in Turin. Also during this period, 29,529 individuals were arrested in Italy on drug-related charges, 3054 of which were arrested for more serious drug trafficking/conspiracy violations. Sixty-five (65) percent of those arrested were Italian nationals, while the remaining 35 percent of the arrestees were primarily Moroccan, Tunisian, Albanian, and Nigerian nationals.

During the first 6 months of 2010, Italian law enforcement agencies have seized 1824 kilograms of cocaine; 537 kilograms of heroin; 6673 kilograms of hashish; 2865 kilograms of marijuana; 20,474 marijuana plants; and 66,228 doses of synthetic drugs. Also within this time frame, 14,749 individuals were arrested for illicit drug violations (33% of them were foreign nationals), with 1847 of the defendants being charged with more serious drug conspiracy violations.

In June 2009, the DEA Rome country office coordinated multilateral assistance with the Italian Guardia di Finanza in an investigation into a Rome-based Italian organized crime group responsible for the importation of significant quantities of cocaine into Europe utilizing Colombian cocaine brokers resident in Europe with sources of cocaine supply in Colombia and Venezuela. This investigative effort resulted in the maritime seizure of approximately 300 kilograms of cocaine and utilized the modern and sophisticated air and sea assets available to the Guardia di Finanza.

Also in 2009, Italian law enforcement agencies concluded several long-term criminal investigations targeting drug trafficking organizations operating throughout the country. Operation Red Man (Operazione Uomo Rosso) began in 2007 and targeted two West African criminal groups responsible for transporting cocaine and heroin from the Netherlands to Italy. The investigation linked the African groups to members of rival Italian Camorra (Naples-based) organized crime families and resulted in the arrest of 74 individuals and the seizure of cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Operation Como Hills (Operazione Colline Comasche) began in 2006 and targeted a large network of Albanian nationals operating in northern Italy and Tuscany. This organization was responsible for importing cocaine into Italy from the Netherlands and drug distribution throughout Europe. The investigation resulted in the seizure of cocaine and heroin and the arrest of 174 people. In June 2009, Italian police officials in Trento and Genoa concluded Operation Sutka (Operazione Sutka) with the arrest of 49 members of a predominately ethnic Romanian crime group importing cocaine from Spain. Over the course of this two-year investigation, Italian law enforcement seized 36 kilograms of cocaine and 60 kilograms of marijuana.

The DEA Rome country office, in conjunction with Italian law enforcement officials and numerous other DEA domestic and foreign offices, participated in a 2-year multinational investigation—dubbed “Operation Reckoning”—which targeted a significant element of the Mexican based Gulf Cartel responsible for importing multi-ton quantities of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana from Mexico for distribution in the U.S. and elsewhere, including Italy. The joint DEA and Italian Carabinieri investigation targeted ‘Ndrangheta organized crime cells operating between Calabria, Italy and New York City as part of the overall operation. In mid-September 2008, ten other subjects were arrested in Italy and six were arrested in New York. This investigation has increased law enforcement attention and focus on drug trafficking links between Italy and Mexico.

In 2008, the DEA Rome country office and the Italian National Police (INP) initiated a sophisticated drug trafficking and money laundering investigation targeting Colombian nationals operating in Italy. The investigation was linked to Colombian money laundering cells in the United States. Based upon intelligence sharing with the INP, in May 2010, the INP seized 225 kilograms of cocaine aboard a commercial airline flight originating from the Dominican Republic. As a result, the INP arrested six individuals on money laundering and drug charges and the Italian prosecutor indicted an additional 19 individuals on related charges. The Italian investigation has also resulted in the seizure of over $13 million in trafficker-owned assets.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

GOI promotes drug prevention programs using abstinence messages and treatment aimed at the full rehabilitation of drug addicts. The Italian Ministry of Health funds 533 public health offices that operate at the regional level; the government identified 1108 private centers of which 65 percent are residential, 19 percent semi-residential facilities, and 16 percent walk-in facilities. Of about 500,000 estimated drug addicts, about 393,000 are eligible for treatment in Italy, and 161,000 receive services at public agencies. About 69 percent of the total currently receiving government-sponsored treatment used heroin. Others either are not receiving treatment or arrange for treatment privately. The government continues to promote more responsible use of methadone at the public treatment facilities. Regional and local governments spent about 30 million Euro for drug prevention programs and a total of 20 million Euro were spent for social and professional rehabilitation.

4. Corruption

As a matter of government policy, Italy does not encourage or facilitate the illicit distribution of narcotics or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The USG has no information that any senior official of the Government of Italy engages in, encourages, or facilitates the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Corruption exists in Italy although in the area of counternarcotics it rarely rises to the national level and it does not compromise investigations. When a corrupt law enforcement officer is discovered, authorities take appropriate action.

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

Within the European Union, DCSA actively takes part in the monthly meeting of the Horizontal Drug Group, which is in charge of examining – at the interdisciplinary level – the proposals and projects forwarded by Member States or community bodies on prevention and counter-strategies in the field of drug abuse and drug trafficking, as well as legislative measures and regulations resulting from the European Drug Strategy and Action Plan. In 2009, under the Czech and Swedish Presidencies, the DCSA represented the GOI on several issues; (a) the first implementation of the 4-year European Drug Action Plan for 2009-2012, (b) the adoption of the Stockholm Program, (c) the submission of a feasibility study – called the Africa Platform – aimed at improving international cooperation in West Africa relative to the current drug threat in this region, and (d) the update of the EU / Central Asia Drug Action Plan. The DCSA also regularly participates in the Dublin Group, which provides assistance in the coordination of regional cooperation strategies for drug producing and transit countries. Italy chairs the Mini-Dublin Group for Central Asia. During 2009-2010, DCSA continued to cooperate at the operational level within multilateral projects involving EU law enforcement authorities such as EUROPOL and COSPOL.

The U.S. and Italy continue to enjoy exemplary counternarcotics cooperation. At the April 2010 International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Director of DCSA met with DEA’s Acting Administrator in furtherance of bilateral cooperation and operations. September 2010, the DCSA Director visited the DEA offices in Miami and New York, as well as DEA Headquarters for further consultation with DEA’s Acting Administrator regarding enhanced information-sharing initiatives. DEA and DCSA personnel continue to conduct intelligence-sharing and coordinate joint criminal investigations on a daily basis. Based on the October 1997 International Conference on Multilateral Reporting in Lisbon, Portugal, the DEA Headquarters Chemical Section and DCSA continue to exchange pre-shipment notifications for dual-use drug precursor chemicals. [Note: Italy has not been identified as a significant international producer or distributor of methamphetamine precursor chemicals.]

In June 2008, the Italian ‘Ndrangheta Organized Crime group was added to the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) Foreign Drug Kingpin list after close coordination between American and Italian counterparts. The designation is aimed at reducing the ability of ‘Ndrangheta members to use the U.S. and international banking systems in furtherance of their drug trafficking operations. The GOI’s stated intention to enforce the provision is an indication of the Italian government’s commitment to target and dismantle ‘Ndrangheta’s financial infrastructure.

During 2010, DEA provided training to Italian counterparts on asset forfeiture and drug law enforcement operations. Additionally, the United States Coast Guard provided a mobile training team on seaport security.

D. Conclusion

The USG will continue to work closely with Italian officials to break up trafficking networks in and through Italy as well as to enhance both countries’ ability to apply effective demand reduction policies. The USG will also continue to work with Italy in multilateral settings such as the Dublin Group of countries that coordinate counternarcotics and UNODC policies.


A. Introduction

Jamaica continues to be the largest Caribbean supplier of marijuana to the United States. Cocaine and synthetic drugs are not produced locally, but Jamaica is a transit point for cocaine trafficked from Central and South America to North America. Drug production and trafficking in Jamaica are both enabled and accompanied by organized crime, domestic and international gang activity, and endemic police corruption. The gun trade for illicit drugs exacerbates the problem as undocumented handguns flow freely into the country. Recent assessments by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) indicate that a significant quantity of illegal firearms entering Jamaica originated in the United States.

Jamaican law stipulates that possession or use of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and ecstasy are illegal and subject to criminal and civil penalties. The illegitimate possession of precursor chemicals is also prohibited by law, and, under the Precursor Chemicals Act of 2005, violations are punishable by criminal and civil penalties up to $35,000 and/or 3 years imprisonment. Jamaica is a signatory to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention.

Over the last three years, Jamaica’s seizures of narcotics have generally decreased along with marijuana eradication efforts. This trend is largely the result of financial constraints on the JCF and the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) in addition to a shift in focus and resources toward responding to natural disasters, combating gang activity, and addressing Jamaica’s high murder rate.

There were 1,428 murders in 2010 which is a 15 percent decrease from the 1,682 murders in 2009. However, Jamaica’s per capita murder rate was 52 per 100,000 citizens in 2010, giving it one of the highest murder rates in the world. The JCF estimated that 26 percent of the murders were gang related and suspected that gang rivalry was a motive for a large portion of the remainder. The JCF estimated that approximately 300 criminal gangs were operating in Jamaica in 2010.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Cooperation between the GOJ and the United States government (USG) in efforts to curb narcotics and related transnational crime remains strong overall. The USG’s primary GOJ partners are the JCF and the JDF which are both under the administration of the Ministry of National Security.

The GOJ and the USG have a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) that assists in evidence sharing. The USG and GOJ also have a reciprocal asset sharing agreement and a bilateral law enforcement agreement governing cooperation to stop the flow of illegal drugs by maritime means. Jamaica is a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1996 Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the UN Convention Against Corruption. The GOJ has signed, but has not ratified, the Caribbean Regional Maritime Counterdrug Agreement.

The 1991 extradition treaty between the USG and the GOJ is actively and successfully used by the USG to extradite suspected criminals from Jamaica. Extradition requests are normally processed in a routine and timely manner by Jamaican political and judicial authorities. However, the 2009 request for the extradition of alleged drug and firearms trafficker, Christopher “Dudus” Coke, languished for nine months before the Attorney General signed the authority to proceed with Coke’s arrest. Coke was wanted in the United States on drug and firearms trafficking charges. In May 2010, the GOJ acted to arrest and extradite Coke in a large-scale JCF and JDF operation that resulted in 73 deaths and, ultimately, the arrest and extradition of Coke to the United States where he awaits trial.

In 2010, Parliament passed several anti-crime bills as part of a broad agenda to address crime in Jamaica. These bills included an amendment to the Financial Investigations Division (FID) Act authorizing the FID to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units to share financial intelligence. Furthermore, regulations were passed to implement the Terrorism Prevention Act requiring financial institutions to file reports of suspicious transactions involving terrorist financing. A Firearms Act requiring a minimum 15-year sentence for serious gun and drug-related offenses was also passed.

In response to a GOJ request in 2010, the USG provided a three-year training plan to improve the skills of criminal investigators and prosecutors. The training includes techniques in investigations, file management, and the presentation of cases which are designed to help secure convictions. Also, the USG delivered training on powers of arrest, search and seizure, and interviewing. Training will continue in 2011 and 2012.

An important part of fighting gangs, drugs, and transnational crime begins at the local level. Since 2008, the JCF has increased community-based policing (CBP) efforts with USG support. CBP is now the official policy of the JCF and is incorporated into pre-service training for all police recruits. In addition, the CBP program has spread from the 3 initial pilot communities in 2008 to 57 communities in 2010. Civilian acceptance of CBP is facilitated through programs aimed at creating safe communities such as a safe schools program and youth civic engagement.

In April 2010, a new Commissioner of Police was appointed. He is facing, as his predecessor did, internal, judicial, and political roadblocks that have hindered efforts to reform the police in the past including reforms required by Jamaica’s 2007 Police Strategy Review. The Commissioner has taken a strong public stance against corruption and is continuing to implement and expand the strategic reform process that was initiated by the former JCF Commissioner. However, it is unclear whether the Commissioner will secure the necessary legislative and executive support, both in funding and political backing, to make significant and enduring progress in combating police corruption and transforming the institution.

2. Supply Reduction

Marijuana can be found in all fourteen parishes of Jamaica; however, there has been no recent survey to determine the acreage under cultivation. Natural environmental barriers such as swamps, marshes, and mountainous terrain make it difficult to conduct marijuana crop surveys without aerial support which is limited by funding availability. Marijuana is grown in areas generally inaccessible to vehicular traffic on small plots in both rocky terrain and along the tributaries of the Black River in Saint Elizabeth. Law enforcement gathers intelligence on these sites by surveillance from the land, sea, and air. The JDF employs teams of civilian cutters who, escorted by the military or police, cut growing plants. They also seize seedlings and cured marijuana and then burn them in the field. Jamaican law prohibits the use of herbicides, and only manual eradication is conducted.

Eradication of marijuana decreased in 2010 in most areas (cannabis, seedlings, seeds, and nurseries) when compared to 2009. For example, 447 hectares of cannabis were eradicated in 2010 compared to 633 hectares in 2009. The exception was seizure of cured marijuana, where 39.291 metric tons were seized in 2010 compared to 9 metric tons in 2009. Much of the decrease was due to fiscal constraints within the JDF and to the security forces’ commitment of personnel and resources in response to gang activity and the widespread violence surrounding the Coke arrest. Other mitigating factors include the resources committed to addressing the country’s high murder rate and to the response required for the flooding and damage resulting from two significant storms in 2010 (Nicole and Tomas). However, the impact of eradication efforts was demonstrated during a two-week operation in July 2010 when the combined efforts of the JCF and JDF, with support from the Embassy’s Department of Justice and Narcotics Affairs Section, resulted in the eradication of marijuana with an estimated street value of $200 million. The operation also temporarily disrupted the availability of marijuana for foreign export.

Civil and administrative rather than criminal authorities continue to regulate the manufacture, sale, transport, and possession of Ecstasy, methamphetamine, or the precursor chemicals used to produce them. Jamaica is not a producer of precursor chemicals or other chemical substances and, therefore, relies on countries exporting goods to conform to international standards governing export verification. The importation and sale of pharmaceutical products and chemical substances are regulated and reinforced with fines or imprisonment. Other controls exist to monitor the usage of pharmaceutical products and chemical substances including register controls, inspections, and audits.

Smugglers continued to use maritime containers, couriers, checked luggage, and bulk commercial shipments to move drugs through Jamaica to the U.S. Drug seizures in 2010 decreased in the areas of hashish, hash oil, cocaine, crack cocaine, and ecstasy tablets from 2009. For example, cocaine seizures decreased from 264 kilograms in 2009 to 177.88 kilograms in 2010, and ecstasy decreased from 2,785 units in 2009 to 10 units seized in 2010. However, as previously mentioned, seizures of cured marijuana increased.

High profile organized crime gangs continued to successfully operate within Jamaica. Gang leaders are often afforded community and, in some cases, police protection. Despite this dichotomy there was an increase in drug-related arrests in 2010, with 10,255 arrests, compared to 6,346 in 2009. The only high profile figure arrested in 2010 was Christopher Coke.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

According to the JCF, marijuana is used by nine percent of the population making it the most abused illicit drug among Jamaicans, while cocaine abuse has reached a plateau of less than 0.1 percent of the population over the last 10 years. However, there is evidence that new drugs, such as heroin and ecstasy, have entered the Jamaican domestic market in small amounts.

To combat this illicit use of drugs, Jamaica has several demand reduction programs. The Ministry of Health’s National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) was established by statute in 1982 to reduce the use and abuse of legal and illegal drugs. NCDA field officers also provide support to the primary care system through the assessment of substance abusers in the mental health system. The GOJ’s National Health Fund (NHF) has established and funded 18 community medical clinics across the island, primarily through faith based institutions, that provide primary treatment services with referrals to hospitals, clinics, physicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Additionally, the clinics provide drug-related counseling and trauma services. The GOJ also operates one detoxification center located at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston. The GOJ/Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) university-level certificate program in drug addiction and drug prevention remains active. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) works directly with the GOJ and NGOs on demand reduction; however, due to limited resources, these programs have little impact.

The competent authority for the control of pharmaceuticals is the Ministry of Health. The GOJ’s General Medical Council, established by law, regulates the conduct of health professionals. The NCDA, the Pharmacy Council, and the Ministry of Health with USG support, have worked to expand awareness among health professionals about the potential danger of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine when they are diverted to produce methamphetamine. The Ministry of Health has tightened its controls over the importation of pseudoephedrine, both in powder and final product forms. The NCDA collaborates with other non-profit organizations, such as RISE Life Management Services, to provide non-residential drug counseling services.

4. Corruption

As a matter of policy, the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) does not facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic, psychotropic drugs, or other controlled substances. However, corruption of public officials continues to be of major concern to the GOJ, the USG, and most Jamaicans. The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, corruption is entrenched, widespread, and compounded by a judicial system that is poorly equipped to handle complex criminal prosecutions in a timely manner. Corruption undermines efforts against drug and other major crimes and is a major factor in allowing the passage of drugs and drug proceeds through Jamaica. However, an improving anti-corruption stance within Jamaican customs enforcement, the JCF, the Jamaica Tax Administration, and the Office of the Contractor General has shown encouraging signs. In addition, the USAID-supported National Integrity Action Forum that was launched in 2009 has helped focus increased public and government attention on anti-corruption reforms.

The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the JCF has the responsibility of identifying high-level officers engaged in corruption. This branch is endorsed by the Commissioner of Police and headed by a police officer recruited from the United Kingdom. The ACB continues to have success in identifying and removing corrupt GOJ officials. Since the ACB’s inception in September 2008, 250 JCF personnel have been dismissed for unethical and corrupt behavior as a result of its efforts, with 188 of those dismissed in 2010. The GOJ now requires senior police officers to sign employment contracts that improve accountability and facilitate the speedy dismissal of corrupt police officers. The JCF is also addressing corruption through its CBP program. Through public advocacy and information programs, it is working to achieve a culture change among citizens that reverses the acceptability of government corruption. In comparison to the JCF, the JDF has been more effective in identifying and responding to corruption within its ranks. The JDF, while not immune from corruption, has taken swift disciplinary action when warranted in furtherance of its zero tolerance policy.

A bill creating an Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor was drafted in 2009 and remains under review prior to introduction before Parliament. There has not been legislative action to create a National Anti-corruption Agency which is required by the Inter-American Convention against Corruption to which Jamaica is a signatory.

Jamaica’s progress in battling corruption was reflected in the modest improvement of its rating in the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) that measures public perception of corruption and is published annually by Transparency International. Jamaica improved its global ranking (with the number one country being perceived as least corrupt) from 99 in 2009 to 87 in 2010. Within the Americas, Jamaica improved its CPI ranking among those 28 countries from 21 in 2009 to 16 in 2010. Jamaica was also identified as one of 10 countries worldwide that recorded an improvement in its score.

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

The USG supports counternarcotics projects in Jamaica designed to increase the capacity of its law enforcement agencies in order to reduce the trafficking of illicit narcotics through Jamaica. The USG seeks to sustain improvements in law enforcement capabilities through modernization and professionalization of the JCF while maintaining a strong and corruption-free law enforcement institution. Narcotics trafficking, corruption, and crime undermine the rule of law and democratic governance. Supporting Jamaica’s transformation into a more secure, democratic, and prosperous partner represents a major U.S. policy goal. USG-supported programs in Jamaica also promote the recognition of the linkages between drugs, gangs, poverty, unemployment, and government corruption.

The Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs is represented through the Embassy’s Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) augmented by the efforts of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Through these offices, the USG enters bilateral agreements with the GOJ intended to implement programs to enhance the capacity of Jamaica’s criminal justice sector, as well as complement programs run by USG law enforcement agencies operating in Jamaica.

In 2010, the USG provided training and material support to elements of the JCF and JDF to strengthen their counternarcotics and anti-corruption capabilities. This support also improved the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of organized crime by assisting the GOJ with vetting of specialized units within the JCF. The Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team (JFAT) received specialized training, equipment, guidance, and operational support from the U.S. Marshals permanently stationed in Kingston. The U.S. Marshals opened 77 new cases and closed 88 cases involving U.S. fugitives. In coordination with the U.S. Marshals, Jamaican authorities made 15 arrests and extradited ten individuals to the U.S. during the year.

Beginning in September 2010, Department of State funding for counternarcotics efforts in Jamaica was administered through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). CBSI contains both bilateral and regional funding mechanisms. The allocation of regional funds will be guided by technical working groups established within the CBSI structure that will commence deliberations in 2011. The regional component of CBSI will be instrumental in achieving USG goals in Jamaica, since the challenges it faces are largely shared by its neighbors. The GOJ is in the nascent stages of sharing some of its primary radar data with the USG as part of a broader regional initiative that would allow for sharing of illicit trafficking data.

Other USG departments work in concert with the Department of State’s initiatives in Jamaica. The Department of Justice is represented through the DEA, FBI, and the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Department of Homeland Security is represented through the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the National Programs and Protections Directorate (NPPD). Additionally, the Department of Defense’s U.S. Army Southern Command is represented through the Military Liaison Office and the Tactical Analysis Team.

The USCG provided the JDF Coast Guard resident, mobile, and on-the-job training in maritime law enforcement, engineering and maintenance, port security, and leadership and management. ICE’s office in Kingston supports a 41-person JCF vetted unit with investigative responsibility over violations of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), weapons smuggling, human trafficking, human smuggling, money laundering, and fraud investigations.

D. Conclusion

The GOJ has publicly pledged to tackle Jamaica’s widespread and growing gang, crime, and corruption problems. The proposed comprehensive program will strengthen criminal laws and the criminal prosecution process, improve government processes to better detect and punish corruption, and enhance the government’s accountability to citizens and Parliament. Several measures to implement this commitment were passed in 2010 and are under consideration by Parliament or are in the drafting stage with assistance from USAID.

The JCF Commissioner’s active and unrelenting work to remove the entrenched corruption within the JCF ranks is also encouraging. Likewise, some well-publicized prosecutions of government officials for corruption offenses are a positive sign. However, gang-led violent crime and corruption will continue to pose a significant threat to social stability in Jamaica and the region. We encourage the GOJ to increase its collaboration with the USG and other regional partners, to adopt the proposed comprehensive anti-gang law, and to maintain and enhance its efforts to detect, prosecute, and punish corruption.

Maintaining the independence of the Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor, the JCF’s Anti-Corruption Branch, the Police Civilian Oversight Authority, and the Financial Investigative Division while providing them with the resources and political backing to undertake their tasks is also critical to successful outcomes. Firm and unequivocal GOJ support for the Commissioner of Police to implement the reform recommendations of the Ministry of National Security’s Strategic Review of the JCF will help to ensure a professional and non-corrupt organization.


A. Introduction

Drug control in Japan is primarily a problem of domestic drug consumption; illicit drugs do not transit Japan, nor are they generally manufactured in Japan for markets abroad. Methamphetamine and stimulant abuse remains the biggest challenge to Japanese counternarcotics efforts; over 80 percent of all drug arrests in Japan involve methamphetamine or amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). Marijuana continues to become more popular and other drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy), cocaine, and heroin are available, but much less prevalent.

According to Japanese authorities, almost all illegal drugs consumed in Japan are imported from overseas, usually by Japanese or foreign organized crime syndicates. Methamphetamine is smuggled primarily from Iran, Mexico and Africa. The primary source countries for marijuana are Canada and the United States; domestic cannabis cultivation is on the rise, but remains on a small scale. There are several examples in the last twelve months where methamphetamine was being produced in Japan; however, no consistent trend of manufacture has been established or identified to date. There has been no evidence of the domestic manufacture of any other synthetic drugs in Japan over the same period. However, there have been several seizures of liquid methamphetamine solution at some of Japan’s international airports which indicates that some refining of the final product is occurring in Japan. There is also some unconfirmed anecdotal evidence that small quantities of MDMA-ecstasy may be being produced in Japan.

While Japanese law enforcement officers are well-trained and equipped, proactive law enforcement efforts are at times hindered by customary practices and bureaucratic obstacles. Despite these problems, Japanese authorities continue to conduct complex drug investigations both independently and in cooperation with international counterparts such as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Japan is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Methamphetamine and stimulant abuse remains the biggest challenge to Japanese counterdrug efforts. Japan is one of the largest and most lucrative markets in Asia for methamphetamine, which represents a significant source of income for Japanese organized crime syndicates. Over 80 percent of the drug arrests in Japan are related to methamphetamine.

Japan continues to be targeted by myriad domestic and international drug trafficking organizations. The majority of the methamphetamine consumed within the country is imported from Iran, Africa, Mexico, and, to a lesser extent, Taiwan and China. There also appears to be a very limited amount being produced domestically. In June 2010 Japanese law enforcement authorities seized an operational methamphetamine laboratory in the Tokyo metropolitan area that was operated by two Iranian residents of Japan.

The second most-abused drug in Japan continues to be marijuana. Much like methamphetamine, the sources for most of the marijuana are outside Japan. There is some limited domestic cultivation, though the seeds are usually purchased from overseas suppliers via the internet. The seeds are then shipped or smuggled into the country via parcel and courier services. The domestic plantations range from rudimentary outdoor operations to very sophisticated indoor hydroponic operations. During the year the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s Narcotics Control Department seized a 1,400-plant hydroponic operation operated by Vietnamese immigrants in Kobe.

MDMA-ecstasy, cocaine and heroin are consumed on a far smaller scale. Japanese authorities have reported that these drugs are mostly abused by foreign groups that live in Japan and that these drugs are rarely consumed by Japanese.

Japanese law enforcement officers are well-trained and equipped, but proactive law enforcement efforts are often hindered by legal hurdles (both real and perceived) and bureaucratic obstacles. During the year there were several instances when U.S. law enforcement agencies provided actionable intelligence related to drug trafficking and money laundering organizations operating in Japan. The failure of Japanese law enforcement to act on these leads allowed very effective criminal organizations to gain a strong hold in the country and, in many instances, to virtually operate with impunity. In addition, very little information or criminal intelligence is shared among national, prefectural and foreign law enforcement agencies.

While these hurdles frustrated rapid, general advances in drug law enforcement efforts during the year, a few Japanese law enforcement agencies made notable achievements combating drug trafficking. Japan Customs was effective in identifying inbound drug shipments and made numerous significant seizures at international airports and seaports. They were very receptive to and acted on investigative leads provided by the international law enforcement communities. In addition, the Narcotics Control Department has taken a proactive approach to drug law enforcement and is conducting longer term and more complex drug investigations. This is a considerable accomplishment given the scope of the department’s area of responsibility, diversity of its missions and the relatively small size of its staff. Japanese authorities also continued to conduct drug investigations both independently and in cooperation with international counterparts such as the DEA and ICE, as well as other international law enforcement agencies posted in Japan.

The United States and Japanese governments have an effective line of communication with regard to the extradition of drug offenders. In addition, the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty process is effective and often utilized.

2. Supply Reduction

The GOJ hosts several regional and domestic conferences in an attempt to advance international enforcement coordination efforts to combat both domestic and international drug trafficking. These conferences are often attended by numerous drug enforcement and criminal investigative units representing Asian countries and countries of other regions. In addition, both the Narcotics Control Department and Japan Customs are proactive in pursuing training opportunities provided by foreign law enforcement agencies, which help to enhance their enforcement capabilities. The new procedures taught in these courses are reviewed and sometimes incorporated into current Japanese enforcement procedures.

Through October 2010, law enforcement agencies within Japan had seized 301.6 kilograms of methamphetamine; 85.9 kilograms of marijuana and over 1,500 live marijuana plants; 8.5 kilograms of hashish; 16,839 dosage units of MDMA; 200 grams of heroin; 2.6 kilograms of cocaine and 3.7 kilograms of opium.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction and Treatment

Drug treatment in Japan is currently handled mostly by small, privately-run programs without nationwide treatment criteria. While the government provides support services for addicts at prefectural consultation centers, it does not directly operate treatment or rehabilitation programs except within penal institutions. On a voluntary basis, addicts may choose to undergo short-term inpatient withdrawal treatment at general hospitals; outpatient follow-up is available at the discretion of physicians and patients. Outpatient psychiatric services are also available for abusers of hallucinogens. An NGO network that supports 58 independent facilities nationwide provides drug withdrawal programs as well as psychological assistance for about 600 recovering addicts. The Japanese government is researching a more formal, country-wide rehabilitation and treatment approach, but has not publicly released concrete plans for implementing any such new methods.

Japan has additional programs for supporting drug and alcohol rehabilitation to convicted offenders and juveniles in protective custody. With support from private institutions, recurrence prevention and addiction education were provided to over 200 juveniles in protective custody. Prisons in the country, working with NGOs, run rehabilitation programs, including drug withdrawal assistance and group therapy, for drug offenders; more than 4,000 prisoners participated in these programs in 2009. A cognitive behavior therapy-based program was provided through probation offices to 1308 convicted drug offenders on parole or probation in 2009. This latter group was also encouraged to take regular drug tests and more than 7600 such tests were completed in 2009. Educational seminars were offered for family members of drug offenders on how to help recovering addicts resist recurrences. While the effectiveness of these programs has not been studied, the recidivism rate for stimulant drug offenders was 57.8 percent in 2009.

Government-funded drug awareness campaigns, designed to inform school-age children about the dangers of drug abuse, increased significantly in 2009. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) reported that drug abuse prevention classes were held in 73 percent of the country’s middle schools and over 75 percent of high schools, compared to 58 and 64 percent, respectively, in 2008. More than half of Japan’s elementary schools also held drug abuse prevention classes in 2009. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, along with other government agencies, prefectural governments and private organizations, continues to administer national publicity campaigns and to promote drug education programs at the community level.

4. Corruption

There were no reported cases of Japanese officials being involved in drug-related corruption in Japan in 2010. The government does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

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

The Headquarters for the Promotion of Measures to Prevent Drug Abuse, which is part of the Prime Minister’s Office, supervises the implementation of Japan’s Five-Year Drug Abuse Prevention Strategy. Implementation began in 2008, and includes measures to strengthen both inter-agency and public-private coordination to help prevent relapse into drug abuse. The Strategy also promotes increased measures to combat organized crime and illicit drug trafficking. In July 2010, an inter-agency committee released an interim progress report on achievements of the current five-year strategy as well as a plan to accelerate the government’s drug abuse prevention strategy.

There have not been any significant changes or additions to the government’s anti-drug efforts in the last year. Japanese law enforcement has utilized the same enforcement and investigative techniques, with acceptable levels of success. Japan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and has signed, but not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Corruption. It has signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its three protocols but, as it lacks an anti-conspiracy law, cannot ratify the UNTOC. An extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty are in force between the United States and Japan.

U.S. goals and objectives include strengthening law enforcement cooperation related to controlled deliveries and drug-related money-laundering investigations; supporting increased use of existing anticrime legislation and advanced investigative tools against drug traffickers; and promoting substantive involvement from government agencies responsible for financial transaction oversight and control of money-laundering operations.

The DEA and ICE Attaché offices in Tokyo will continue to work closely with Japanese counterparts to offer support in conducting investigations on international drug trafficking, money laundering, and other crimes. Without the political impetus needed to change laws that restrict the tools available for drug investigations, law enforcement efforts alone will not succeed in making Japan an equal partner in international counternarcotics efforts.

D. Conclusion

Japanese government policy makers and officials are proactive in their approach to interdiction and are cognizant of the changes in the drug trafficking trends within the country and the region. Japanese law enforcement agencies utilize effective, but basic, drug law enforcement techniques. The lack of authorization in Japanese law for other drug law enforcement tools and the absence of anti-conspiracy laws hinder law enforcement’s effectiveness to effectively pursue complex drug investigations to conclusion.


Jordan’s geographical location between drug producing and drug consuming countries continues to make it primarily a transit point for illicit drugs. Jordan is bordered by Israel and the West Bank on the west, Syria on the north, and Iraq and Saudi Arabia to the east. Most of Jordan’s borders are difficult to effectively patrol. The stationary posts along these areas lack the equipment and infrastructure to effectively patrol and monitor border traffic. For this reason the Jordanian Public Security Directorate (PSD) believes that the amount of drugs transiting through Jordan continues to grow. Following a familiar pattern for drug transit countries, there have been recent anecdotal reports suggesting possible increases in drug use in Jordan itself. Historically, Jordanians do not consume significant quantities of illegal drugs, and according to the PSD there are no known production operations in the country. Enforcement statistics for the first nine months of 2010 show a slight decrease in total drug cases compared to 2009. The number of persons involved and the number of drug abusers are also slightly lower than in 2009. The PSD attributes these decreases to Jordan’s enhanced rehabilitation programs, increased border interdiction operations, better intelligence gathering, and stronger cooperation between Jordan and neighboring countries. One significant cause of the drop in apparent drug crime and abuse is the increased cooperation between the PSD and the Israeli National Police on narcotics related matters. The drugs of choice among users, arrested for drug possession in Jordan, continue to be cannabis and heroin, and to a lesser degree, captagon. The age range for people arrested for drug related crimes is predominantly between 18 and 35 years old. The PSD continues to see a rise in drug trafficking through its border regions, especially with Iraq and Syria. However, drugs transiting through the Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) appeared to decrease in 2010. During the first nine months of 2010 there was a significant decrease in the amount of cocaine seized by the PSD as compared to 2009. During the same period in 2010, there was a slight increase in the amount of heroin seized by the PSD as compared to 2009. Nevertheless, when compared to historical figures for the past five years, this year’s increase does not seem so substantial. For the moment, this increase should not be considered a notable trend in trafficking through Jordan. Jordan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

Jordan’s vast desert borders make it vulnerable to illicit drug smuggling operations. Jordanian authorities do not believe that internal drug distribution is substantial; they believe most drugs entering Jordan are moving to markets elsewhere.

Jordan’s PSD maintains an active counternarcotics bureau and has established excellent relations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Nicosia Country Office. Compared to 2009, the PSD-AND-(Anti-Narcotics Directorate) has seen a decrease in cocaine and other drug trafficking through QAIA. During the first nine months of 2010, seizures of captagon tablets decreased substantially compared to 2009. However, PSD claims the vast majority of captagon is destined for the Gulf States, primarily Saudi Arabia. The PSD reports that 85 percent of all seized illicit drugs coming into Jordan are bound for export to other countries in the region. This is evident as the PSD-AND conducted 15 international controlled deliveries during the first nine months of 2010 with Syria and Saudi Arabia, which resulted in total seizures of 755 kilograms of hashish and 5,429,790 captagon tablets, respectively.

Drugs moving through Jordan include: cannabis entering from Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq; Afghan heroin entering through Syria on its way to Israel; and captagon tablets from Bulgaria and Turkey entering through Syria on the way to the Gulf. The majority of Jordan’s drug seizures take place at the Jaber border crossing point between Jordan and Syria. Cooperative efforts between the PSD-AND and the Israeli National Police have resulted in positive outcomes with regard to heroin seizures along the Israeli border.

Jordan remains primarily a narcotics transit country. Jordan’s main challenge in stemming the flow of illicit drugs through the country remains its vast and open desert borders. PSD-AND reports, however, that drug detection at QAIA is more effective due to increased levels of training and new drug detection methods. While law enforcement contacts confirm continued excellent cooperation with Jordan’s neighbors, the desolate border regions and the various tribes, with centuries-old traditions of smuggling as a principal source of income, make interdiction outside of the ports of entry difficult. None of the narcotics transiting Jordan are believed to be destined for the United States.

The Jordanian Government neither encourages nor facilitates illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, or other controlled substances, nor the laundering of related proceeds.

The DEA Nicosia Country Office, Regional Security Office Amman, and the PSD have an excellent working relationship. In April 2010, the DEA provided an Airport/Highway Narcotics Interdiction Seminar to approximately 35 members of the PSD in Amman, Jordan. Also, in September 2010, the DEA Nicosia Country Office invited two high ranking members of the PSD-AND to attend an International Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Seminar in Nicosia, Cyprus. All of the training was extremely well received by the PSD-AND and efforts will be made in 2011 to expand on these programs. DEA international training anticipates more training in Jordan during 2011.


A. Introduction

While primarily a transit country for drugs bound for Europe, Kazakhstan increasingly is becoming an active consumer of Afghan opiates. Kazakhstan also harvests and markets wild-grown marijuana, ephedra, and opium poppies. In 2010, the government of Kazakhstan developed new approaches in the fight against drug trafficking and consumption, focused its attention on the disruption of supply, strengthened its southern border, and supported demand reduction with drug treatment programs. Law enforcement agencies also acknowledged publicly that civil society, NGOs, and mass media are essential partners in the effort against narcotics trafficking.

Kazakhstan's geographic position and transportation infrastructure have made it a major transit country for narcotics, and its increasing wealth has led to increased domestic drug consumption. The country lies along the so-called “Northern Route” – a loose collection of roads and highways used to smuggle cannabis and opiates from Afghanistan to Russia and Europe via Central Asia. The main drugs consumed in Kazakhstan are marijuana and heroin. Kazakhstan also harvests and markets wild-grown marijuana, ephedra, and opium poppies on more than 1.2 million hectares in the Almaty, Zhambyl, Southern Kazakhstan, Kyzylorda, and East Kazakhstan oblasts. This year, due to warm temperatures, marijuana with high levels of THC also grew on 22 hectares of illicitly cultivated land in Uralsk, western Kazakhstan.

In January 2010, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus formed a Customs Union. This new customs area will increase pressure on Kazakhstan to strengthen its southern border in order to prevent trafficking of drugs and other contraband in the unified economic zone. To this end, the government of Kazakhstan in 2010 allocated KZT 16.5 billion (about $112 million) to strengthen its southern border. Despite increased government funding to secure the border, it remains porous for drug trafficking, and this year the government has arrested citizens of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia, as well as Kazakhstan, for narcotics trafficking.

On September 2010 President Nazarbayev signed legislation that proposes a 15 percent reduction in the number of government employees. This includes a reduction of 9300 employees of law enforcement agencies, primarily among mid-level management and office workers rather than street-level police officers. The resultant loss of experienced law enforcement management staff will in the near term prevent an anticipated expansion of the Ministry of Interior (MVD) Counternarcotics Training Center in Almaty and other law enforcement initiatives.

Kazakhstan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and is also party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Treaties

1. Institutional Development

Many drug-related cases are not successfully prosecuted because, under long-standing practice, the Ministry of Interior (MVD) Committee on Combating Drugs (CN Committee) must transfer cases to the MVD's Investigation Committee for investigation and prosecution. The CN Committee, which knows the case best, lacks the authority to prosecute it. However, in August 2010, President Nazarbayev signed a decree to reform and demilitarize Kazakhstan's law-enforcement institutions. The CN Committee has proposed that it be given investigative and prosecution responsibility under this reform. Based on UN recommendations and positive results in some European countries, the MVD's CN Committee is also developing a draft law to provide treatment instead of incarceration for drug-addicted criminals

Under the new reform, MVD regional counternarcotics divisions will now report directly to the Counternarcotics Committee, which will give that Committee better information, access, and resources. The Committee for National Security (KNB) is responsible for investigation of drug-related crimes that pose a direct threat to national security. The Border Guard Service, a branch of the KNB, will continue drug searches of persons and vehicles on the border.

The Ministry of Interior's CN Committee, in existence since 2004, coordinates the counternarcotics work of ministries, agencies, and NGOs. It works with international organizations and conducts anti-drug information campaigns and other demand-reduction activities.

The CN Committee has introduced new performance indicators based on quantity of drug seizures. This year it closed several internal checkpoints that had been supported by UNODC and located on the main arterial roads of the country, after it determined that the checkpoints did not seize sufficient amounts of drugs to justify their cost, and might be vulnerable to corruption. The CN Committee diverted the equipment from those checkpoints to oblast-level counternarcotics divisions. It maintains these divisions in every oblast as well as in the cities of Astana and Almaty, and has two special divisions, "South" in the city of Shymkent, and "Delta-Dolina" in the Zhambyl oblast. The latter is the interregional special division that controls trafficking of wild-growing marijuana in the Chu Valley (Zhambyl oblast) and in Almaty oblast.

The Interagency Counternarcotics Training Center of the MVD Academy in Almaty has been one of the most important resources for providing law enforcement agencies with qualified specialists in the fight against illicit drug trafficking. Its training events help to establish professional relationships and cooperation among the staff of the various agencies.

As part of its planning to take advantage of the new Customs Union, Kazakhstan has proposed to harmonize legislation to create a unified list of narcotics, psychotropic substances and precursors subject to control. If successful, the effort would establish mechanisms for law enforcement interaction in such joint operations as controlled delivery, and encourage cooperation by all competent agencies from the member countries with their respective Financial Intelligence Units and with the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG).

In order to strengthen the outer border of the Customs Union, the government reconstructed border checkpoints and built new posts on the border with China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The government spent KZT 500 million (about $3.4 million) for each of these posts. From 2010 to 2012, the Border Guard Service will construct barriers around the actual patrolled border crossing points to improve results.

Kazakhstan hosts the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Center (CARICC). The government of Kazakhstan relies extensively on CARICC as the organization that coordinates efforts of interested law enforcement agencies and the international community. CARICC has become a good platform for information exchange and coordination of counternarcotics interaction of competent services and multilateral organizations including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CST)), Interpol and Europol. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration became an observer at CARICC in September.

Law-enforcement agencies in Kazakhstan cooperate, under the terms of intergovernmental interagency agreements, with the Drug Control Agencies of the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Russia, and Uzbekistan. The agencies of these countries conduct joint operations, investigations, demand-reduction programs, and exchange of operative information and methodologies.

Kazakhstan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Kazakhstan is also party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

2. Supply Reduction

Kazakhstan actively fights drug trafficking and works with neighboring countries to share information and conduct joint controlled delivery operations. In 2010, law-enforcement agencies focused their attention primarily on breaking up criminal networks and during the first nine months of the year, the MVD's counternarcotics divisions dismantled seven organized criminal groups.

During the first nine months of 2010, law enforcement registered 7189 drug-related crimes. The MVD accounted for 94.6 percent of these cases. 2158 drug-related crimes were sales-related cases, 1944 (90%) of which were registered by the MVD. All law enforcement agencies combined detected 185 drug contraband cases, a 10.2 percent decline from the same period in 2009.

During the same time period, the government seized 24.6 tons of drugs, including 23.7 tons of marijuana (3.3 percent more than last year) and 252.6 kilograms (kg) of heroin (60.6 percent less than last year). Law enforcement agencies arrested 4,900 individuals (10.5 percent less than last year). The number of women arrested for drug-related crimes decreased by 2.9 percent (from 556 to 540) and the number of minors by 73.1 percent (from 26 to 7).

The largest source of marijuana production in Kazakhstan is in the Chu Valley in the Zhambyl oblast, where wild marijuana with high THC levels grows on an estimated 144,000 hectares. Experts estimate that 145,000 metric tons of marijuana or as much 6000 tons of hashish could be produced annually from this area. There are businesses interested in producing medicinal marijuana in this area, but the government suspects their motives and continues to prohibit it.

In January, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Health introduced a prohibition on the trafficking of some new synthetic drugs The decree focused on synthetic marijuana-type preparations, with colorful names like: "Genie," "Smoke relax your mind," "Rush," "Damiana chocolate," "Effya," and "Spice." These drugs contain substances with psychotropic effects similar to those from tetrahydrocannabidinol (THC) the effective ingredient of marijuana. The level of THC equivalent varies from 0.1 to 24 per cent.

Kazakhstan law enforcement agencies conducted a large-scale operation—"Kendir-2010" (Poppy-2010)—from June 1 to October 30. Despite its name, the operation aimed primarily to dismantle criminal groups involved in harvest and distribution of marijuana. The operation resulted in the detection of 3229 drug-related crimes, including 851 cases of sales, 45 cases of contraband, and seizures of 19 tons of different drugs, including 73.5 kilos of heroin.

During the first nine months of 2010, the MVD conducted 13 controlled deliveries, including three implemented jointly with Russian counterparts. These operations resulted in the seizure of 150 kg of various drugs

Kazakhstan this year strengthened controls at auto checkpoints on its borders with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The strengthened auto checkpoints have caused drug couriers to avoid the checkpoints and travel by train and by boat. The Border Guard Service and Customs Service have seized heroin and hashish on the railroad routes between Bishkek-Moscow, Bishkek-Novosibirsk, Dushanbe-Moscow, Khudzhant-Saratov, and Almaty-Atyrau. Most of those involved in trafficking are from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, and Kazakhstan. Police also interdicted drugs along a route from East-Kazakhstan oblast to Almaty. This is unusual, since most narcotics trafficking in Kazakhstan goes from south to north, and the Russian and Chinese borders are significantly closer to East Kazakhstan than is Almaty. However, this route is attractive because of higher drug prices in Almaty, and the ability to avoid another border crossing.

In June 2008, the Kazakhstani government increased penalties for narcotics trafficking. The new law provides for life imprisonment for serious drug-related crimes, including trafficking in large quantities, participation in drug-related crimes as part of a criminal organization, sale of drugs in educational institutions and/or to minors, and sale or distribution of drugs resulting in death. Since introduction of the new legislation, about 100 drug dealers have received sentences of 12 to 15 years, nine to 20 years, and one received a life sentence.

Law enforcement agencies have sought to use the mass media to increase public awareness about drug-related convictions, in the hope that this will discourage others from getting involved in drug trafficking. However, despite such a campaign and strengthened legislation, difficult economic conditions and an unstable political situation in Central Asia make many citizens of the region desperate to earn money by any means.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

In 2005, the government of Kazakhstan launched a 2006-2014 strategy to combat drug addiction and trafficking. For 2010-11 the government allocated KZT 795 million ($5.4 million) for this purpose. The government agencies plan to implement computer-based training programs in schools and increase the number of projects with NGOs. The program will also strengthen treatment and rehabilitation for drug addicts.

During the first nine months of the year, the Ministry of Health registered 51,366 drug-addicted individuals, 8.58 percent fewer than last year. The most common addictions are for opioids (heroin and opium), with about 30,000 regular users (58.5%); cannabioids (hashish, marijuana), 12,200 (23.7%); psychotropic substances, 4000 (including 20 users of MDMA), then precursors and other toxic substances, 3100. 611 registered addicts died, up from 590 in 2009. The number of drug-addicted youth (ages 14 to 30) decreased by 6.4 percent (from 29,572 to 27,656). The number of minors among drug addicts decreased by 19.1 percent (from 3,939 to 3,188). The number of drug-addicted women decreased by 6.7 percent (from 4,598 to 4,162).

The Ministry of Health launched a pilot project to test methadone therapy in Pavlodar and Temirtau, with 50 participants. Funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the project provides patients with medical and psychological treatment. The project appears to have been successful with some of the participants. It will end in 2010 and the government must decide whether or not to continue methadone therapy in Kazakhstan.

The Government of Kazakhstan continues to conduct activities on primary prevention of drug addiction among the population. The government has established Narcoposts in 5020 schools. These are groups that provide drug-prevention counseling and treatment, using psychologists, doctors, local counternarcotics officers, teachers, and students. These groups organize lectures, round tables, and competitions, and provide medical examinations, psychological consultations, and peer counseling. Help lines are also available to receive calls.

The CN Committee created a web-site with information on demand reduction activities, and success stories about the battle against drug trafficking. The site includes a question and answer page, where specialists answer questions submitted by visitors to the site. The Commission on the Coordination of Work on Demand Reduction and Combat Against Drug Trafficking, established by the government in 2003, monitors the work of all relevant government agencies and provides recommendations for further counternarcotics education. The Commission reported that relevant agencies took measures this year to improve the registration system for drug addicts and improved equipping and staffing of the treatment services in the regions.

National mass media distribute information on the battle against drug trafficking. They regularly publish articles about police operations and drug-demand reduction campaigns. The MVD publishes the magazines Narkopost and Future without Drugs. The Ministry of Education and Science introduced special demand reduction curricula at schools, which include lectures by treatment experts, psychologists, and police. State-INL is in preliminary discussions with DARE International about establishment of a DARE program in Kazakhstan in 2011.

4. Corruption

There is no evidence that the government of Kazakhstan encourages or facilitates the illicit production or distribution of narcotics or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances

There have been no cases this year of senior government officials engaged in the illicit production or distribution of drugs. However, the Department of Interior of the South Kazakhstan oblast in Shymkent arrested a 54-year old employee of the Tax Committee for attempting to sell 60 grams of heroin.

The MVD actively fights narco-corruption in its ranks, vets its recruits, and the MVD's division of internal security investigates crimes committed by police.

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

Both the Department of Defense (Office of Military Cooperation) and State-INL sponsor counternarcotics programs conducted by Kazakhstani law enforcement agencies. In 2010 INL funded a series of events that included extensive train-the-trainer courses in Austria, a Regional Canine Competition in Kazakhstan for law enforcement agencies, and other workshops in Kazakhstan. Two instructors trained in Austria from the Military Institute of the KNB trained approximately 50 canine officers from the Border Guards Service in 2010. Law enforcement agencies have informed INL of increased seizures of drugs by canine teams trained in the Austrian methods. INL-sponsored training events have also inspired regional law enforcement agencies to continue and expand such programs with their own funding.

One constraint faced by law enforcement agencies in canine training is the inability to use real narcotics, due to a lack of availability and an inability to provide secure storage and control. Previously, when law enforcement agencies used real drugs for training of dogs, some drugs were substituted and sold. Law enforcement agencies therefore prefer to use substitutes than to be responsible for possible loss or theft of real drugs. At the same time, European and U.S. canine experts train their canines with real drugs, which increases the likelihood of successful searches and seizures.

In July, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) opened an office at the Consulate General in Almaty. DEA deployed agents to conduct training on undercover operations and investigation of drug-related crimes. Kazakhstani law enforcement agencies have shown considerable enthusiasm for DEA-provided counternarcotics training.

The USG continues to work with the MVD's Counternarcotics Training Center to organize future training events, and plans to discuss with the directors of other MVD training centers the possibility of staging counternarcotics workshops in other regions of Kazakhstan.

D. Conclusion

Kazakhstan's large territory and location astride natural trafficking routes to Russia and China make it a natural transit corridor for narcotics. Due in part to the expectations raised by its membership in the new regional Customs Union and its 2010 OSCE Chairmanship, the government found the resources and the political will to increase control over its border and its capacity to interdict narcotics trafficking during 2010. The government also has taken encouraging steps with regard to drug demand reduction, rehabilitation and treatment, though these efforts are inadequate to address the growing need. President Nazarbayev's law enforcement reform initiative is designed to further clarify lines of authority and increase the efficiency of Kazakhstan's counternarcotics operations, though it is not clear how proposed staff reductions in law enforcement agencies will affect their performance. Law enforcement organizations remain receptive to U.S. training and assistance, and State INL intends to continue its cooperation with the government of Kazakhstan to enhance its counternarcotics capacity.


A. Introduction

The trafficking of narcotics in and through Kenya is a major and growing problem that has permeated all strata of the society. Drug trafficking is linked to the prevailing culture of impunity, and presents serious ramifications to the nation’s health, security, and stability. Kenya is a significant transit country for a host of illegal narcotics, including heroin and cocaine with an increasing portion of the trade being consumed domestically. Cannabis and miraa (khat) are grown domestically for both local use and export. Narcotics usage is spreading throughout the country from its original hubs in Nairobi and along the coast.

Stemming this flow of narcotics is an enormous challenge. Narcotics-trafficking is tied directly to the prevailing culture of impunity that has pervaded the senior political and business classes in Kenya since independence. Kenya’s leaders profess strong support for counternarcotics efforts, but this rhetoric has not translated into robust interdiction and prosecution of drug kingpins. Various officials are complicit in narcotics trafficking either through direct involvement, protection, or by abrogating their responsibility to combat it. Members of the Kenya drug trafficking networks are increasingly becoming involved in politics with some holding municipal or national office.

The threats of drug trafficking were highlighted in a speech by the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya in November which emphasized the need for action against well-known drug barons. The speech sparked widespread debate within political, business and religious circles and has led to statements by the government of Kenya that it would boost investigations and enforcement. However, no action has been taken yet against the major drug traffickers. Kenya is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

The Ministry for Provincial Administration and Internal Security has oversight for the government’s two main narcotics supply and demand reduction agencies: the Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) of the Kenya Police Service, which is the lead law enforcement agency responsible for combating drug trafficking, and the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) which co-ordinates public information campaigns against drug abuse and oversees rehabilitation services.

The Anti-Narcotics Unit, formed in 1983, is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act of 1994. Subsequent revisions have been made to the Act with input from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) regarding the seizure, analysis and disposal of narcotics. The ANU currently has about 100 specially trained officers in 22 police stations at airports, border crossing, transport hubs and major urban centers. According to Police Commissioner, Mathew Iteere, “The unit had been performing its duties well” until seven years ago when some changes were made.” Iteere announced in late 2010 that the ANU would be restructured to make it more effective in combating the drug menace in the country. This follows a President Kibaki directive calling for a shake-up of the anti-drug police. It is unclear, however, what changes will be made or how the unit will be strengthened.

In 2010, the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse Authority saw its share of upheaval with a number of senior officials resigning early in the year followed by the NACADA Board’s decision in October not to renew the contract of the CEO for a fifth year. Management issues notwithstanding, NACADA had some significant achievements this year. On April 1, 2010 NACADA formally released their Strategic Plan 2009-2010 along with a host of other key policy documents. These included the National Standards for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Persons with Substance Abuse Disorders, Guidelines for Developing Workplace Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policies. NACADA also launched a 24-hour helpline to provide information, basic counseling, and referrals to treatment facilities. In addition, NACADA developed a National Action Plan on Drugs and Substance Abuse based on the National Strategy. While both the National Strategy and the National Action Plan remain before the Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security for final approval, NACADA has implemented its key features regardless.

In addition to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, Kenya is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty remains in force between the United States and Kenya through a 1965 exchange of notes. Kenya is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols.

2. Supply Reduction

Kenya’s geographical location presents considerable challenges to supply reduction strategies. Traffickers exploit the traditional trade routes that have existed for centuries between South Asia and East Africa. Kenya’s long Indian Ocean coastline—which serves as the port of entry for east and central Africa—and its porous northern border with Somalia represent poorly guarded blind spots through which narcotics move with relative ease.

Heroin transits Kenya bound for Europe, the United States, as well as other parts of western and southern Africa. Drugs are transiting through Kenya to Indian Ocean states and territories including the Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, the Comoros, and Reunion. Over the past three years newer trans-Saharan drugs routes have developed between East and West Africa with heroin from South and Southwest Asia moving west and cocaine from South America moving east.

A significant number of Kenyan farmers illegally grow cannabis on a commercial basis for the domestic market. Fairly large-scale cannabis cultivation occurs in the Lake Victoria basin, in the central highlands around Mt. Kenya, and along the coast.

According to a 2010 NACADA report entitled Report of Survey on Drugs and Substance Abuse in Coast Province Kenya, Mombasa is the hub of drug supply to the other parts of the Coast region. The major drug barons dwell in the posh estates of Mombasa, and coordinate the importation and supply of their illegal merchandise within the region and beyond. Cannabis is mainly reported to come from upcountry and is transported to Mombasa either using public transport as normal luggage or in private vehicles. Drugs are also smuggled into Mombasa from Tanzania, through the largely un-inspected fishing sea ports. Drugs smuggled into the country from overseas through the two main international airports in Nairobi and Mombasa are then driven in VIP vehicles to Mombasa town. Drugs are smuggled into Lamu—mostly Cannabis—through the many landing points for fishermen along the coastline.

Despite the official estimate that a significant portion of the narcotics trafficked through Kenya originates on international sea vessels, ANU maritime interdiction capabilities are limited. Inspection personnel turnover at the ports is high, contributing to Kenya’s limited capability for maritime interdiction, and corruption continues to thwart the success of long-term port security training.

The NACADA report documents a number of mechanisms used to distribute drugs including school children, ambulance drivers (the coast general hospital area is a hot spot for peddlers) and VIP and government vehicles (given the ease with which they can escape inspection at roadblocks and intimidate law enforcement).

The number of arrests and prosecution for dealing in narcotics dropped sharply from 2009 to 2010. In all, around 1,350 were arrested in 2010 and prosecuted in court. In 2009, that same statistic (numbers arrested) was around 3,200. Only 12 of those arrested in 2010 were non-Kenyan. They included one Tanzanian, one Pakistani, one American, one German, four Somalis, two Ugandans, one Nigerian, and one South African. For both years around 95 percent of the cases were for marijuana and about 4 percent for heroin. Arrests for cocaine and psychotropic substances (rohypnol) were recorded but in negligible numbers.

Seizures of drugs increased dramatically from 2009 to 2010, but still only represent a tiny fraction of what is believed to transit in and through Kenya. The amount of heroin seized went from 8.5 kg in 2009 to 35.2 kg in 2010; for cocaine it went from 10 kg to 23 kg over the same period. Nearly all the cocaine came from a single bust in June of 2010 when police at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport found 21 kg on a Ugandan woman posing as a UN official. In October, just over 1 kilo was discovered at the Nairobi Post office. While the latter only represents a small seizure, it demonstrates a new capability by the Kenya authorities to monitor parcel shipments using sniffer dogs provided by the United States. Around 15,000 kg of marijuana were seized in 2010 which was roughly double the amount seized in 2009.

3. Drug Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

There are over 200,000 heroin addicts in the country, according to government and UN statistics. It is estimated that about 10 per cent of them are in Coast Province. This is more than any other country in Africa besides South Africa. Religious leaders have spoken out strongly against drug abuse and argue that every family on the coast has been touched by addiction.

According to the 2010 NACADA report, miraa (i.e., khat), marijuana, heroin and cocaine are the most commonly consumed drugs in descending order. Nearly 4.5 percent of Mombasa residents had consumed heroin at least once; most of those were between the ages of 18 and 28. Mombasa leads the province in drug use for most categories except marijuana which is more prevalent in Lamu. Fourteen percent of respondents said it was “easy to access” heroin or cocaine in Mombasa. Some heroin addicts have even resorted to “blood flashing” in which blood from one user who has just injected is collected and then injected into a second user. In focus groups assembled for the NACADA report, it emerged that in all the regions of Coast Province, there is an increased sense of desperation that use of drugs, especially cannabis, is “fast growing at an almost unstoppable rate,” according to respondents, and a majority of the them have the opinion that little is being done to stop the use of these drugs. The age at which people are beginning to use drugs has also decreased, and women are an increasing percentage of users. The threat of the spread of HIV/AIDS is obvious in many of the practices of intravenous drug abusers.

The cost of heroin is reported to be lower on the coast this year; there is consensus among experts that usage is price sensitive—the lower price attracts more users. Data collected by treatment centers on the coast and collated by the UNODC shows that the number of users counseled for drug use has increased at a steady rate.

Kenya is making some progress in efforts to institute programs for demand reduction, although NACADA’s budget remains inadequate to the challenge. NACADA has developed certification standards for drug treatment facilities and is implementing a licensing service to formalize the process. NACADA makes good use of the media and it has engaged at the local level in partnership with community-based organizations to air its counternarcotics abuse message. In one instance on the coast, however, some members of a community group were discovered to be involved in trafficking. NACADA quickly terminated that partnership.

Private rehabilitation facilities are too expensive for most Kenyans to access, and the few low-cost community run centers are unable to satisfy the demand for services. According to the NACADA report, only 14.9 percent of the respondents to the survey were aware of any drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities in their communities.

4. Corruption

Corruption remains an enormous barrier to effective narcotics enforcement. The prevailing culture of impunity is not limited to narcotics trafficking but pervades the government and society. Drug barons use proceeds to contribute to political campaigns and to buy influence with government officials, law enforcement officers, politicians, and the media.

Religious and civil society groups are increasingly demanding that the government address the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse. Members of Parliament consider the drug abuse problem significant enough to have requested a declaration of national emergency.

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

The March 2010 NACADA includes reports of drugs being seized by law enforcement officers and resurfacing in the community with the help of corrupt officials. There are also reports of the police arresting individuals to obtain bribes and suspects paying bribes after being arrested to avoid prosecution.

The “Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act No. 9” was gazetted in January 2010, but it has not been implemented. The USG urged the government to stand-up the implementing agencies as required by the new law and is prepared to provide appropriate expert assistance with implementation of the anti-money-laundering legislation.

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

U.S. bilateral cooperation with Kenya on counternarcotics matters is robust and continuing. The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Antiterrorism Assistance continues to train and equip maritime security patrol units. Graduates of this training are credited with a number of interdictions of boats which were transporting illegal narcotics.

The principal U.S. counternarcotics objective in Kenya is to interdict the flow of narcotics to the United States. A related objective is to limit the corrosive effects of narcotics-related corruption in law enforcement, the judiciary, and political institutions. The United States seeks to accomplish this objective through law enforcement cooperation, the encouragement of a strong Kenyan government commitment to narcotics interdiction, and the strengthening of Kenyan counternarcotics and overall judicial capabilities. In support of this effort, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is in the process of opening a country office in Nairobi. Personnel from the DEA Pretoria Country Office offered support to the Government of Kenya in counter-narcotics over the course of FY 2010.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has provided the Kenyan authorities, including the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Administration Police, with guidance, direction, and subject matter expertise in their efforts to create a Rural Border Patrol. Based on the U.S. model, there are currently four border patrol company-sized units that patrol the areas between border posts on the northern border, and will focus primarily on those areas between the recognized border-crossing-post.

The U.S. Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance conducted three iterations of an 11-week Comprehensive Maritime Security Training Consultation that included training modules on the search and seizure process for boats and ships relating to finding illegal narcotics. Participants were also trained to recognize a variety of substances and packaging. Trends in narcotic trafficking specific to the East Africa region were covered in this training. In 2010, 67 maritime security officers from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda received this specific instruction. ATA-trained cyber and cellular forensic investigators have successfully retrieved and analyzed digital evidence linking suspects to trafficking in narcotics, weapons, human trafficking and other criminal activities.

The U.S. Government is partnering with drug prevention and treatment organizations in Coast Province—such as the Reachout Centre Trust, the Tuonane Project, and the Omari Treatment Center—to aid communities in their struggle against the scourge of drug abuse. Reachout Centre Trust is a non-profit organization that provides preventive and interventional services to those affected by or vulnerable to alcohol and drug abuse. The Tuonane Project provides key services including an outreach program for drug and alcohol users, VCT, and outpatient addictions counseling through Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Millati Islami (MI) 12 step programs.

In partnership with NACADA, the US government provided training for drug abuse rehabilitation counselors that included a series of two-week workshops by U.S. treatment experts on specific selected counseling tools pertinent to residential treatment programs. In 2010, the USG continued a program with NACADA to develop a nation-wide certification system for addictions treatment counselors. U.S. experts trained a core group of Kenyan trainers who are now carrying the certification training process forward under the direction of NACADA.

D. Conclusion

The passage of a new constitution in August of 2010 offers the possibility of significant change in the culture of impunity — if the new constitution is fully implemented. In the meantime, the culture of impunity remains unchecked. This is directly linked to the lack of effective action against drug barons, and to the growth of narcotics trafficking in Kenya. Countering this problem is an essential element of broader efforts to promote reform and to bring about fundamental change in order to ensure a more stable democratic and prosperous future for all Kenyans.


A. Introduction

Kosovo is primarily a transit country for Afghan heroin destined for Europe, but Kosovo Police (KP) reports suggest that the country has a growing domestic narcotics problem. Kosovo faces challenges in combating narcotics trafficking due to porous borders and corruption among the Kosovo Border Police (KBP) and Customs officers. The KP continues its efforts to combat the drug trade, but it possesses limited resources, and counternarcotics are a low priority. The Kosovo Government, led by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) adopted its national counternarcotics strategy in July 2009, but has yet to allocate the resources to implement it fully.

Kosovo is not a significant narcotics producer. The KP has found some evidence of small-scale marijuana cultivation in rural areas, mostly in the form of plants mixed in with corn crops or cultivated in back yards. The police have also found some uncultivated marijuana plants growing wild in rural areas. The KP determine crop yield by counting individual plants, and the number of plants grown by any one producer is small enough to make this feasible. There have been a few reports of seizures of small quantities of precursor chemicals in Kosovo, but KP officials have found no evidence of narcotics refining or production labs.

Kosovo is primarily a transit country for Afghan heroin transiting from Turkey and for cocaine and marijuana coming through the Albanian and Montenegrin ports destined for Europe. The drugs are re-packaged at unknown sites within Kosovo into smaller amounts and then further transported in vehicles destined for European Union cities. Large shipments are transported mainly through the use of buses and trucks or through easy transit across the unprotected green borders with surrounding countries. The European Rule of Law mission (EULEX) and KP officials report many small movements of narcotics, such as two to five kilograms on one person or 10 to 20 kilograms in a bag on a bus. EULEX advisors have observed the KBP allowing buses to pass without search, and in some cases, without checking passports of the passengers. There are credible allegations of corruption among KBP and Customs officers on the borders. Larger-scale drug arrests by Kosovo Police and Kosovo Customs officials occur infrequently given the reported scale of drug smuggling.

The Kosovo Government continues its efforts to interdict and seize drugs transiting through Kosovo. There have been no significant changes in the methodology or tactics used by the Kosovo Police or customs agencies. Due to the issue of statehood status and a sense of mistrust in the Kosovo Police, there has been hesitation by surrounding countries to conduct joint investigations with Kosovo authorities. The KBP is set to begin policing the Kosovo border with Macedonia in early 2011, when KFOR (Kosovo Force-NATO-led International Peace Keeping Force) officially hands over responsibility.

Information on domestic narcotics consumption is gathered by UNICEF and NGO Labyrinth, which report that there is a growing local market and that illegal drug use is on the rise. Their statistics show that the levels of narcotics consumption among teenagers and university-aged young adults, the primary users, are close to those in most Western European countries. There are no reliable estimates of the number of drug users, but UNICEF places the figure at around 20,000. Of this number approximately, 5000-6000 are dependent intravenous drug users. Heroin use is responsible for the vast majority of dependent users referred for drug treatment. The number of cocaine users is increasing, and the cost of cocaine is decreasing on the local market. Kosovo has not yet become a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Kosovo made limited progress on counternarcotics policy initiatives in 2010. The country’s national counternarcotics strategy, developed by the MOIA, was released in July 2009 but has yet to be implemented, in part due to financial constraints. The new national strategy calls for better coordination among Kosovo Government organizations such as the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Education, and for better communication within the KP. In accordance with this strategy, the MOIA, on January 23, centralized previously dispersed narcotics units under the Directorate for Investigation of Drug Trafficking, Crime Pillar. This move eliminated duplication of effort and fostered greater cooperation.

The MOH, in its strategic plan and budget for 2008-2013, included an assessment of the drug problem in Kosovo, the development of a national strategy for preventing drug use among adolescents and youths, the creation of regular mechanisms for monitoring drug use levels among adolescents and youths, and the improvement of services to drug addicts. In December 2007, the MOH compiled the National Strategy on Mental Health, which includes treatment and services for drug addicts, but implementation has been slow due to insufficient funding.

The MOIA reported that it is working to increase Kosovo’s narcotics investigative capacity and plans to meet European Partnership Agreement Program goals by training counternarcotics officials, procuring technical equipment, strengthening interagency cooperation, and adding up to 60 new counternarcotics investigators.

As a successor state to the former Yugoslavia, Kosovo assumed Yugoslavia’s treaty obligations following its declaration of independence, including the 1901 extradition treaty signed between the Kingdom of Serbs and the United States. Due to its unique history as a UN-administered entity, Kosovo was not previously party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention or any other international convention or protocol. Since declaring independence in February 2008 and adopting a new state constitution in June 2008, Kosovo has gained the authority to sign international treaties as well as bilateral and multilateral agreements; however, this authority is for practical purposes limited to agreements with the 71 countries which have recognized Kosovo. Kosovo is not yet a UN member-state.

Kosovo cooperates and exchanges information with countries in the region through informal bilateral and multilateral meetings. For example, the Director of Organized Crime in the KP regularly meets with his Albanian counterpart. The KP reports that data sharing with Macedonia and Montenegro on drug investigations is poor, while data sharing with Albania, with whom a data sharing agreement was signed in 2008, is reported to be excellent. Data sharing agreements with Macedonia and Montenegro are being negotiated. Kosovo Customs has memoranda of understanding with both Albania and Macedonia.

2. Supply Reduction

KP counternarcotics officers face many challenges. Their resources are limited, and counternarcotics is not a top priority for the GOK. Statistics on seizures, arrests, and prosecutions are largely unreliable and inconsistent. The KP reports that the absence of dedicated specialized narcotics crime prosecutors prevents coordinated investigations with the Prosecutors Office. The State Prosecutor recognizes the problem and is in the process of reassigning staff to address it.

From January to October 2010, according to a Ministry of Internal Affairs progress report, the KP encountered roughly 260 cases of narcotics smuggling. The KP conducted 122 operations that resulted in 454 persons arrested, the seizure of 340 kilos of marijuana, 2 kilos of cocaine, 23 kilos of heroin, and the destruction of 9697 individual cannabis plants. The data from previous years indicate 2010 has seen an increase in arrests for narcotics trafficking. Interdictions of illicit narcotics have remained steady, except for a spike in marijuana seizures (340 kilos in 2010 versus 44 in 2009). The KP has found no evidence of synthetic drug production in Kosovo.

The KP uses a wide range of investigative techniques, from information collection to interception and surveillance. The Kosovo Police employ “intelligence-led policing” to identify and investigate traffickers. This is an extension of community policing and relies on relationships between the police and local communities to provide the police information about such illegal activities as narcotics trafficking. This strategy is difficult to implement in Kosovo because of tight-knit family and clan structures.

EULEX mentors, monitors, and advises the KP on it narcotics interdiction activities. As part of a project that began in August 2010, EULEX coordinates combined drug interdiction efforts with the KP and KFOR utilizing KFOR air assets to locate and identify cannabis cultivation sites.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness Demand Reduction and Treatment

According to NGO Labyrinth, the use of marijuana in schools has been increasing. Only 18 percent of 15 to 24-year-olds understand the dangers of drug use according to recent surveys by UNICEF. The average age of first injection is 21.7 years, however there have been cases with children as young as 14. While there are no reliable estimates of the number of drug users in Kosovo, UNICEF believes that there are now 20,000, up from approximately 15,000 in 2001.

Both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education run domestic drug education programs, and community police officers visit schools throughout Kosovo to educate students about the risks associated with drug use. NGOs such as Labyrinth assist with both education and treatment.

Labyrinth says that based on the number of people asking for treatment for cocaine addiction, the use of cocaine has increased considerably in the last five years, an opinion supported by the KP. Labyrinth currently has about 600 clients in various stages of treatment and takes on ten to eleven new clients per month, up from seven to eight per month two years ago. Approximately three percent of Labyrinth’s clients remain drug-free after treatment, compared to about 25 percent in the European Union. Labyrinth attributes this low success rate to a lack of follow-up and social services, cultural norms according to which a child can be disowned from his or her family for using drugs, and lack of economic or educational opportunities for young people.

The Pristina University Hospital Psychiatry Department, which also provides drug treatment, reports that on average 70-80 people receive in-patient treatment each year. The overwhelming majority of the patients are heroin addicts. Approximately 140-160 addicts receive out-patient treatment each year. Conditions are poor: the staff at Pristina University Hospital is limited, with only one doctor and one nurse devoted to treating drug addicts, and there are only two treatment rooms with a total of six beds.

According to Hospital officials, the number of patients is increasing, and there is an urgent need for a better drug treatment program that includes more and better-trained staff, individual and group therapy, and separation from the psychiatric ward. Hospital officials consider the construction of a separate drug treatment facility a priority. They believe that the current arrangement that places drug addicts alongside psychiatric patients in the same ward creates a social stigma that prevents all but the most severe cases of drug addiction from seeking treatment.

The MOH will start a methadone maintenance program, financed by “Global Fund” in late November, 2010, in Pristina, Prizren, and Gjilan. The program will be free of charge to patients. Labyrinth reports a success rate of only 12 percent using methadone to treat heroin addiction, and it attributes this low rate of success to the absence of a long-term maintenance and follow-up program. According to Labyrinth's evidence, this year more drug users have died from overdose (12 drug users) than in the previous year (4 drug users).

4. Corruption

It is difficult to estimate the extent to which corruption in Kosovo influences drug trafficking. Kosovo has taken legal and law enforcement measures to prevent and punish public corruption that facilitates the production, processing, or shipment of narcotic and psychotropic drugs and other controlled substances, or that discourages the investigation or prosecution of such offenses, especially by senior government officials. However, results so far have been mixed.

The Suppression of Corruption law, passed in April 2005, is the prevailing legislation that directs anticorruption activities. There are no laws that specifically address narcotics-related public corruption.

The Suppression of Corruption law created the Kosovo Anti-Corruption Agency, an independent agency that began operations in July 2006. In early 2009, the Government of Kosovo drafted an amendment to the Suppression of Corruption law and also an official strategy against corruption for 2009 to 2011. As of November 2010, the amendment had not been passed by the Kosovo Assembly. In 2010, the Kosovo Police and Special Prosecutors Office implemented an Anti-Corruption Task Force that targets corruption by government officials.

Within the Kosovo Police and Kosovo Customs, there are reports of corruption among some individual officers. Typical cases reportedly involve officers turning a blind eye to narcotics trafficking or accepting bribes to allow narcotics to pass through borders. KP officials see the potential for problems due to the officers’ low salaries and insufficient benefits, and they believe corruption exists in the regional counternarcotics offices. There are allegations that politicians and organized crime figures influence case investigations and the progress of cases through the justice system. There have been few arrests for narcotics trafficking over recent years, and most drug-related arrests have been for simple possession by individuals.

In May 2009, 47 kilograms of heroin and a large quantity of money and other evidence were stolen from a police evidence room. While there are at least 15 suspects in the theft, there have still been no charges brought, nor has any of the stolen property been recovered. The case is being investigated by the Police Inspectorate of Kosovo (PIK), an independent body under the MOIA designed to promote police efficiency and effectiveness, and to investigate and punish serious misconduct.

There is no information indicating that the Kosovo Government or its senior officials encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or launder the proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

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

Kosovo cooperates with the United States on counternarcotics issues. Kosovo officials seek out and enthusiastically receive technical assistance and training provided through robust Department of Justice programs, organized by the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development and Training (OPDAT) and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), both funded through the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL). In 2010, the OPDAT and ICITAP programs conducted a series of training seminars and technical assistance projects designed to enhance the investigative and trial techniques of police and prosecutors in Kosovo who routinely handle narcotics cases. These trainings focused on developing a number of skills (report writing, interviewing, interrogation and developing informants) and using various covert measures (including the use of wiretaps, cooperating witnesses, and informants) to further ongoing narcotics investigations.

A separate OPDAT initiative provided training and technical assistance for Kosovo and EULEX prosecutors in implementing the new law on negotiated guilty pleas (plea bargaining). The use of plea bargaining will ensure the entire criminal enterprise is held responsible for their narcotics activity. In several recent cases, lower level cooperating witnesses and informants have been used to further ongoing investigations and/or identify other criminal offenses and perpetrators. Also, in cooperation with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), OPDAT has provided intensive trial advocacy training for Kosovo judges and prosecutors to develop and improve their courtroom presentations and to prepare them for the new adversarial trial system.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina (USAO-EDNC/Kosovo Initiative) has continued an active partnership with Kosovo narcotics investigators and prosecutors and introduced and encouraged the development of task forces dedicated to narcotics trafficking. Law enforcement officials who participated in the OPDAT and ICITAP trainings and technical assistance have carried out 45 arrests in 12 narcotics cases, resulting in the seizure of approximately 88 kilograms of heroin and 176 kilograms of marijuana. More than 31,000 Euros and three firearms have been confiscated during narcotics arrests or seizures. Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program equipment donations and training, though tailored to prevent the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction, have also improved the capabilities of customs officers, leading to more frequent seizures of narcotics.

With USG drafting and technical assistance, Kosovo adopted a comprehensive anti-money laundering law on September 30, 2010. This law imposes international and FATF compliant reporting obligations including the reporting of suspicious and structured transactions (multiple transactions just below the reporting threshold). When implemented, this law will significantly hamper the ability of narcotics traffickers (and other criminals) to move or “clean” their illicit profits.

D. Conclusion

Kosovo is making progress in combating narcotics trafficking, but numerous problems remain. Kosovo is a transit country for drugs bound for the EU, and there is a growing domestic market for consumption. EULEX prosecutors inform U.S. Embassy staff that some government officials interfere with the prosecution of those accused of dealing in narcotics. The justice system is over-burdened and under-developed. Local treatment programs for drug-addicts are under-funded and have low success rates.

Programs sponsored by the United States are having an impact on the still nascent law-enforcement institutions in Kosovo. We have seen positive gains in detection and seizure of narcotics being trafficked across borders and in the quality of criminal prosecutions. ICITAP and OPDAT are engaged in training efforts with the Kosovo police and prosecutors to identify assets that are the proceeds of drug crime and to seize those assets so as to make it more difficult for criminal enterprises associated with drug-trafficking to operate within Kosovo.

The United States plans to continue its rule of law assistance to Kosovo. USG funded police, prosecutors, and judges continue working in Kosovo as part of the EULEX deployment and through the INL program. The USG is coordinating its rule of law assistance goals and priorities for Kosovo with the EU, and it will need to continue to provide training, technical assistance and equipment to the KP and Kosovo’s criminal justice sector that directly and indirectly support counternarcotics work. Among the USG’s contribution of police officers to the EULEX police mission in Kosovo, there is a need for special organized crime and counternarcotics skills. An additional issue facing Kosovo is the planned drawdown of KFOR and its impact on border crossing control. Kosovo Police will have to take over KFOR’s duties in this area and will need continued training and support as they take responsibility for an increasing portion of the international border. Looking forward, it may be necessary to negotiate a new bilateral treaty for extradition of individuals to face justice in the United States.

Kyrgyz Republic

A. Introduction

The Kyrgyz Republic is a key transit country for the trafficking of Afghan opiates to Europe, the Russian Federation and China through its borders with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. The Kyrgyz Republic faces serious problems in monitoring its border with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan due to the topography of the country, which is 94 percent mountainous. Due to an ongoing negotiation process with neighboring states, 30 percent of the borders in Kyrgyzstan remain virtually uncontrolled. The internal drug situation is also cause for serious concern. One hundred thousand hectares of wild-growing cannabis in the country serve as a source of marijuana for local criminals. There is also evidence of intensive illicit cultivation of cannabis. The ephedra plant, which grows on fifty five thousand hectares, is a source for production of Ephedrone (Methcathinone), an amphetamine-type psychoactive stimulant. It can also be used to produce, ephedrine, an important precursor chemical for methamphetamine. There is a high level of drug addiction in the country, amounting to more than one percent of the population of Kyrgyzstan with three percent of the population remaining under high risk. With Kyrgyzstan’s depleted financial resources, political turmoil, challenges in establishing a strong and stable central government, the current drug and crime situation, if not addressed, will continue seriously to affect the stability not only of the country, but also of the region.

Following intensive anti-government protests which lasted for several months, the government of President Bakiev was overthrown on April 7, 2010, after violent clashes that left 86 people dead. An interim government was formed under Roza Otunbaeva to restore order and the rule of law and to oversee a constitutional referendum and parliamentary elections. In May 2010, by decree of the interim government, Roza Otunbaeva was appointed President for the transitional period ending December 2011.

In the midst of political instability and a weakening of central government authority, new violence erupted in Southern Kyrgyzstan between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in June 2010, leaving hundreds of people dead. An International Independent Commission of Inquiry was established to investigate facts and causes of this violence. Although the detailed investigation results are yet to be announced, this violence is seen by some in the international community and many current Kyrgyz government officials to be a result of concerted actions of organized criminal groups, especially those involved in drug trafficking in southern Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz Republic is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

In 2003, with the assistance and funding of the U.S. Government and the UNODC, Kyrgyzstan established an independent body to fight drugs, the Drug Control Agency (DCA). It became the agency that coordinated all drug enforcement activities in the Kyrgyz Republic. To stop transnational drug crime, the DCA worked with its counter-parts in Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. In August 2007, 32 Kyrgyz law enforcement officers from the DCA, Ministry of the Interior, Customs Service and Border Guards were trained and completely outfitted with equipment to form the first four Mobile Interdiction Teams (MobITs). The teams were deployed in September 2007 after the completion of five weeks of training. Their mission was to identify drug trafficking targets and seize illicit narcotics. Their mobility allowed travel into remote southern areas between fixed border posts along the Kyrgyz border with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The multiagency teams never achieved the intended goal of joint operations. The DCA Director brought the MobITs under his complete control during FY2009. In April 2009 two DEA agents were assigned to the U.S. embassy on a temporary basis to work closely with the DCA and MobITs, after which performance improved (see below).

In October 2009 then-President Bakiev abolished the DCA and divided its functions between the Ministry of Interior (MVD) and the Ministry of Health (MOH). There is some reason to believe this was because the DCA had conducted an operation that affected the President or his family.

The elimination of the DCA was effected by the presidential decree of October 26, 2009. On November 6, 2009, the government ordered the handing over of all buildings, staff, equipment, vehicles and other assets of the DCA to the MVD and MOH.

Following the elimination of the DCA, the MobITs were also placed under the control of the MVD. With the anti-drug agency’s independence thus compromised, INL instructed the UNODC, which helps State-INL to manage its programs in Kyrgyzstan, to suspend all activities under the project, including the payment of salary supplements to MobITs officers, until the organizational situation stabilized. National plans for MOBITS were not confirmed until March 2010, and it was only then that INL allowed UNODC to resume salary supplements for MobITs agents – but only for those who had passed previous USG-required selection and vetting, including a polygraph test.

In August 2010, new President Otunbaeva reversed the organizational situation, establishing by decree a new State Service on Drug Control (SDC) as a specialized law enforcement body in the area of illicit drug trafficking, psychotropic substances and precursors. The new agency was staffed with 262 certified and 33 civil and support personnel. The decree instructed the MoI and MoH to hand over to the SDC all assets previously transferred to those Ministries, including buildings, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, technical assets, documentation, finances and personnel. In September 2010, a second presidential decree confirmed the SDC as the legal successor to the DCA and placed the MobITs under its jurisdiction.

The Kyrgyz Republic is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The Kyrgyz Republic is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Crime and its Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants.

2. Supply Reduction

While there is still no significant commercial production of drugs in Kyrgyzstan, cannabis and ephedra grow wild over wide areas, especially in the Chui valley region and around Lake Issyk-Kul. In the past, Kyrgyzstan was a major producer of licit opium, and for decades was the Soviet Union's main source of the ephedra plant. However, with the continued large production of opium in Afghanistan, it has become easier and less risky to import drugs from Afghanistan via Tajikistan than to produce them locally. During FY09 the Kyrgyz government carried out yearly eradication campaigns against illicit crops and there was at least one substantial seizure resulting in the destruction of approximately 1400 kilograms of marijuana. No such seizure was recorded in 2010.

The Kyrgyz Republic shares a common border with China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Mountainous terrain, poor road conditions, and an inhospitable climate for much of the year make detection and apprehension of drug traffickers more difficult. Border stations located on mountain passes on the Chinese and Tajik borders are snow covered and unstaffed for up to four months of the year. These isolated passes are frequently used routes for drug traffickers. Government outposts and interdiction forces rarely have electricity, running water or modern amenities to support their counter-narcotics efforts. The Kyrgyz Republic is one of the poorest successor states of the former Soviet Union, relying on a crumbling infrastructure and suffering from a lack of natural resources or significant industry. Unlike some of its Central Asian neighbors, the Kyrgyz Republic does not have a productive oil industry or significant energy reserves. The south and southwest regions – the Osh and Batken districts – are important trafficking routes for drug shipments from Afghanistan. The city of Osh, in particular, is the main crossroads for road and air traffic and a primary transfer point for narcotics into Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and on to markets in Russia, Western Europe and the United States.

Due to a very limited and rudimentary transportation system, traffickers mostly utilize lengthy overland routes leading through Afghanistan's neighboring provinces. As in 2009, a large part of the drugs smuggled through Central Asia in 2010 entered the region through Tajikistan. Together with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan represents the main conduit for onward smuggling of opiates. In the last few years, trafficking has increased on the long and mountainous border between the Tajik Garm region and Batken in Kyrgyzstan. Onward smuggling through the Kyrgyz Republic takes drugs mainly to the Uzbek part of the Fergana valley, and across the northern border into Kazakhstan.

MobITs units in the south report encountering traffickers on three specific routes:

  • Kyzylart route - the Osh–Khorog route and areas bordering the Murgab district of the Badakshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan
  • Altyn Mazar route - starting from the Rushan plateau up to Chon Alay valley
  • Batken route - includes the mountain paths of Jergetal and Garm regions of Tajikistan to Batken and Kadamjay counties of the Batken region and, ultimately, further trafficking to Kazakhstan, Russia and European countries

    Law enforcement statistics are gathered by the Kyrgyz Government on a calendar-year basis. Two different drug agencies were in service at different times during 2010, and, for part of that time, little or no attention was paid to addressing narcotics trafficking. The data following should be viewed in that light:
  • In 2009, nearly eight tons of drugs and precursors were seized by all Kyrgyz law enforcement agencies, including 341 kg of heroin (up 14 percent compared to 2008) and 376 kg of opium (up 167 percent compared to 2008). Marijuana seizures decreased by 41 percent, amounting to 2029 kg (4741 kg in 2008); hashish seizures increased by 57 percent, amounting to 718 kg of (457 kg in 2008);
  • From January – June 2010, by contrast, law enforcement agencies seized only 637 kg of drugs, including 100 kg of heroin (down 58 percent compared to the same period of 2009), 33 kg of opium (-76%), 341 kg of hashish (-36%) and 136 kg of marijuana (-34%)
  • In 2009 there were 34 drug-related crimes per 100,000 population. Convictions for those crimes were 25 per 100,000 population.

3. Demand Reduction

Existing economic problems and budget constraints prevent the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic from addressing the country’s burgeoning drug-abuse and HIV/AIDS problems effectively. The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Kyrgyz Republic and the other countries of Central Asia is the fastest growing in the world. Driven by intravenous drug abuse, high rates of HIV can be observed among high-risk groups along the drug trafficking routes. Sentinel surveillance conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2007 found HIV to be as high as 34 percent among injecting drug users (IDU). As noted in a Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM) report on Central Asia, another worrying trend is the number of young people infected. Approximately 75 percent of new infections over the previous five years have occurred in people below 30. While this is still considered a concentrated epidemic, extremely high rates among most-at-risk populations (MARPs) as well as repeated outbreaks that are a result of treatment in a hospital or a healthcare service unit indicate a potential for the spread of HIV into the general population. In 2007, an outbreak of HIV/AIDS took place among very young hospitalized children in southern Kyrgyzstan, which investigations determined was due to contamination of the blood supply and re-use of medical instruments.

In 2009, according to the UNODC, 687 new HIV cases were reported, for a total of 2718, of which 67 percent involved intravenous drug users (IUDs). In Kyrgyz prisons, 208 new cases of HIV were reported. At the end of 2010, there were a reported 7100 registered IUDs in Kyrgyzstan.

Insufficient budget funds are hampering prevention and treatment programs and training of professional staff. Although for the past few years funding from international financial and technical assistance programs to address HIV/AIDS problems in Central Asia has increased considerably, the Kyrgyz government has devoted insufficient state funding to HIV/AIDS and substitution therapy programs. The recent political unrest and violent change in administrations have only made matters worse.

In past several years, and with international assistance, the Kyrgyz Republic has successfully created a decentralized system of provision of Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST), both in specialized institutions and family medicine centers. OST is provided by teams of specialists in a comprehensive way and with external support sourced through NGOs. Provision of OST through family medicine centers offers the potential for further integration of the treatment of IDUs with family medicine and further reduction of their stigma. The country has developed a Clinical Protocol for OST providers, whether under the Ministry of Health or Ministry of Justice (2008).

4. Corruption

Corruption remains a serious problem and a deterrent to effective law enforcement. Up until its elimination, the DCA possessed a relatively good reputation, and its staff went through a thorough vetting procedure and received substantial salary supplements from the U.S. UNODC project mentioned above. The MobITs units were also vetted and underwent polygraph tests, as did all DCA agents. As a matter of policy, the Kyrgyz 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. Although four Kyrgyz law enforcement officials were identified in 2008 as involved in narcotics trafficking, the outcome of these cases is unknown. Due to the change in government and destruction of records, the only information that can be found is that the cases may still be pending.

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

From 2003 to 2008, USAID funded a consortium of organizations headed by the Alliance for Open Society International (AOSI) to implement a Drug Demand Reduction Program in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and the Fergana Valley of Kyrgyzstan. The activity was designed to reduce the spread of HIV by decreasing drug use and changing attitudes toward drugs among target groups, with an emphasis on at-risk youth, vulnerable women, current drug users, migrant populations, and prisoners. The program supported the training of health care professionals, volunteer outreach workers, teachers, psychologists, law enforcement officials, and journalists. It also provided training in drug prevention strategies for professionals in national and local government agencies, including officials in the ministries of Health, Education, Labor and Social Welfare, and Justice, as well as the Drug Control and Migration Committees.

From 2004 to 2009, the USAID-funded Central Asia Program on AIDS Control and Intervention Targeting Youth and Vulnerable Groups (CAPACITY) built technical capacity within Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia to launch large-scale responses to HIV/AIDS and develop indigenous institutions and networks to manage comprehensive HIV/AIDS control programs. CAPACITY aimed to:

  • Improve stewardship of national HIV/AIDS programs
  • Educate and empower vulnerable populations to protect their health.
  • Improve the quality of HIV/AIDS services
  • Improve resource use through integration of HIV/AIDS services into countries’ overall health systems.

These strategies reinforced the U.S. priorities embodied in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The project worked to increase the capacity of local and other USAID partners to leverage the resources available through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), the World Bank, the British Department for International Development (DFID), and other donors. Currently, USAID is initiating a new Health Outreach Program aimed at helping vulnerable groups to increase their access to prevention and treatment services for HIV and tuberculosis.

U.S. bilateral counternarcotics assistance has been stalled since the elimination of the DCA in October 2009. It will resume as the new SDC acquires strength, exhibits independence, and is seen to enjoy high-level government support. INL also anticipates working with the UNODC on anti-drug assistance as that organization develops proposals for international funding.

D. Conclusion

The U.S. intends in 2011 to work with the SDC to rebuild the capacity and commitment to interdict drug shipments and capture traffickers, and with other components of the Kyrgyz law-enforcement system to prosecute suspects and punish those found guilty. Russia is expected to continue and increase its role in assistance to the SDC. Prior to the elimination of the DCA, the government of Kyrgyzstan was supportive of international and regional efforts to limit drug trafficking, and supported major initiatives to address its own domestic drug use problems. Continuation of this focus is imperative to future success in combating narcotics trafficking in Kyrgyzstan and in the region.


A. Introduction

In 2010, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR or Laos) remained on the U.S. Government’s “Majors List” of some 20 countries worldwide determined by the President of the United States to be a “major illicit drug transit or major illicit drug producing” nation. For nearly two centuries opium poppy was the major illicit drug produced in Laos. As recently as 1998, Laos was the third largest producer of opium in the world with over 28,000 hectares in production and some 52,000 opium addicts. Since that time, steady progress has been made in reducing the cultivated area devoted to the opium poppy crop to between 3,000 to 4,000 hectares this year, according to UNODC estimates. However, despite the reductions in the area devoted to opium in Laos, there has been a dramatic increase in regional illicit drug trafficking through Laos. Lao authorities made some notable drug seizures over the past year, but Laos still continues to be used as an important regional transit country for illegal drugs, and Laos is still a major source of opium.

In 2010, there was also a disturbing and hitherto unforeseen level of violent crime related to drug trafficking by domestic and international networks. A series of alarming broad daylight shoot outs involving a number of persons, sometimes using sophisticated “war weapons”, caused a sense of shock in Laos’ normally peaceful capital city, Vientiane. Law enforcement authorities responded with increased nightly patrols, increased surveillance of known criminal gangs and a greater publicly expressed sense of urgency by policy makers to contain violent crime.

During late 2009 and 2010, there were a number of significant, multi-ton drug seizures by Lao law enforcement authorities linked to regional drug smuggling activity emanating from Burma, Vietnam, and China. In February 2010, some 2.2 tons of methamphetamines originating in Burma were seized in Vientiane province, apparently en route to Thailand. In May 2010, around two tons of marijuana, probably grown under contract in Laos, was seized in the south-central region near the Thai Mekong River border. In August 2009, Lao law enforcement authorities seized some tons of cold remedies being surreptitiously sent to Burma from Vietnam via Laos, apparently to provide pseudoephedrine for methamphetamine production. Furthermore, some African drug trafficking gangs continue to use Laos as a transit route. Lastly, in 2009 over 300 kilograms of opium gum were smuggled to the United States and intercepted by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The actual amount entering the United States is believed to be much higher. Seizures of opium gum thought to originate from Laos by U.S. authorities continued in 2010.

The intersection of improved regional infrastructure (e.g. highways and transportation) with increases in illicit narcotics production (e.g. opium) and synthetic drugs (e.g. amphetamine-type stimulants) by regional criminal drug trafficking gangs was highlighted in the benchmark UNODC report “2009: Patterns and Trends of Amphetamine-Type Stimulants and Other Drugs in East and South-East Asia (and neighboring regions)” published in November 2010. Laos is a party to the 1988 UN Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishment, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

The Lao Government’s primary drug policy document continues to be the “National Drug Control Master Plan, 2009-2013: A Five Year Strategy to Address the Illicit Drug Control Problem in the Lao PDR”. The plan was finalized in 2009, and in 2010 several interagency meetings and donor consultations were held regarding the Plan’s implementation, including requests for donor support. The Plan establishes two working groups consisting of a number of line ministries and foreign donors, mainly those countries which are members of the “Mini Dublin Group”, a group of largely developed countries which coordinate their narcotics-related assistance efforts. The Drug Control Sub Sector Working Group is chaired by the Lao National Commission for Drug Control (LCDC) and is co- sponsored by UNODC. Its meetings include representatives from the international donor community and generally focus on presentations by the LCDC and/or UNODC seeking funds for new narcotics related assistance projects.

The second interagency group, newly established in 2010, is the “Crime Sub Sector Working Group” chaired by the Ministry of Public Security (MOPS) and the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office (OSP). The crime working group has a broader ministerial membership, including the Bank of Laos, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Justice. The regular meetings of this group began in 2010, and are characterized by a lively exchange of information and interaction among the ministries. To date, this working group is just in its beginning stages.

In the fields of law enforcement and criminal justice, the Ministry of Public Security (MOPS), the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office (SPO), the Customs Department (Ministry of Finance), and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) demonstrated increased willingness to work cooperatively together on new law enforcement initiatives.

During 2010, oversight of the Lao National Committee for Drug Control and Supervision (LCDC) was moved from the President’s Office to the Prime Minister’s Office. The administrative relocation of the LCDC to the Prime Minister’s Office was taken in order to bring drug control programs more into the mainstream operations of the Government. The LCDC is responsible for integrating drug control issues and goals to be included in the Lao government’s 2010-14 Social and Economic Development Plan.

The LCDC’s “Comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy” published in 2009, includes nine key elements or “pillars”:

1) Trend analysis and risk assessment,

2) Alternative development and poverty reduction (opium crop and income substitution),

3) Drug demand reduction and HIV/AIDS prevention including drug treatment,

4) Civic awareness and community mobilization,

5) Law enforcement (related to drugs),

6) Criminal justice and the rule of law (related to drugs),

7) Chemical precursor control and forensics capacity,

8) International and national cooperation (cross-cutting),

9) Institutional capacity building (cross-cutting).

This national strategy calls for a budget of $78 million, with international donors invited to provide this sum. To date approximately $10 million of that has been funded, mainly through UNODC.

Lao law enforcement agencies face enormous obstacles in the policing of more than 5,000 km of international borders along heavily forested jungle mountain areas or the Mekong River. Continued international support for institutional capacity building and training of Lao enforcement authorities is required for both the short and long term, emphasizing training in basic interdiction and investigative skills using simple equipment, communications and transport. Likewise, increased regional interaction and operational cooperation with law enforcement agencies in Vietnam, China, Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia are important parts of preventing drug and contraband trafficking through Laos.

2. Supply Reduction

Opium remains a legacy of the French colonial era from 1893 – 1954 when the opium poppy was a legal “state enterprise” monopoly and poppy became an integral part of upland and highland cropping systems. Opium poppy planting was finally banned in 1972 by the Royal Lao Government (RLG) but efforts to enforce the law were sporadic and complicated in the midst of a war. In the post war period after 1975, the Lao opium poppy crop peaked in 1998 when over 28,000 hectares were cultivated, in some 1,100 villages and the ten Northern provinces. There were also over 52,000 opium addicts at that time, mainly hill tribe minorities living in remote highland villages beyond the reach of any real health care system. By 2006, the Lao Government had reduced the opium poppy crop to about 1,500 hectares, but a lack of viable income and food security alternatives, a residual population of some 16,000 addicts and a rise in opium prices (up from $900 in 2007 to $1,600–$2, 700/kg in 2010) has pushed the opium poppy crop steadily back up to 3,000 to 4,000 hectares in 2009/2010 according to UNODC data.

The current estimated crop of 3,000 – 4,000 hectares of opium poppy probably produced about 20 tons of opium (assuming a conservative crop yield estimate of 6 kg/ha) in 2010. The cultivated area devoted to poppy has increased by about 20% in both 2008 and 2009. Without sustainable alternative incomes, reducing the number of poppy hectares planted or harvested to less than 1,000 hectares (the “Majors List” criteria) is unlikely to be achieved. Furthermore, there remains a major “opium demand reduction” problem because of the 16,000 opium addicts in these remote highlands who continue to consume around a kilogram of opium per person per year on average.

The remaining opium poppy cultivation is generally in areas near borders with China, Vietnam, and Burma. Part of the production in these border areas is probably for contract opium farming by traffickers in adjacent countries where enforcement measures are stronger. Most poppy is grown in areas that have received little or no development assistance.

The Lao Government has sought additional international support for tackling drug control problems; very few donors show significant interest in reducing illegal poppy cultivation or drug addiction, however, preferring to focus assistance on rural poverty alleviation and food security in general. Many former poppy growers continue to face severe staple food shortages (rice), a prime cause of a return to opium planting. Rice purchase prices have increased by about 25 percent from 2009/10 and remain higher in most areas than in earlier years.

In 2009/2010 the German government provided funding for a new opium poppy alternative project at Oudomxai Province and is likely to continue the funding for an existing project at Phong Saly Province. The European Union has funded a new opium poppy alternative project at Houaphan Province. All three projects are multiyear and funded at about $2-$3 million, but are only reaching around 125 villages in total.

During 2010, the UNODC commissioned a study on the future of opium production which covered Laos and Burma. (“An Assessment of the Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Sustainable Alternative Development”). This benchmark study noted that the global financial crisis had contributed to the fall in prices for legal cash crops in Laos at a time when the prices of household commodities and rice, had increased. Moreover, the study notes that the decline in the availability of non-timber forest products (NTFPs), a lack of farm credit, a shortage of land, and a lack of rural infrastructure continue to impede progress for opium poppy substitutes. The study concluded:

If opium is to be eliminated in the Lao PDR, expanded funding for continued alternative development assistance along with increased community mobilization efforts is urgently required. These elements are critical to providing sustainable livelihoods and food security for former opium producing communities.

Opium poppy continues to be the major organic illegal narcotic produced in the country.

The trafficking of other illegal opiates, namely heroin, has increased, but most of the heroin is apparently sourced from Burma to the west and trafficked to markets to the north and east, probably to China and Vietnam, according to numerous news reports and other sources. For example, in 2009 China reported a 40 percent increase in opium and heroin seizures, mainly in Yunnan Province which borders on northern Laos and Burma. During 2010, the Lao press also reported seizures of methamphetamine, opium and heroin in Houaphan Province which borders Vietnam. The likely destination of these drug shipments was Vietnam.

The other organic narcotic produced in Laos is marijuana (or cannabis). The largest single seizure of marijuana of over two metric tons was made at Khammouane Province (central Laos) in March 2010 by Lao Customs authorities and the Drug Control Police. A total of three MT was seized in 2010. Commercial marijuana in Laos is primarily grown in large plantation type plots, sometimes financed by the foreign customers for the drug. The market for most smuggled marijuana is Thailand and possibly other parts of South East Asia. Marijuana is also traditionally grown for use as a spice in cooking and some varieties (viz. hemp) are grown and used by some hill tribe peoples (e.g. Blue Hmong) for cloth used in making tribal costumes.

There are no confirmed reports that synthetic drugs are produced inside Laos, but there appears to be an increase in the availability of a range of synthetic drugs. A variety of synthetic drugs such as “ecstasy” or “crystal methamphetamine” or “ice” is readily available to foreigners or local buyers in the capital and major tourist destinations. While there might be some Lao domestic production, the overwhelming majority of synthetics are imported from Burma.

The increased trafficking of narcotics and synthetics (especially methamphetamine) from Burma through Laos is widely reported and discussed in the region.

The Lao government regularly participates in regional conferences on counter narcotics cooperation, but rarely shares operational information on drug cases with regional partners. Strides have been made in developing national strategies for further reducing the production of opium poppy and marijuana, and improving health care treatment of opium and methamphetamine addicts.

Methamphetamine continues to be the most commonly used and cheapest, illegal drug in Laos. The supply seems to be plentiful, reflecting the UNODC ranking of the Lao street prices as the second lowest in Asia. For drug traffickers, the profit margins are also very high, higher than for any other illegal drug, because of high volume and cheap production costs. There have been no official surveys of ATS addicts in country and there is no reliable methodology for doing so, unlike that of opium addicts. Based upon reports from some provinces, such as Luang Prabang and Savannakhet, the actual total number of ATS addicts is now believed to be well above the 60,000 figure cited in past years. The vast majority of drug-related arrests in Laos in 2009 and 2010 were for methamphetamine usage and trafficking.

Although there are no confirmed reports of clandestine meth labs in Laos, increased regional demand and relatively weak law enforcement mean the opportunity exists. Major drug seizures of methamphetamine and marijuana, with death sentences handed down in two 2010 criminal prosecutions of drug traffickers, may be regarded as public efforts to emphasize the Lao government’s commitment to take action against drug trafficking.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Laos made some limited advances during 2010 in reducing the demand for illicit drugs. Four new provincial drug addiction treatment facilities, primarily for methamphetamine addicts, were constructed in 2007-8, but only two of these have been able to offer any significant effective services to date. A new drug treatment center was opened in 2010 in Luang Prabang, but currently treats only about 35 addicts. The operational costs for provincial treatment centers are paid from limited provincial budgets, so their capacity and effectiveness has also been very limited. In addition, there are no standard national treatment regimens, or any central health care agency with the required budget and staffing resources necessary. There are no follow-up services for those released from drug treatment.

The operating capacity of existing drug addiction treatment facilities remains well short of the reported numbers of drug addicts in Laos. Many untreated addicts (mainly methamphetamine addicts) turn to crime as a means to support their addiction. Most existing treatment facilities are notably deficient in staff proficiency, systematic operations, counseling, effective occupational therapy or training, post-discharge follow-up and relapse prevention. The U.S. is providing assistance to the two principal treatment facilities in Laos to enhance their capabilities to offer some worthwhile occupational therapy and skills training prior to release.

In 2010, the U.S. assistance supported a “basic psychology” training course for drug treatment center staff and in service training for the staff at the Savannakhet Province drug treatment center. A U.S.-supported national drug awareness effort which began in 2009 using hip hop music and youth-oriented materials was expanded in 2010 due to its popularity. Two new dormitories for males at the Somsanga Drug Treatment Center, near Vientiane, one for adults and one for minors, were constructed this year to house some 150 patients in rehabilitation. These dormitories will relieve overcrowding at this Center, which houses some 850 male patients, and promote a healthier rehabilitation environment for recovering methamphetamine addicts.

Mainstreaming drug addiction awareness and treatment in public discussion, often through youth centered concerts and dance contests (“peer to peer”) is proving an effective means to reach a large number of youth at risk. There continues to be a strong demand for drug education materials, which use music, dance and media to reach youth in innovative ways. However, effective and broad based middle and secondary school-based drug education programs and community outreach programs for youthful “school leavers” are still lacking. Some urban schools have made some good beginning efforts, but a comprehensive approach is lacking. For one thing, teachers still need training in drug education prevention.

Several international donors other than the United States provided assistance in drug addiction treatment during 2010 including Australia, Thailand, Singapore and China. Singapore assisted with counseling training for drug treatment center staff. Australia supported a large scale program for containing the spread of HIV/AIDS among drug addicts. Thailand provided some technical training in Bangkok to Lao health personnel. China gave some training support to the Oudomxai Province Drug Treatment Center, which was constructed by China in 2008. However, all of these programs were relatively small in scale, with the exception of the Australian project, which is regional.

There is no national program for the treatment and rehabilitation of opium addicts other than through UNODC projects in the north. During 2010, UNODC estimated that about 600 opium addicts were treated. About 100 of these addicts were treated with USG funding through UNODC projects in the north. For example, in March 2010, the U.S. Embassy donated equipment and bedding supplies for an opium detox unit at a district hospital in Phongsaly Province. Many opium addicts living in distant areas remain unreported. Recidivism after attempted treatment is estimated at approximately 40 percent and may well be much higher.

4. Corruption

The State Inspection Authority (SIA) functions as the “anti corruption” agency within the Lao government. This agency was originally an office within the Lao Communist Party organization, but several years ago was moved to the Prime Minister’s Office.

UNODC and UNDP are the principal donor agencies working with the SIA, on issues of corruption and good governance. The UN-supported programs are intended to build the capacity and legal basis for Laos to comply more fully with the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAAC).

The National Assembly has taken an increasing interest in raising the issue of corruption and promoting “good governance”. Members of the National Assembly have noted that state corruption is most often related to revenue collection, foreign investment and logging. Others have complained that the government’s monitoring mechanisms for official corruption were inadequate.

In 2010, there continued to be credible allegations of corruption in the ranks of the Lao police and criminal justice system, as elsewhere in Lao society. Rumors of pay offs and bribes throughout the law enforcement system are common and many Lao people accept such bribes as a common although repugnant practice. Assessing fines, whether formal or informal, is often preferred by law enforcement authorities to going through the process of prosecuting and sentencing drug traffickers.

Corruption in Laos is at serious risk of increasing as the flow of illicit drugs and precursors through Laos grows. Lao civil service pay is inadequate, and those able to exploit their official positions, particularly police and customs officials, can augment their salaries through corruption. Lao law explicitly prohibits official corruption, and some officials have been removed from office and/or prosecuted for corrupt acts. The Lao PDR has made fighting corruption one of its declared policy priorities, although enforcement of such policies remains weak and not well publicized. One step forward was a report presented to the National Assembly in December 2010 by the State Inspection Authority which noted widespread improper or unreported expenditures by many government agencies. The 2009 international corruption ratings issued by Transparency International continued to indicate a deteriorating situation in Laos. In 2006, the first year that Laos was rated by TI, Laos ranked 111 on a global list of 179 countries with a “corruption index” of 2.6 (on a scale from 10 to 1, from least corrupt to most corrupt). Laos has since then steadily fallen to its current 2010 rating of 154 on a global list of 178 countries, with an index of 2.1.

As a matter of government policy, the government of Laos does not encourage the illicit production or distribution of narcotic drugs, psychotropic or other controlled substances, nor the laundering of the proceeds of illegal drug transactions. No senior official of the Lao PDR has been shown to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of illegal drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds of illegal drug transactions.

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

The USG signed initial agreements to provide international narcotics control assistance in Laos in 1990, and has signed further Letters of Agreement (LOAs) to provide additional assistance to projects for Crop Control, Drug Demand Reduction, and Law Enforcement Cooperation annually since then. Laos has no bilateral extradition or mutual legal assistance agreements with the United States. Laos is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. It has made substantial progress in the control of opium cultivation, production and addiction, but has not yet achieved all objectives of the 1988 UN Convention. Laos is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the UN Convention Against Corruption.

Most U.S. counter narcotics assistance to Laos over the past two decades has supported the successful effort to reduce poppy cultivation in Laos. U.S. crop control assistance continued at a diminished level in 2010 focusing on a number of former opium growing communities that had not yet received assistance in identifying alternative income sources. The Law Enforcement and Narcotics Affairs Section (LENS) in Vientiane focused its efforts with the LCDC on administering village-based alternative livelihood programs (mainly crops and livestock) in the two northern provinces, working in four districts with some 45 villages. An 18 km all-weather road was constructed in Kua District of Phongsaly Province in order to allow for improved access for opium addict treatment and alternative cropping to opium poppy. LENS also provided funding support in 2010 for a UNODC rural development program in areas of Houaphan Province where poppy cultivation remains high.

As large scale poppy cultivation has declined over the past several years, a greater proportion of U.S. counternarcotics assistance has been devoted to demand reduction and law enforcement activities. One area of focus was enhancements to methamphetamine abuse treatment centers in Laos’ two largest cities and a variety of national drug awareness and prevention programs. One of the more successful efforts using INL funding has been an innovative occupational therapy program at the Somsanga Drug Treatment Center operated in cooperation with UNODC. This successful program was expanded in 2010. Several hundred previously idle youth in the rehabilitation section are now busy with a variety of training activities. U.S. law enforcement assistance funds supported operational costs, training and equipment for DCD, provincial CNUs and the Lao Customs Department. Training was also provided to the Lao Prosecutors Office under the U.S. Department of Justice and INL Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) program, and an anti-money laundering seminar delivered to Ministry of Finance and MOPS personnel by the U.S. Treasury Department. This was complemented by continuing regular Lao participation (over 200 persons in 2010) in INL-funded regional training opportunities offered by the U.S. and Thailand at the International Law Enforcement Academies in Bangkok and Roswell, New Mexico.

New policy and program initiatives during 2010 included an expansion and diversification of the criminal justice portfolio to include more training and capacity building with the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Prosecutors Office. Another initiative was to expand the cooperation with the Customs Department to upgrade its international parcels inspections unit to stem the flow of opium gum being smuggled to the United States. Future programming with the Customs Department will address the broader needs for contraband interdiction at international borders and highways.

D. Conclusion

In 2009, the LCDC estimated the size of the illicit drug economy to be about 10% of GDP or about $750 million.

There are a number of threats to the progress Laos has made on the narcotics control front:

  • Higher prices for opium driving sharp increases in poppy cultivation and related drug trafficking;
  • Increased trafficking from neighboring countries, especially methamphetamine from Burma;
  • The continuing inadequacy of the Lao government’s response to growing domestic drug abuse.

The U.S. will work with Lao authorities to encourage and assist in finding solutions to these problem areas.

Drug Statistics: May 2009 – May 2010

Following are national statistics on drug seizures by types and quantity.

Drug Type



21,312,600 Tablets


3,113 Kilograms


42.23 Kilograms


81.07 Kilograms

Narcotics Case Statistics: January-May 2010

Number of Cases

Number of Suspects Arrested



Foreign suspects




7 (2 Cambodian, 2 Thai, 2 Chinese, 1 Vietnamese citizen)


Lebanon is not a major illicit drug producing or drug-transit country. The Lebanese government reported ongoing marijuana cultivation in 2010, and increased drug use particularly among youth. During 2010, Lebanon conducted eradication efforts in the Bekaa valley. According to the Drug Repression Office of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) Judiciary Police, all illicit cannabis and poppy production was eradicated (plowed under) in 2009 and 2010. According to the ISF, 1091 hectares (2696 acres) of cannabis and 14.1 hectares (34.8 acres) of poppy were eradicated through the end of August 2010. This compares to 1310 hectares (3237 acres) and 20.7 hectares (51 acres) destroyed in all of 2009. There was no drug eradication in 2008, when the rate of cultivation was higher because the ISF had limited access to drug-producing areas of the Bekaa valley. With regular, high-profile eradication campaigns, the ISF estimates that yearly production is diminishing from the 2002 eradication total of 11,212 hectares of cannabis (27,705 acres) and 854 hectares (2110 acres) of opium poppy.

Illicit crop cultivation in small family plots remains a historically common and attractive option for farmers due to a lack of economically viable alternative crops. Another factor complicating eradication campaigns is the social acceptance of cannabis use in tribal areas of the Bekaa. There is practically no illicit drug refining in Lebanon. There is minimal production, trading or transit of precursor chemicals.

Drug trafficking across the Lebanese-Syrian border continued in 2010, in large part due to the absence of effective border security along the long eastern border with Syria. Through the end of September, Lebanese authorities confiscated 65 kg of cannabis (vs. 85 kg in 2009) and 3 kg of cocaine (vs. 0 kg in 2009) in the border area. The UN peacekeeping force on the Lebanese-Israeli border, UNIFIL (the UN Interim Force in Lebanon), reports, but can cite no statistics about, continued drug smuggling across the Lebanese-Israeli border in 2010. According to the DEA, Lebanon is a transit country for cocaine and heroin, with Lebanese nationals operating in concert with drug traffickers from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. The ISF made several large drug busts in 2010, confiscating 55 kg of cocaine (vs. 9 kg in 2009) at the airport and 230 kg of cocaine (vs. 0 kg in 2009) at the seaport.

At least five types of drugs are available in Lebanon: hashish, heroin, cocaine, amphetamine, and other synthetics, such as MDMA (ecstasy). According to the Ministry of Interior, the use of hashish and heroin continues to rise, though no estimates of the number of drug users is available. Although eradication efforts have diminished the supply of marijuana and hashish, the drugs are still relatively easy to obtain and readily available to users. Heroin use is small but increasing, according to local officials, who also reported an increase in the smuggling of heroin from Lebanon to Africa. Lebanese nationals living in South America, in concert with resident Lebanese traffickers, often finance these operations. Synthetic drugs are available in the market; Lebanese officials report that they are smuggled into Lebanon primarily from Eastern Europe both for sale to high-income recreational users in Lebanon and for transit to the Gulf States.

The Ministry of Interior considers counternarcotics a priority. The Government of Lebanon (GOL) continued its ongoing drug demand reduction efforts through public service messages and awareness campaigns. Through September 2010, the ISF arrested over 580 drug dealers and traffickers, and 1045 drug users. This compares to 781 dealers and traffickers and 908 drug users arrested in 2009.

There are several detoxification and rehabilitation programs, the most comprehensive of which is run by Oum al-Nour (ON), a Beirut-based NGO funded in part by the Ministries of Social Affairs and Public Health. ON operates two drug treatment centers with a maximum capacity of 120 patients and offers a year-long residential program, in addition to its wide range of prevention programs, parents' and family guidance programs, outpatient follow-up programs, media campaigns, and training and conferences. Lebanon is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Lebanon is also a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons. The Lebanese Government does not as a matter of policy encourage or facilitate drug trafficking, nor does it encourage or facilitate the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior officials are engaged in such activity.


A. Introduction

The Liberian Police believe there has been a significant increase in marijuana cultivation and abuse in Liberia. Cocaine trafficking through Liberia, a country with few effective counter narcotic programs, is also on the rise. The country’s weak justice sector and the resource strapped Liberian National Police (LNP), both of which fall under the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) for administration, struggle to address the growing drug trafficking problem. The Government of Liberia (GOL) continues to struggle with a depleted security sector after 14 years of civil war that left behind a devastated justice system in dire need of restructuring. Nevertheless, last year, the Liberian National Security Agency (NSA), in coordination with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) successfully intercepted $100M worth of cocaine in a sting dubbed “Operation Relentless.” While the GOL is committed to improving the institutions necessary for the rule of law, the challenges of a legacy of excessive executive control and a devastated judicial education system have hampered this process. During the turbulent years of war, qualified lawyers and other justice sector professionals fled the country. Currently, the lack of resources and the multitude of problems facing the judicial sector discourage the judiciary from beginning the necessary reforms. The result is few drug crime convictions, with apprehended traffickers often released on bail, then failing to appear or being acquitted due to lack of evidence, incompetent investigations and/or weak prosecutions. Under Liberia’s new democratic government, the judiciary was supposed to operate without fear of executive interference, and this goal seems to have been achieved- but the real challenge has been to operate independently, yet collaboratively and effectively, with the MOJ and the LNP-this goal will require quite fundamental reforms and will take years to achieve. Liberia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Liberia’s Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) is an autonomous agency. The LDEA was created under the MOJ by an act of the Legislature in 1998 as a law enforcement institution. Its specific mandate is to enforce all national anti-narcotic drug laws and formulate anti-drug policies including those targeted on reducing demand for drugs through preventative education and treatment. Unfortunately, the LDEA has had minimal impact to date, and the government has been forced to propose legislation to abolish it and place its functions with the LNP. Many of the personnel assigned to the LDEA were initially given jobs when they did not meet vetting criteria for the Armed Forces of Liberia. LDEA agents outside of Monrovia are paid significantly less than their counterparts in the capital city and work either in extremely modest offices or from their homes. The LDEA has appealed to the donor community for additional vehicles as well as training in money laundering and terrorist financing, however, previous donor training has yet to result in a higher conviction rate for drug offenders. On the other hand, the National Security Agency (NSA) and Liberian National Police (LNP) have a much better track record and have continued to effectively target drug dealers with several significant cocaine seizures.

In September 2009, the GOL passed the Anti-drug Act, which stiffened penalties for drug offenses, including minimum mandatory sentencing of 25 years and seizure of the proceeds of their narcotic crimes for convicted traffickers. However, there is provision for bail, but no mechanism to restrict the subsequent flight, and non-appearance of suspects for trial. The major loophole of the dysfunctional bail system has led to widespread problems for effective drug law enforcement.

Liberia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Liberia is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

2. Supply Reduction

Liberia’s agricultural sector has been significantly impacted by demand from the increase in illegal domestic drug use and demand stemming from trafficking illicitly produced drugs to neighboring countries. The cessation of hostilities also played a role as that allowed Liberians to cultivate with much less fear that their crops would be destroyed or stolen. Some local farmers in Bong and Nimba counties, approximately 100km and 150km from Monrovia, plant cannabis to trade regionally. Marijuana has become an increasingly popular cash crop with farmers seeing profits within three months versus seven years for rubber, or three years with palm oil. Through June 2009, with the help of international police from the UN Mission to Liberia (UNMIL), more than 400,000 cannabis plants in Bong and Nimba counties were destroyed and over 43,000 kg of seized marijuana burned. Since then, eradication has declined. The LDEA is severely restricted in its mobility with only three vehicles and 22 motorbikes to cover all counties.

Most of Liberia’s other illicit drugs are smuggled from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria across loosely guarded borders. Last year, the NSA, in coordination with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) successfully intercepted $100M worth of cocaine in a sting dubbed “Operation Relentless.” Fombah Sirleaf, the NSA Director (and the President’s stepson) played a major role in the seizure and was recently presented an award by the U.S. DEA for his participation. However, Liberia had only two drug related convictions out of 361 arrests during 2010, largely because of the inability of police to investigate and the inability of courts to prosecute them.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Marijuana is still the most widely used drug in Liberia, with reported seizures valued at approximately $2 million, followed by cocaine seizures, other than the major one undertaken on the basis of U.S. DEA information, valued at roughly $29,000. Heroin seizures were valued much lower at just $2,000, a statistic deemed too low to be accurate by the international police community. Psychotropic drugs are not as lucrative to traffic in Liberia since, based on the average Liberian wage of less than two dollars per day, their mass target market simply lack the disposable income to buy them. Increased drug abuse is linked to Liberia’s history of civil conflict from 1989-2003, which left behind more than 100,000 ex-combatants. Many of combatants abused drugs during the war and remain the majority of Liberia’s current drug users. Another factor behind the increase in substance abuse is the high percentage of Liberians, civilian and ex-military, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after the country’s long history of violence. Drug rehabilitation and treatment facilities are practically non-existent, with addicts being referred to the only psychiatric hospital in Liberia. Liberia’s unemployment rate also plays a role in its drug abuse problem: only 15 percent of Liberians are employed in the formal sector.

“Liberians United Against Drug Abuse”, an NGO founded in 1993, provides limited drug awareness education through workshops and radio announcements. Christian Children’s Fund lists forty active NGO youth organizations, with more than one fourth dealing with HIV/AIDS prevention/treatment and general health awareness training/advice, yet only three of these NGOs target drug abuse issues.

4. Corruption

With at least 50 tons of cocaine transiting West Africa annually heading to Europe, Liberia has potential to become a lucrative transit point. Corruption is a problem throughout West Africa, in part because salaries are low, and government workers find it difficult to support their families. Although Liberia lacks resources to independently combat large-scale trafficking, it does not lack the political will to cooperate with international partners. President Sirleaf is publicly committed to keeping organized crime out of the country. In the past, there have been successful attempts to bribe government officials for access to private airports or seaports for transporting drugs, but the government is very aware of the threat corruption poses to effective law enforcement, and does what it can to discourage corruption. Neither the Government of Liberia nor any of its senior officials encourage drug trafficking as a matter of government policy or engage in such activities themselves.

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

In October 2010, the MOJ signed an agreement with the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to establish a Liberian Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) which eventually will bring up to 60 Liberian law enforcement and security experts from the LNP, NSA, Customs, and Immigration into one highly specialized unit which will be structured, equipped and trained to provide a robust response to the severe threats posed by international organized crime and drug trafficking cartels. The plan is for the TCU to be built up in phases over a period of three and a half years at a cost of $5.8M. It will be substantially supported by a partnership of international agencies and organizations known as the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI). The idea to establish the TCU came out of the “ECOWAS Regional Action Plan to Address the Growing Problem of Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crimes, and Drug Abuse in West Africa”. In February 2010 the Liberian Government became signatory party to the “WACI Freetown Commitment” which includes the establishment of a TCU. In addition, a comprehensive review of the current legislation related to drugs and organized crime in Liberia by the MOJ, with support from UNODC legal experts, will help create a more effective law enforcement performance in compliance with international standards and best practices. These ambitious goals will take time to realize.

In coordination with State and DOD, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is assisting the Liberian Coast Guard to re-establish their service after 14 years of civil war. A USCG Commander is stationed at Embassy Monrovia to manage the developmental plan. This is the USCG’s largest developmental effort in Africa.

D. Conclusion

While Liberia’s poverty has prevented drug abuse from becoming a major scourge to date-discouraging drug abuse by the inability of the populace to afford the costs of drug use-weak law enforcement capacity leaves the government with little ability to combat even the existing problem, and no immediate answer to the growing threat. Marijuana continues to be the most widely used drug and is fast becoming a lucrative cash crop for farmers. Liberia also has the potential to become a transit point for the passage of cocaine and heroin to Europe. Drug offenders rarely languish in jail for long with the evidence often disappearing, either through theft or incompetence. Liberia is unique among Western African countries in that its currency is U.S. dollars, making it easier to launder money. Without the Liberian security sector taking a stronger lead to combat this trend, this new source of income could lead to more drug money pouring into Liberia. Given that Liberian law enforcement officials have worked effectively with foreign drug liaison officers to make a major drug seizure, with continuing international help and support, there is reason to hope Liberia will make progress on the drug enforcement and prevention fronts.


Libya is a destination and transit point for smuggled goods, particularly black market/counterfeit goods from sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt and China. Contraband smuggling includes narcotics, particularly hashish/cannabis and heroin. Additional supply of licit, but diverted pharmaceuticals enters the market through diversion from hospitals and pharmacies. Libya is not a production location for illegal drugs, although its geographic position, porous borders and limited law enforcement capacity make it an attractive transit point for illegal drugs. Recognizing the problem of smuggling, Libyan authorities have publicly asserted they have undertaken a campaign against smuggled goods, pointing to law enforcement activities that have resulted in large seizures of heroin, hashish, cocaine and psychotropic drugs.

Both drug trafficking and drug use are criminalized under Libyan law. During the summer of 2010, Libyan public security officials representing the Agency for Fighting Drugs and Psychotropic Substances told reporters that over the last ten years, Libyan authorities have seized approximately 100,000 tons of hashish, 360 kg of heroin and cocaine, and 5 million drug tablets and psychotropic drugs. There is no way to confirm the accuracy of these claims which seem exaggerated to some well-informed observers of trafficking in Libya. The Agency also reported that in 2009, approximately 3100 drug-related prosecutions had been referred to Libyan courts. The 3100 cases involved about 4400 individuals, and of those approximately 3700 were Libyan nationals.

Accurate statistics on the scope of domestic drug use are difficult to come by, as Libya lacks adequate survey capacity and possesses strong social and religious taboos against reporting drug use. Between June 26-28, Libya joined the international community to commemorate the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, through an information and awareness campaign led by the Agency for Fighting Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and the National Society for Anti-Drugs and Mental Stimulants (a branch of the Qadhafi International Charity and Development Foundation). The latter organization has adopted a number of innovations in its campaign against drug use, including organizing a two-hour debate on drugs on Shababia Radio, a channel popular with young Libyan males, development of a popular “Facebook” site, and a hotline available to addicts having a crisis or seeking treatment. It cooperates with a number of international NGOs to develop its anti-drug campaigns.

Libya is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption. In November 2009 Libya signed an agreement with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to open a regional office in Tripoli, to help develop Libyan capacity to fight corruption, reduce drug trafficking, and combat the spread of drug addiction and HIV. The Libyan Government does not as a matter of policy encourage drug trafficking nor does it encourage or facilitate the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior government officials engage in such activity.


A. Introduction

Macedonia is neither a major producer nor a major regional transit point for illicit drugs. The Government of Macedonia (GOM) continues to make progress in combating drug trafficking and implementation of its 2008-2012 National Action Plan on Drugs, with a special focus this year and in the coming years on prevention activities in schools and among students and other vulnerable groups. GOM officials reported an increase in illegal commercial marijuana sales and use throughout Macedonia, but numbers for seizures and criminal cases remained at about the same level as 2009. Macedonian law enforcement authorities continued to cooperate on narcotics issues with regional counterparts, including Serbia, Bulgaria, and Turkey, and also with Western European colleagues in Germany and Austria. Cooperation with Kosovo institutions on counternarcotics operations improved from last year, with several institutions in both countries working together throughout the year. Macedonia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Macedonia’s National Anti-drug Strategy (2006-2012) sets out two general aims: (1) to prevent new, and reduce current drug use, dependence, and drug related harms to health and society and (2) to take action against drug production and cross-border drug trafficking while preventing drug-related crimes. The two main aims are complemented by three cross-cutting themes: coordination, international cooperation, and monitoring and evaluation. The GOM created an Action Plan in 2007 to implement this strategy and harmonize Macedonia’s drug policy with that of the EU Drug Strategy, EU Drug Action Plan, and the UN Convention on Drugs. This action plan was successfully implemented, creating the National Coordination Body—an inter-ministerial commission—charged with coordinating anti-drug efforts, and the National Center for Drugs and Drug Addictions (National Center), which is tasked with providing objective, reliable, and comparable information on drugs and drug addicts in accordance with EU standards.

In 2008, the GOM created the current (2008-2012) Action Plan for Implementation of the National Drug Strategy, which included the signing of agreements, memorandums, and protocols for mutual cooperation with EU and neighboring countries to fight against illicit drug trafficking and criminal activities related to drugs. According to a 2010 report published by the National Center, the implementation of the 2008-2012 Action Plan is 79 percent complete with two more years left to finalize implementation.

Macedonia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The 1901 Extradition Treaty between the United States and Serbia applies to Macedonia as a successor state of the former Yugoslavia. Macedonia is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. In 2010 Macedonia signed several bilateral agreements: one on police cooperation with Kosovo, one on law enforcement cooperation with the Czech Republic, and one with the Republic of Serbia on regional trafficking issues. Macedonia also signed Memorandums of Understanding on law enforcement cooperation this year with Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro.

2. Supply Reduction

Macedonia is one of several Balkan drug routes used to deliver Afghan heroin (through Turkey and Bulgaria) to Western Europe. Hashish and marijuana produced in Albania travel along the same Macedonian routes to Turkey and Greece. Synthetic drugs on the Macedonian market are smuggled in from neighboring Bulgaria and Serbia and also from the Netherlands.

Macedonia is neither a major cultivator nor producer of illicit narcotics. There are no reports of local illicit production or refining of heroin or illegal synthetic drugs. Only one pharmaceutical company in the country is authorized to legally cultivate and process poppy for medicines. Authorized poppy production for pharmaceutical raw materials, some 160 hectares in 2010, is monitored by the Ministry of Health, which shares production data regularly with the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board. According to government sources, illegal commercial marijuana cultivation has increased beyond northwest Macedonia to throughout the country in greenhouses and fields. This marijuana is offered for sale on both the domestic and foreign markets.

According to Ministry of Interior (MOI) statistics, in 2010, criminal narcotics-related charges were brought against 649 persons, an increase of about 340 people compared with 2009, for a total of around 500 criminal cases. Of these persons charged, 566 people were charged with illegal production and trade in narcotics and psychotropic substances. There were 68 cases for “enabling the use”-i.e., trafficking in narcotics committed by 83 persons. These cases resulted in the seizures of 440 kilograms of marijuana, 37 kilograms of heroin, 2.6 kilograms of cocaine, one kilogram of liquid cocaine, 4108 cannabis plants, 11,152 tablets of amphetamine, and 791 grams methamphetamine. MOI sources reported that the drop in heroin seizures is a regional trend, and is a result of a poppy disease that significantly cut down poppy production. The market price of heroin has not dropped, but the “cut” i.e., mix between inert substances and active ingredient of street heroin, has increased.

The Macedonian MOI’s cooperation and communication with counterparts in neighboring countries and Western Europe remained strong. Cooperation with Macedonia’s new neighbor Kosovo has continued to improve. Macedonian intelligence contributed to the seizure of 74 kilograms of heroin in Greece, a case coordinated by U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Macedonia also contributed to the seizure of eight kilograms of heroin in Sweden, and two kilograms of cocaine in Germany, which resulted in several arrests. Macedonian-led initiatives resulted in the seizure of 5 kilograms of cocaine in Austria and the arrest of four individuals. Macedonian work with drug enforcement agencies in Bulgaria, Germany, and Austria, resulted in the arrest of 33 people as part of a drug dealing network that was based in Macedonia and sold imported heroin on the streets of Frankfurt and Vienna. The arrest including the main organizers of the network, a six member family based in Veles, Macedonia. In cooperation with neighboring services, the Macedonian police seized 600 grams of cocaine and arrested two individuals, one of whom was a fugitive wanted for the murder of two children at an Internet café in Skopje.

Macedonia’s Customs Administration continued to strengthen its intelligence units and mobile teams. Police officials described their cooperation with their customs colleagues as continuously improving over the past several years.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The opening of the National Center has improved some of the quality and reliability of statistics regarding drug abuse and addiction. Ministry of Health officials estimated there were some 9000 drug users in the country. The most frequently used drug was marijuana, followed by heroin.

Treatment and rehabilitation activities are carried out in 12 state-run outpatient medical clinics for drug users. These clinics supervise methadone maintenance therapy for registered heroin addicts. One of these 12 clinics is in the University Clinical Center in Skopje, and two are located in Macedonia’s two main prisons (the largest with over 60 percent of the country’s total prison population). The funding for these clinics and their treatment medications comes from the national budget. According to a 2010 survey conducted by the National Center (including inside the prisons), 75 percent of patients responded that they are satisfied with the overall treatment conditions and 63 percent responded that because of the success of the treatment, they are able to work.

Of the 1500 prisoners in the country’s main prison, an estimated one quarter were identified as drug addicts, mainly addicted to heroin. Macedonian health officials acknowledged that rehabilitation centers were overcrowded. In-patient treatment in specialized facilities consisted of detoxification accompanied by medicinal/vitamin therapy, as well as limited family therapy, counseling, and social work. Follow-up services after detoxification, or social reintegration programs for treated drug abusers were inadequate. There were only three centers for social reintegration and rehabilitation in Macedonia.

The Macedonian Ministry of Education, with NGO and international support, successfully implemented three pilot prevention programs in three different cities in Macedonia, each of which included significant teacher training and “train the trainer programs.” Educational prevention materials, such as fliers and posters, were also distributed in the pilot schools. The National Center evaluated the success of these programs as high among students, especially in regard to cannabis and alcohol prevention, but noted that there was little to no focus on controlled substances, such as benzodiazepines and tranquilizers, which according to a 2009 European School Survey Project on Drugs are the most problematic issue in the school population in Macedonia. The Center was also critical of the impact of the project, only reaching approximately one percent of the total number of students in Macedonia. In response, the GOM has planned to implement similar prevention activities across more schools during the last two years of implementation of the National Action Plan, using funding from the European Union. The GOM created a National Prevention Program to provide information to help students and other vulnerable groups—such as young people living on the streets and in prison - avoid drug abuse.

In 2010, the GOM also provided new trial treatment opportunities using buprenorphine to maintain 100 patients while undergoing treatment. Three private psychiatric clinics for outpatients opened in 2010, and have treated 123 patients. In Strumica, a city known to have a significant drug problem, a local anti-drug NGO partnered with the municipal government and the Macedonian Orthodox Church to open a private rehabilitation clinic for drug users. Local businesses provided materials to renovate a municipal building to be used as the treatment center. The center has been a huge success for the community, energizing cooperation between the local government and the people and providing a place for free rehabilitation outside the state system.

In June 2010, the Bureau for Public Security in the Ministry of Interior in cooperation with international partners held a conference in Macedonia that gathered experts on combating drugs entitled, “Analysis of the organized forms of drug crime and strengthening of the capacities for the suppression of illegal trafficking in drugs.” Seventy experts from Macedonia as well as international experts from the European Commission, SECI Center, Interpol, and DEA participated.

4. Corruption

Corruption is common throughout the government in Macedonia, with low salaries fostering graft among government officials, law enforcement, and the judiciary. Macedonia’s judiciary remains weak. As a matter of policy and practice, however, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. A small number of police officers were arrested related to drug enforcement anti-corruption efforts of the GOM.

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

Regional DEA officers report excellent cooperation with Macedonian authorities on counternarcotics operations. One notable example from 2010 occurred in June when Macedonian counterparts passed information to DEA officers regarding a truck that was traveling from Turkey to Italy that they thought might contain heroin. DEA officers and the Greek police located the truck as it transited Greece. A search of the truck revealed approximately 74 kilograms of heroin hidden in the fuel tank. DEA officers assessed that this case highlights the level of cooperation between Macedonia, Greece, and the United States, and the importance of increased cooperation between both countries to combat drug trafficking. DoD, through the U.S. European Command, has renovated a National Police Training and Operations Facility and is in the process of providing equipment for it.

D. Conclusion

Pressure on Macedonian borders and the influence of regional narcotics trafficking groups, will continue to make the country an attractive secondary route for the transit of illegal drugs. However, the GOM remains committed to the fight against illegal narcotics and has succeeded in implementing many elements of its four-year action plan, including a new focus on prevention activities. The United States Government, through State Department-funded law enforcement training programs administered by DOJ and DEA, will continue to work to strengthen the ability of Macedonian police, prosecutors, and judges to more efficiently enforce Macedonia’s laws against narcotics traffickers. In cooperation with EU and other international community partners, the U.S. will support continued successful implementation of the remaining elements of the national counternarcotics action plan. USG law enforcement training agencies in Macedonia will encourage the preparation of new laws to strengthen the ability of prosecutors to successfully pursue counternarcotics cases. The USG will continue to work with the GOM and international partners to strengthen Macedonia’s criminal intelligence system, and to improve the government’s ability to provide reliable statistics on drug use, arrests, prosecutions, and convictions of traffickers.


A. Introduction

Malaysia is neither a significant source country nor a major transit point for U.S.-bound illegal drugs. Nevertheless, regional and domestic drug-trafficking remains a problem, and international drug syndicates are increasingly turning to Malaysia as a regional production hub for crystal methamphetamine and Ecstasy (MDMA). Illicit drugs smuggled into Malaysia include heroin and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) from the Golden Triangle area (Thailand, Burma, Laos), as well as ecstasy, cocaine, erimin-5 (Nimetazepam), and crystal methamphetamine from several countries.

There is no notable cultivation of U.S.-listed drug crops in Malaysia. However, local officials report significant cultivation/presence of a local plant known as ketum (Mitragyna speciosa), a plant with known psychoactive properties used for its narcotic effects throughout the region.

ATS production in Malaysia is also a problem. In years previous (2004-2008), Malaysian police seized significant quantities of crystal methamphetamine produced in large-scale clandestine laboratories. Since 2009, police have not uncovered large methamphetamine laboratories, but they did seize several smaller clandestine methamphetamine and erimin-5 labs in 2010. Most methamphetamine, erimin-5, and MDMA ecstasy labs seized in Malaysia are financed by ethnic Chinese traffickers from Singapore, Taiwan, or Thailand. In 2009 and 2010, at least three clandestine methamphetamine labs operated by Iranians were seized in Kuala Lumpur.

Drugs transiting Malaysia do not appear to make a significant impact on the U.S. market. However, Malaysia's proximity to the heroin production areas and methamphetamine labs of the Golden Triangle leads to smuggling across Malaysia’s Northern border. Most heroin and ATS is destined for Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, and other markets in the region. Smaller amounts of ecstasy from Amsterdam are flown into Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for domestic use and for distribution to Thailand, Singapore, and Australia. Large quantities of ketamine come from Chennai or Tamil Nadu, India, and are exported to several countries in the region. Nigerian trafficking organizations continue to mail small quantities of cocaine from South America to Kuala Lumpur. Nigerian and Iranian drug trafficking organizations are increasingly using Kuala Lumpur as a hub for illegal trafficking. In 2010, the Royal Malaysia Police arrested more than 120 Iranians who were attempting to smuggle methamphetamine into Malaysia, and seized over 270 kilograms of methamphetamine during these investigations. This number does not include numerous subjects arrested by Royal Malaysia Customs, or the couriers from Turkey, Bulgaria, Uzbekistan, Georgia, and other countries who were also arrested and who worked for Iranian trafficking syndicates. The appearance of Iranians in such large numbers as traffickers and as domestic drug refiners in Malaysia is a new drug trafficking phenomenon.

Local demand and consumption of drugs is limited in Malaysia, but police officials have expressed concern about the increased use of methamphetamine. Ketamine from India and erimin-5 also remain very popular drugs on the local market. Eramin-5 abuse is sometimes associated with meth abuse; meth users frequently take the sedative erimin-5 to ease their declines from stimulant meth highs.

The government continues promoting ASEAN’s "Drug-Free by 2015” policy. Malaysia's counter-narcotics officials and police officers have the full support of senior government officials, but systemic problems with the legal system hinder the overall effectiveness of enforcement and interdiction efforts. Malaysia has a low conviction rate for arrested drug traffickers, and the country relies heavily on preventative detention under the Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventative Measures of 1985) rather than active prosecution. The extensive use of preventive detention in drug cases is due in large part to an extremely high burden of proof required for drug trafficking cases, as under Malaysian law all drug trafficking convictions result in a mandatory death sentence. Malaysia is a signatory to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Malaysia continues a long-term effort launched in 2003 to reduce domestic drug use to negligible levels by 2015. Senior officials, including the Prime Minister, speak out strongly and frequently against drug abuse. The Prime Minister chairs the Cabinet Committee on Eradication of Drugs, composed of 20 government ministers. The National Anti-Drugs Agency (NADA) is the policy arm of Malaysia's counter-narcotics strategy, coordinating demand reduction efforts with various cabinet ministries. Malaysian law stipulates a mandatory death penalty for subjects convicted of “trafficking,” with harsh mandatory sentences also applied for possession and use of smaller quantities. In 2010, several individuals convicted of drug trafficking were sentenced to hang. In other cases, death penalty convictions were upheld by the courts and the defendants have been or will be executed. In practice, many minor offenders are placed into treatment programs instead of prison, and major traffickers are often arrested and held in preventive detention, as there is insufficient evidence to charge and prosecute them with “trafficking.” In many cases, subjects charged with trafficking may have their charge reduced to a lesser charge, or if convicted of drug trafficking have their sentence commuted upon appeal.

Malaysia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention Against Psychotropic Substances. Malaysia signed an MLAT with the U.S. in July 2006. The U.S.-Malaysian MLAT went into effect in January 2009. Malaysia also has a multilateral MLAT with seven Southeast Asian nations, and an MLAT with Australia. Malaysia is a party to the ASEAN MLAT. The U.S.-Malaysia Extradition treaty has been in effect since 1997, and in 2007 the first successful extradition was completed for Wong Wok Wing, who was extradited to stand trial in the Eastern District of New York for heroin trafficking.

2. Supply Reduction

The Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) and Royal Malaysia Customs (RMC) arrested 83,327 people for drug-related offenses between January and June 2010. The RMP, and to a lesser extent, RMC have been extremely effective at seizing crystal methamphetamine smuggled into Malaysia from Iran and Africa in 2010: The RMP arrested a total of 120 Iranian nationals and seizured more than 270 kilograms of methamphetamine from January through September 2010. The RMP aggressively seizes narcotics assets: the police reportedly seized RM 35 million (approximately $11.3 million) in drug-related property in the first half of 2010.

The Royal Malaysia Police is effective in arresting smugglers and low-level drug offenders, but has limited effectiveness in investigating, arresting, and prosecuting higher-level syndicate members. The RMP has acknowledged shortcomings and has implemented training programs to more effectively develop investigations. Overall effectiveness is also adversely affected by systemic legal and procedural limitations upon police and prosecutors. Specifically, Malaysian law requires that a subject charged and convicted of trafficking be sentenced to death. As a result there is an extremely high burden of proof required of both police and prosecutors. The RMP therefore frequently uses the Special Preventive Measures Act (SPMA), 1985, to arrest and detain drug traffickers. The SPMA allows for the RMP to detain suspects when there are reasonable grounds to believe a person is associated with any activity relating to or involving the trafficking in dangerous drugs. There is no judicial oversight for subjects arrested under preventive detention. The Inspector General of Police is charged with ensuring the detention is in compliance with the law. Based on the police inquiry, the Minister of Home Security then has the ultimate authority and responsibility under the SPMA to detain subjects for up to two (2) years, subject to extension as deemed necessary by the Minister. The frequent use of the SPMA to arrest drug traffickers in Malaysia is a result of investigative, enforcement, and/or prosecutorial limitations, which include the lack of alternate sentencing guidelines, a very high-burden of proof for a death penalty conviction, and the lack of an effective conspiracy law. These systemic problems, in turn, determine police investigative and forensic procedures, as well as prosecutorial decisions.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction and Treatment

As of June 2010, the government had identified 8,984 new addicts and an additional 3,095 relapsed addicts. Since 1988 the Malaysian Government cumulatively has identified more than 300,000 drug addicts, and the government-linked Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation and other NGO's estimate that there are currently some 900,000 to 1.2 million drug addicts in Malaysia. Statistics continue to show that the majority of the nation's drug addicts are between 19 and 39 years of age and have not completed high school.

The NADA targets its demand reduction efforts toward youth, parents, students, teachers and workers, with extensive efforts to engage schools, student leaders, parent-teacher associations, community leaders, religious institutions, and workplaces. Statistics from the NADA indicate that as of June 2010 7,159 people were undergoing treatment at Malaysia's 28 public rehabilitation facilities. Of these, 162 were women. Another 46,830 persons were undergoing "in community" treatment and rehabilitation and are used as role models for relapse cases.

4. Corruption

Malaysian and foreign media organizations continued to highlight corruption, both specific cases and more generally as a factor impacting law enforcement effectiveness in Malaysia. The Government of Malaysia 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. No senior officials were arrested for drug-related corruption in 2009-2010. Narcotics-related corruption in the police was highlighted in August 2010; however, during the trial of a defendant arrested in May 2009 in the seizure of approximately 960 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in Rompin, Pahang, Malaysia. The defendant was acquitted after at least ten police officers admitted to stealing or otherwise mishandling drug evidence or lying on investigative reports during this investigation; several officers were disciplined following an internal investigation in this case. In 2010, the RMP also disciplined and or terminated several other police officers accused of abusing drugs. The potential for drugs to be smuggled into Malaysia with the cooperation or assistance of Customs or Immigration officials at ports of entry and/or airports remains a problem, although the overall scope and scale of this form of corruption remains difficult to quantify.

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

Overall cooperation with DEA on drug investigations is very good. In addition to frequent exchanges of information, DEA sponsored an airport interdiction seminar in December 2009 and a DEA Clandestine Laboratory Investigations Seminar and drug intelligence training program in August 2010. U.S. State Department-funded counter-narcotics training also continued in 2010 via the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok and the "Baker-Mint" program sponsored by the DEA and U.S. Department of Defense. In 2008 senior Malaysian counter-narcotics officials traveled to the United States and visited DEA Headquarters and DEA's New York Field Division in an effort to expand their international cooperative efforts.

The USCG has conducted a series of Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE), Port Security, Search and Rescue and Small Boat Operations training courses to the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) units serving in the Sabah region. This initiative has been a cooperative effort with representatives from the Embassy Maritime Law Enforcement Working Group and the interagency to include Customs and Border Protection and the Navy Criminal Investigative Service. MMEA has developed a core cadre of MLE instructors that conducted a series of five MLE boarding officer courses to individual MMEA units throughout Malaysia FY11 planned activities include MLE focused Mobile Training Team’s designed to mentor and assist the MMEA instructors in refining the current boarding officer course of instruction as well as port security and small boat operations courses.

United States goals and objectives for the year 2011 are to continue coordination and communication between Malaysian and U.S. law enforcement authorities in counter-narcotics efforts. United States law enforcement agencies will seek to assist Malaysian authorities to interdict drugs entering or transiting Malaysia. U.S.-funded counter-narcotics training for Malaysian law enforcement officers will continue in 2011, and U.S. agencies will continue working with Malaysian authorities to improve Malaysia's investigative and prosecutorial processes and promote rule of law. U.S. agencies continue to seek additional operational engagement and drug intelligence sharing with Malaysian counter-narcotics officials who have an increasing interest in regional and international cooperation.

D. Conclusion

Malaysia’s overall performance in the area of drug control is good. Malaysian law enforcement effectively responds to changes in trafficking patterns and appropriately dedicates significant resources to interdicting drugs, reducing supply, and investigating criminal syndicates. The RMP and other elements coordinate and cooperate regularly with law enforcement counterparts in the region, to include the United States, and Malaysian authorities host or participate in a variety of bilateral drug control seminars and coordination meetings. With regard to demand reduction and treatment, the National Anti-Drug Agency has an outstanding drug awareness program and proactively conducts operations to identify drug users and treat addiction.

Systemic legal issues continue to affect overall effectiveness of the police and prosecutors to investigate, charge, and prosecute higher level drug traffickers and organized crime. Leadership-level criminal figures who supervise, direct, and control complex criminal organizations are rarely arrested in possession of drugs and therefore are difficult to prosecute in Malaysia. Areas for improvement relative to the 1988 UN convention are the strengthening of Malaysia’s criminal conspiracy statute (recommended under Article 3, Section 1 C IV of the UN convention), as well as the development of a plea bargaining and an alternate sentencing system. If implemented, such changes would possibly reduce use of preventive detention, increase judicial oversight, streamline court cases, and provide an alternative to lengthy prosecution of drug cases.


Mali is becoming an increasingly important site for drug trafficking and drug transit, particularly as a transshipment route from South America to Europe. This was highlighted by the November 2009 crash of a Boeing B727-200F near the town of Tarkint, Gao Region, which the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) notes was widely suspected to have been carrying a multi-ton cocaine shipment from Latin America. The attractiveness of Mali as a transit point for drugs en route to Europe is directly linked to the Government of Mali's limited presence in and control over the northern regions. Marijuana trafficked through Mali is generally destined for Senegal or Mauritania, whereas cocaine and other narcotics are generally shipped to Spain via Morocco, or destined for other European countries on a trans-Saharan route passing through Libya.

Local narcotic drug consumption is generally limited to cannabis, which is widely available. Local production of cannabis and other drugs is not yet an issue, although during 2009, Malian police began to increasingly come across the precursor elements for processing cocaine into crack – such as ammonia – during the course of drug raids.

The GOM has taken some steps to address the growing problem of drug trafficking. Mali’s National Law 83-14 imposes sanctions on drug use and drug trafficking. The Malian National Police includes a specialized Drug Brigade, although it is underequipped to take on drug trafficking in the vast expanses of northern Mali. In 2009, the Brigade had 24 officers to cover the entire country. The Drug Brigade appears to be most successful at addressing the transit of drugs at Bamako-Senou airport (having made 39 arrests in 2008), although the Director of the Drug Brigade himself concedes that those arrested at the airport are usually only "mules." As a matter of government policy, the government of Mali does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, nor does it encourage or facilitate the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There are rumors, however, that some senior advisors in the Malian government may be involved in drug trafficking, possibly using the airport as the primary entry-point, but there is no proof, and no one has been charged or prosecuted.

Mali’s just-initiated National Integrated Program (NIP) is a four year plan, with three primary objectives: strengthen the proactive crime control capacity of law enforcement agencies; strengthen the capacity of the state in deterring transnational criminal ventures by reducing their potential financial benefits; and strengthen the national capacity to control and minimize the spread of drug consumption. Focal points for implementation are the Ministry of Justice and the Inter-ministerial Drug Committee, which was recently reassigned from the Ministry of Internal Security and Civil Protection to the Ministry of Justice. UNODC also is discussing assistance to the Program. The objectives of the NIP reflect a set of generally acknowledged areas for improvement in drug law enforcement efforts.

Mali is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption. Mali also participates in regional initiatives to curb drug trafficking, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Action Plan to address illicit drug trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse in West Africa, and the ECOWAS Political Declaration on the Prevention of Drug Abuse, Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organized Crimes in West Africa.


The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is an under-developed economy with a small population in a huge, sparse territory. Its economic system suffers from a combination of weak government oversight, lax financial auditing standards, a large informal trade sector, porous borders, and corruption in government and the private sector. The instability that followed the August 6, 2008 coup d’etat made the country more vulnerable to informal and illegal economic activity, but following the election of President Aziz in July 2009, the government embarked upon an aggressive campaign against corruption and the terrorist network of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

There is little, if any, domestic production of drugs in Mauritania. The more significant problem with regard to drugs is location. Mauritania’s location makes it an attractive destination for drugs coming via air from South America or via land after arriving at sea ports in Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Sierra Leone. With Mauritania’s long, porous borders and an economy that is based almost entirely on informal trade, detecting and combating drug trafficking in Mauritania is extremely difficult.

There are few, if any, reliable statistics about drug use in Mauritania. Consumption of drugs in Mauritania is not thought to be prevalent. There is occasional use of drugs among Mauritanians with the means available to purchase them, but there are concerns that if larger quantities of drugs transit through Mauritania, consumption could increase. Marijuana and other traditional herbal drugs are occasionally consumed, but to a much lesser extent than in many other countries in the region. There are no domestic drug addiction treatment facilities. The nearest center is the Thiaroye psychiatric hospital located in Dakar, although the cost of treatment in such a facility is beyond the means of a majority of Mauritanian citizens.

Mauritania has enacted laws for identifying, tracing, freezing, seizing, and forfeiting narcotics-related assets as well as assets derived from or intended for terrorist financing and other serious crimes. The authority comes from the 1992 law governing money laundering from drug trafficking and the 2005 laws governing terrorism, money laundering, and terrorist financing, and the newly passed 2009 anti-terrorism legislation. However, these laws have not been fully implemented. The Ministry of Interior is responsible for tracing, seizing, and freezing narcotics and narcotic-related assets. Drug traffickers and elements of AQIM often operate in the same isolated areas of Mauritania, but it remains to be determined how interconnected the two networks may be in their daily operations. There is hope that recent increases in the Mauritanian military presence along the borders with Algeria, and to a greater extent, Mali, will limit the ability of drug traffickers to easily cross Mauritanian borders.

Mauritania has two offices primarily responsible for combating the traffic of drugs: The Office to Combat Trafficking in Illicit and Psychotropic Substances, established in 2005, and “La Commission d’Analyse des Informations Financieres” (CANIF), established in 2008, which is the equivalent of a financial intelligence unit. Both organizations have received funding and technical assistance from the international community, but due to the political instability in Mauritania following their creation, they have only recently started to work as operational and functional units.

According to the Director of the Office to Combat Trafficking in Illicit and Psychotropic Substances, there were 276 arrests (74 Mauritanians and 202 foreigners) made in 2010 for individuals suspected of trafficking in drugs. In 2010, Mauritania seized more than 2 kilograms of cocaine and 1.2 tons of cannabis during 103 different operations. By contrast, in 2009, a year marked by political instability and gridlock, there were only two cases of drug trafficking arrests in Mauritania. A French citizen was arrested in May 2009 in Senegal, and then extradited to Mauritania. In November 2009, a Mauritanian trafficker of drugs was arrested in Senegal, where he had taken refuge, then extradited to Mauritania for prosecution on narcotics charges.

The Government of Mauritania does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, nor does it encourage or facilitate the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

Mauritania 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. Mauritania is a party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, the UN Convention Against Corruption, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, and the Organization of African Unity Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism of July 1999. It is a party to the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Mauritania is a member of MENA-FATF (Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force).


Mauritius is not a major producer or exporter of illegal drugs, or a transit route for drug trafficking. Marijuana is the only illicit drug that is locally cultivated in large quantities, primarily by small groups or individuals. It is consumed locally and is not exported. Other illicit drugs, primarily: heroin and the prescription drug, Subutex (a brand name for buprenorphine, an opiate used to treat heroin dependence; Subutex is illegal in Mauritius), are brought into Mauritius for consumption with a small amount going for transshipment to other markets. Subutex is seen as being more profitable per unit weight than heroin on the illicit market. Mauritius has problems controlling access as a result of limited resources to patrol its shores and territorial waterways.

Mauritius's Anti Drug Smuggling Unit (ADSU) of the Mauritius Police Force works closely with other law enforcement and health agencies on drug control and treatment programs throughout the country, and cooperates with U.S. Government agencies. The ADSU continues to look for ways to improve its resources and capacity. Mauritius is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

The ADSU appears, based on data through October 2010, to be on track to record a similar or slight increase in seizures and cases involving illegal drugs. The ADSU credits the increase in illicit drug seizures and arrests in recent years to its ongoing operations with various intelligence units of the police force and its proactive approach to regional co-operation and profiling.

Mauritius has several agencies working on drug control issues, from law enforcement, to public health initiatives. NGOs also are engaged in treatment and prevention efforts as well. The Mauritian Government collaborates with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and the International Narcotics Control Board.

Based on narcotic seizures, arrests, and rehabilitation program participation, heroin and Subutex are the most commonly abused drugs in Mauritius. Treatment NGO's report approximately 20,000 abusers but the figures are disputed by the police as being nearer 12,000. Mauritius does have dedicated drug treatment facilities and has in recent years introduced methadone maintenance for addicts in treatment and a needle exchange program. NGO's provide counseling and treatment and government health facilities, managed by health professionals, are also available for drug treatment cases.

The Government of Mauritius (GOM) has clearly indicated that drug traffickers and those involved in drug trafficking at all levels will not be tolerated. At the launch of the National Policing Strategic Framework in February 2010, the Prime Minister called for the reintroduction of the death penalty for those involved in drug trafficking. The present policies have not completely stopped the flow of illegal drugs, but the forfeiture of assets applied to narcotics offenders is just beginning to take effect. The GOM does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, nor does it encourage or facilitate the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No evidence has emerged to suggest that current government officials are involved in the production or trafficking of drugs.

It is U.S. policy to help Mauritius increase its capacity to enforce its narcotics laws and to work with Mauritian law enforcement to resolve cases where there is a U.S. nexus to drug trafficking. The U.S. Government provides training assistance to Mauritian law enforcement agencies, including the ADSU, through the International Law Enforcement Academies in Gaborone, Botswana and Roswell, New Mexico, and Africa Command (AFRICOM). The extradition treaty between Mauritius and the United States is the 1931 United States-United Kingdom list treaty.


A. Introduction

Mexico continues to aggressively pursue policies to combat drug trafficking, resulting in the apprehension of key Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) leaders and associates and seizures of drugs, weapons, and bulk cash. Meanwhile, the pace of implementation for the Mérida Initiative is increasing as deliveries of equipment and training have accelerated, the Government of Mexico (GOM) has improved its organization, and programs have started to take hold in a meaningful way.

In response to pressure by the GOM, and other factors, DTOs have become increasingly violent as they fight over lucrative trade routes and intimidate or control local authorities, particularly in areas along the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2010, the number of drug-related killings in Mexico surpassed all previous years. According to Mexico’s Reforma newspaper, there were 11,583 drug-related murders in Mexico in 2010, compared with 6,587 in 2009. DTOs increasingly employ military tactics and use heavy weaponry such as sniper rifles, grenades, and rocket-propelled grenades in attacks on government security personnel, rival DTO members, and, more recently, media outlets and journalists. Demonstrating a change in tactics and increased brutality, a DTO detonated a car bomb in July 2010 in Ciudad Juárez, killing emergency response personnel. A more alarming trend is the move by the DTOs to diversify their activities into areas such as kidnapping, extortion, and petty “street crimes.”

Mexico is both a major transit and source country for illicit drugs reaching the United States. Approximately 95 percent of the estimated cocaine flow toward the United States transits the Mexico-Central America corridor from its origins in South America. Mexico is also a major supplier of heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine to the United States. Most drug crop production occurs in rural western areas of Mexico where detection and eradication of illicit crops are difficult and police presence is minimal.

Mexico is a source and destination for money laundering activity. Additionally, the majority of small arms seized in Mexico and traced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in drug-related cases can be traced to the United States. Mexico is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Developments

The GOM has taken significant measures to strengthen its institutional capacity to resist the influence of DTOs. The Secretariat of Public Security (SSP) is completely restructuring the Federal Police and has more than tripled the size of the federal police force from 11,000 to over 34,000 since the beginning of the Calderón administration. Mexican Customs, which falls under Mexico’s Tax Administration Service (SAT), is rapidly moving from solely a revenue collection agency to a law enforcement body, and is increasing in size and developing new capacities. Special Investigative Units (SIUs) within the SSP are developing new skills to investigate and confront organized crime. The Office of the Attorney General (PGR) recently began to restructure its key divisions and is seeking assistance to improve its traditionally low rate of prosecutions.

Unified Command (“Mando Único”). On October 6, 2010, President Calderón submitted a proposal to Congress that would restructure Mexico’s 32 state police forces (31 states and the Federal District) and allow governors and the mayor of the Federal District to take over municipal police forces that do not pass a required certification process. The reform was drafted in recognition that a massive effort is necessary to reform the more than 2,000 police forces across the country and that economies of scale are needed to accelerate training, harmonize standards, and bring more accountability to state and local police forces across Mexico. The proposal requires congressional approval and entails a constitutional amendment that must be passed by two-thirds of the states. If passed (as of December 2010, the proposal was still being debated in Congress), the reform has the potential to significantly improve the structure and management of the public security sector in Mexico by increasing training and resources and improving command and control of state and local forces.

Budget. The GOM’s approved 2011 budget sets security spending as a clear priority, with a total budget for all security-related secretariats of 131.9 billion pesos ($10.7 billion). National security and public security spending during 2011 will rise 8.2 percent and 5.3 percent respectively in real terms compared to 2010. Under the GOM’s functional definition of “order, security, and justice,” real spending on government programs/projects falling under this category will increase by 13.2 percent. With the exception of the PGR, resources for all security-related secretariats (Defense (SEDENA), Navy (SEMAR), and Public Security (SSP)) will increase as a percentage of total programmable expenditures.

Judicial Reforms. The scope and pace of reform to implement an oral, adversarial justice system by 2016 has been uneven across the country, with 11 of the 31 states and the Federal District (Baja California, Chihuahua, Morelos, Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Estado de México, Durango, Yucatán, Hidalgo, Nuevo León, and Tabasco) approving and/or implementing the accusatorial system as of 2010. Judges, police, prosecutors, and other justice sector officials are receiving training to work under the new system, and law schools and bar associations are actively training legal professionals in preparation for the complete transition from the inquisitorial to the accusatorial system. The reforms have set the foundation for a justice system that supports due process, transparency, alternative case resolution methods, and improved skills among both public defenders and prosecutors.

Technological Improvements. The GOM made key advances in data and telecommunications systems for public security in 2010. Major efforts included a biometric capture and biographic data verification system implemented along the Guatemala/Mexico border for Mexico’s National Immigration Services (INAMI); this system will eventually be implemented nationwide. An Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) will deliver key data on inbound flights to Mexican customs and immigration agencies over the next two years. Non-intrusive inspection equipment, including mobile backscatter x-ray vans and gamma-ray imaging systems, at border and interior checkpoints is advancing Mexico’s interdiction controls. To combat money laundering crimes, the GOM, with support from the U.S. Government (USG), is now using sophisticated analytical software, high speed money counters, and a data center. To support the SSP’s Plataforma Mexico, an information technology connectivity program, programs are moving forward for analytical systems, incident response, registration/tracking of over 600,000 public and private security personnel, and License Plate Recognition hardware/software for identification of suspect or stolen vehicles.

The PGR started an overhaul of its Center for Planning, Analysis, and Information to Combat Crime (CENAPI), and will use technological improvements to facilitate intelligence sharing across GOM agencies. Eight PGR subdivisions will receive cyber and communications forensics equipment, along with the associated training/certifications. Hardware and implementation services will support a complete judicial Case Management System (Justicia Efectiva para Todos, JET) from initial entry into the prosecutorial system to final disposition of the courts; the system is scheduled to be rolled out to PGR sub-agencies throughout 2011. The PGR is implementing Spanish eTrace, an electronic tracing system for arms provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that is linked to ATF databases in the United States.

Money Laundering. In a move to combat money laundering, on June 15, 2010, the GOM announced new regulations to impose limits on U.S. dollar currency conversions in Mexico. The caps are applicable to both individuals and businesses for cash transactions from dollars to pesos, including deposits, credit payments, and service fees. The GOM expanded its anti-money laundering strategy on August 26, 2010, announcing new reforms, including greater interagency coordination to identify and investigate suspicious transactions, harsher penalties for using resources from illicit activities, and restrictions on the use of large amounts of cash. The proposal would also prohibit cash purchases of real estate and cash payments in excess of 100,000 pesos ($7,700) for luxury items.

Arms Trafficking. The United States and Mexico signed a memorandum of understanding on October 5, 2010 outlining terms for cooperation to deploy Spanish language eTrace across Mexico. The eTrace system, developed and deployed by ATF, tracks recovered firearms from manufacturers and importers, and their subsequent introduction into the distribution chain, to the first retail purchase. The eTrace system assists investigators to develop investigative leads, identify potential traffickers, and analyze patterns regarding the sources and types of guns used in criminal activities.

Agreements and Treaties. Mexico is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Mexico also subscribes to regional counternarcotics commitments, including the 1996 Anti-Drug Strategy in the Hemisphere and the 1990 Declaration of Iztapa. Mexico is party to the UN Convention against Corruption, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. The current U.S.-Mexico bilateral extradition treaty has been in force since 1980. The 2001 Protocol to this Treaty allows for the temporary surrender for trial of fugitives serving a sentence in one country but wanted on criminal charges in another. In 2010, Mexico extradited 94 people to the United States (42 for narcotics-related offenses). While the extradition figures for 2010 are slightly below the 107 fugitives extradited from Mexico in 2009, Mexico extradited more individuals charged with narcotics-related offenses in 2010 than in previous years.

Mexico and the United States cooperate in judicial assistance matters under a bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty. In addition, Colombia and Mexico formed a tri-party group with the United States that consists of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator, the Colombian Minister of Defense, and the Mexican Attorney General. This group meets at least twice a year to discuss counternarcotics and other issues of mutual interest. Finally, Mexico is a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.

Mexico actively participates in the Multilateral Counterdrug Summit, which includes the United States, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and other Central American countries as members. The U.S. and Mexican governments also continue to effectively use the North American Maritime Security Initiative (NAMSI) Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to facilitate maritime interdiction operations executed by the Mexican Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. The GOM cooperates with Colombia and the United States, in particular, in the sharing of information and coordination of resources in the effort against counternarcotics trafficking and criminal organizations. In 2010, for example, Mexico participated in training programs, judicial exchanges, and study tours with their Colombian counterparts.

2. Supply Reduction

In 2010, the GOM dismantled 160 drug-processing labs, arrested 28,216 Mexican nationals and 342 foreigners for drug-related charges, and seized 9.4 metric tons (MT) of cocaine, 2,240 MT of marijuana, 1 MT of opium gum, 368 kilograms (kg) of heroin, and 12.7 MT of methamphetamine. According to GOM statistics 17,211 hectares (ha) of marijuana and 14,842 ha of poppy were eradicated in 2010. Significant seizures in 2010 include an October 18, 2010 seizure of 134 MT of marijuana in Tijuana by Mexican law enforcement and military forces – the largest seizure of its kind in Mexico (with an estimated U.S. street-value of $340 million).

2010 was the GOM’s most successful year in terms of the arrests of high-profile drug traffickers in Mexico.[1] Mexican military and police forces exhibited an unprecedented commitment to combating organized crime, and bilateral cooperation in several fields, including the sharing of intelligence and resources between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement, has been key to disrupting and dismantling Mexican DTOs.

(January 12, 2010) Eduardo Teodoro García-Simental (aka “El Teo”) – García-Simental was a leader of a violent faction of the former Arellano Felix Organization. His arrest, coupled with the subsequent arrest of his brother and other high-level members of the Tijuana-based Simental-led DTO, have crippled the organization.

(January 19, 2010) Juan Carlos Tarabay-Castillo (aka “Z-20”) - Juan Carlos Tarabay-Castillo, aka “Z-20,” Jaime Fuentes-Marquez, aka “Chupón,” and Desiderio Jimenez-Rivera, aka “El Borrado” were high ranking members of the Los Zetas DTO.

(February 2010) José Vasquez-Villagrana (aka “Javal”) - Vazquez-Villagrana was indicted for smuggling .50 caliber Berretta anti-aircraft machine guns from the United States into Mexico. It is believed he is responsible for smuggling multi-ton quantities of cocaine from unknown South American suppliers into the United States and Mexico.

(March 25, 2010) José Antonio Medina-Arreguín (aka “Don Pepe”) – Also known as “The King of Heroin,” Medina-Arreguín headed a DTO that was one of the primary suppliers of black tar heroin to distribution points throughout the United States. Medina-Arreguín was extradited to the United States.

(April 21, 2010) José Gerardo Álvarez-Vasquez (aka “El Indio”) - Álvarez-Vasquez was a lieutenant for the Beltrán-Leyva organization and was allegedly responsible for the distribution of multi-ton cocaine shipments, methamphetamine precursor chemicals, and the production and distribution of methamphetamine.

(May 30, 2010) Carlos Ramón Castro-Rocha (aka “El Cuate”) – Castro-Rocha headed a DTO based out of Sinaloa, Mexico, with ties to various distribution points throughout the United States. The DTO was responsible for the manufacture and distribution of multi-kilogram quantities of black tar and brown powder heroin.

(July 24, 2010) Luis Carlos Vazquez (aka “EL 20”) – Vazquez was a key lieutenant of the Vicente Carrillo-Fuentes DTO and is believed to be the individual responsible for detonating the car bomb which killed three individuals in Ciudad Juárez on July 15, 2010.

(July 29, 2010) Ignacio Coronel-Villarreal (aka “Nacho”) – Coronel was killed during an operation conducted by SEDENA forces in Zapopán, Jalisco, Mexico. It is believed he was one of the heads of the Sinaloa Cartel and was responsible for trafficking multi-ton quantities of cocaine into the United States.

(August 30, 2010) Edgar Valdéz Villarreal (aka “La Barbie”) – Valdéz -Villarreal was an alleged assassin and key lieutenant for the Beltrán-Leyva DTO.

(September 12, 2010) Sergio Barragán-Villarreal (aka “El Grande”) – Barragán-Villarreal was an alleged assassin and key lieutenant within the Beltrán-Leyva DTO. He had significant drug trafficking ties throughout central Mexico.

(November 5, 2010) Antonio Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén (aka “Tony Tormenta”) – Cárdenas Guillén, one of Mexico’s most wanted drug traffickers and believed to be a key leader of the Gulf Cartel, was killed in a gun battle with the Mexican military in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Guillén was considered a key smuggler of marijuana and cocaine into the United States.

(November 26, 2010) Arturo Gallegos Castrellón – Gallegos Castrellón was the reputed leader of Barrio Azteca gang - which is closely linked with the Vicente Carrillo-Fuentes DTO - in Ciudad Juárez. Gallegos Castrellón is allegedly responsible for having ordered the attacks on U.S. consulate employees in March and for ordering hundreds of other murders in the city.

(December 9, 2010) Nazario Moreno González (aka “El Más Loco”/“El Chayo”)Moreno González, the founder and ideological leader of La Familia Michoacana DTO, was reportedly killed in a gun battle with the Mexican federal police in Apatzingán, Michoacán.

(December 30, 2010) Francisco López Villanueva (aka "El Bigotes," or "The Mustache”) – López Villanueva, a key lieutenant of the La Familia Michoacana DTO, and four other suspects were apprehended in a joint operation by Federal Police officers, soldiers and marines. They were arrested near La Mira - a town in the western state of Michoacán, where the cartel is based.

Cultivation and Production Trends. USG estimates for 2009 indicate that marijuana cultivation in Mexico increased by more than 45 percent, from 12,000 ha to 17,500 ha. This is the second straight year of increased cultivation. Marijuana cultivation, along with opium poppy cultivation, remained concentrated in rural areas in the northwestern part of the country, principally in the tri-state area of Sinaloa, Chihuahua, and Durango.

Estimates indicate that opium poppy cultivation and heroin production increased sharply for the fourth straight year. Opium poppy cultivation increased 31 percent, rising from 15,000 ha in 2008 to 19,500 ha in 2009. This level of opium poppy cultivation would potentially produce 50 MT of pure heroin or 125 MT of black tar heroin, not accounting for losses from any spoilage, harvesting inefficiencies, or interdiction, and is the result of cultivation outpacing increases in eradication. While opium poppy cultivation in Mexico is very sparse in comparison to the densities estimated in Burma and Afghanistan, Mexico’s share of global poppy production has been increasing in recent years; estimates show that Mexico surpassed Burma as the world’s second largest poppy cultivator in 2009.

Black tar and brown heroin dominate the Mexican heroin trade. While black tar heroin is most common, DTOs increasingly traffic brown powder heroin and continue to smuggle white heroin from South America into the United States. Rising estimates of domestic opium poppy cultivation support this trend.

Approximately 7 percent of the world’s heroin supply is produced in Mexico, and most Mexican heroin is destined for users in the United States, although abuse in Mexico is on the rise.

The increases in marijuana and opium poppy cultivation, in part, appear to be due to the sharp increase of Mexican military and police operations in other areas of the country.

Methamphetamine laboratory seizures in Mexico have risen dramatically over the past calendar year. As of May 20, 2010, PGR/CENAPI reported 63 methamphetamine labs seized, compared to 217 seized in 2009 and 57 in 2008. The volume of methamphetamine production suggests that it is not solely for U.S. and domestic consumption.

Trafficking Trends. Since 2008, there has been a clear shift in the geography of the drug trade in the Western Hemisphere, largely attributable to events related to Mexico. Greater monitoring of planes entering Mexico’s airspace and vessels entering its territorial waters has caused airborne and maritime shipments of cocaine to dramatically decrease. For this reason, Mexican smugglers expanded their presence in Central America and now rely heavily on land-based shipping routes. The Mexico-Central America vector continues to be the principal transit route for cocaine available in the United States. While the United States remains a primary destination for drugs produced in South America, expanding markets in Latin America and Europe and continued law enforcement efforts in Mexico may produce more shifts in drug-trafficking routes.

Mexico has several major chemical manufacturing and trade industries that produce, import, or export most of the chemicals required for illicit drug production. Mexico is an importer and transit country for potassium permanganate, an essential chemical in the production of cocaine. Likewise, Mexico imports and manufactures acetic anhydride, an essential chemical in the manufacture of heroin. While Mexico is a major supplier of methamphetamine, the country currently has no facilities or chemical plants that can synthesize and/or manufacture pseudoephedrine or ephedrine powder.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Mexican domestic consumption of illicit drugs has risen steadily since 2002. According to the National Council Against Addiction (CONADIC), the use of marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine has increased from 2002 to 2008; over this time period, marijuana use has increased from 3.48 percent of the population in 2002 to 4.4 percent in 2008, cocaine from 1.23 percent to 2.5 percent, and methamphetamine from 0.08 percent to 0.5 percent. Geographically, the northern states of Mexico suffer most, in part due to drug trafficking organizations operating along the border and often paying young dealers in product.

GOM coordination on drug demand reduction is managed by CONADIC. CONADIC’s priorities under the Mérida Initiative are to standardize drug counseling curricula, increase the availability of rehabilitation services in the penitentiary system, link more than 330 government-supported New Life Center prevention and treatment referral resource clinics via information technology networks to promote sharing of best practices, and to establish Drug Free Community Coalitions to expand citizen participation in the prevention of drug use. In the first quarter of 2011, 600 new counselors will be trained in a standardized curriculum to assist drug addicts. In addition, Mexico’s Office of the First Lady has sponsored the first Mexican-developed methodology for drug awareness in the form of an informational tool kit. This tool kit includes a survey covering a range of behaviors, patterns, and emotions; pamphlets on the nature of addiction; and therapy and intervention resources, all of which helps families and individuals. Mexico is also developing a drug treatment node linked to the Clinical Trials Network in the United States (CTN) in order to improve the quality of drug abuse treatment in Mexico. There is also growing focus on comprehensively improving the life of youth in high risk areas such as Ciudad Juárez, where drug traffickers often pay their own associates in drugs. The long-established and highly respected organization Centros de Integracion Juvenil (CIJ) is expanding its inpatient treatment centers in underserved areas of Ciudad Juárez.

Mexico’s retail-level narcotics distribution (narcomenudeo) law, signed in 2009, does not mandate legal action against individuals in possession of minimal amounts of drugs until their third offense. The law created stricter penalties for traffickers of drugs and mandated drug treatment programs in certain cases. Federal police have, as a result, focused their efforts on identifying and detaining drug dealers, while prosecutors focus on prosecuting these dealers, including via specialized drug courts.

4. Corruption

As a matter of policy, the GOM does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics or psychotropic drugs or any other controlled substance, or the laundering of money derived from illicit drug transactions. The Calderón administration has taken several steps toward reducing the levels of corruption in the law enforcement community by passing laws requiring stronger vetting processes, including the greater use of polygraph and background checks on candidates. The Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública (SNSP) is responsible for overseeing the implementation of these efforts. The GOM has also restructured and augmented the use of Internal Affairs Units to aggressively investigate allegations of corruption, and enacted a new law that gives them the authority to use intrusive investigative methods to conduct preliminary investigations in an effort to prevent crime and corruption. Labor laws have been changed to specifically preclude judges from reinstating officers separated for corruption allegations. These new corruption reduction efforts and actions are primarily directed at federal agencies, and focus on reducing corruption within the rank-and-file. Despite this progress, corruption remains a significant impediment to counternarcotics efforts in Mexico.

In perhaps the most public move against official corruption, in May 2010, the GOM arrested Gregory Sanchez, the former Mayor of Cancún and candidate for Governor of Quintana Roo, for alleged narcotics trafficking ties and money laundering. Critics of the arrest say that it was politically motivated and have compared it to last year’s arrests of ten mayors with alleged ties to corruption in Michoacán. Of the 38 officials and police chiefs arrested in Michoacán in 2009 for alleged ties to organized crime, as of October 2010, 37 had been released for lack of evidence. In August 2010, the SSP dismissed over 3,500 officers for a variety of reasons, including corruption.

Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid - On May 8, 2010, the former governor of the State of Quintana Roo, Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid, was extradited to New York after serving a six-year sentence in Mexico on money laundering charges. In the United States, Villanueva faces charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.

Gregorio Sanchez Martinez – On May 25, 2010, the PGR federal ministerial police served an arrest warrant on Gregorio Sanchez Martinez, a candidate for governor in Quintana Roo. He is accused of drug trafficking, health code violations, and money laundering. Ministerial investigations indicate that he has ties to the Beltrán Leyva and Los Zetas DTOs in Quintana Roo and that he allegedly laundered money for organized crime.

Jorge Arturo Castañeda Uscanga –- On May 27, 2010, SEMAR arrested Captain Jorge Arturo Castañeda Uscanga on allegations of drug trafficking and the facilitation of precursor chemical shipments. He is the highest ranking naval officer to be detained by authorities.

Alfonso Gutierrez Cabello - On May 27, 2010, members of SEMAR Special Forces and members of the SIEDO -- Organized Crime Unit of the PGR -- raided the Port Captain’s office in Mazatlán, Sinaloa to serve arrest warrants on multiple persons identified as working for or with DTOs. This effort led to the arrest of Alfonso Gutierrez-Cabello, the Port Chief of Vessel Inspections.

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

Over the past two years, the Mérida Initiative has become the cornerstone of U.S. – Mexico security cooperation and greatly enhanced the GOM’s ability to address organized crime and violence. The Mérida strategy is built around four pillars: 1) disrupt the capacity of organized crime to operate; 2) institutionalize the capacity to sustain the rule of law; 3) create a twenty-first century border structure; and 4) build strong and resilient communities. Eleven bilateral working groups focusing on topics such as money laundering, arms trafficking, effective border management, and strategic communications meet regularly to design strategies and manage programs that will enhance Mexico’s ability to combat organized crime. The recently inaugurated Bilateral Implementation Office, where Mexican and U.S. officials work side by side in Mexico City, complements these working groups by providing a special forum to address progress on Mérida implementation and target Mérida resources. Under the Mérida Initiative, the GOM has taken advantage of a wide variety of training courses offered by the USG, including anti-money laundering investigative techniques, witness protection, oral advocacy, chain of custody, police rural operations, explosives investigations, investigative techniques, and many others. Complementing Mexico’s own extensive training efforts, over 20,000 Mexican officials from the law enforcement and judicial sectors have been trained via Mérida Initiative programs since 2008. The Mérida process has improved over time, and the pace of implementation has been accelerating considerably.

Since 2008, the U.S. Congress has appropriated $1.5 billion for Mérida – this includes $379.25 million in FY 2010 alone. While significant funding has gone toward equipment, the Mérida Initiative is increasingly oriented toward building institutional capacity and reducing the pervasive corruption that enables drug trafficking. Specific training and equipment elements are detailed in Letters of Agreement between the USG and the GOM. As of December 31, 2010, $351 million in equipment and training has been delivered under the Merida Initiative.

Examples of 2010 Mérida and bilateral accomplishments include:

  • The USG delivered three UH-60M helicopters, spare parts, and training to the Federal Police (SSP), and three Bell 412 helicopters (for a total of eight since Mérida started) to SEDENA, worth a combined total of $115.5 million.
  • The GOM received delivery of 318 polygraph units to screen out potentially corrupt employees, for use by the PGR, the SSP, and Mexican Customs.
  •  52 canine handlers were trained and 78 canines able to detect weapons and explosives, narcotics, and bulk cash were donated to the GOM and assigned to major ports of entry.
  • Mérida supported training for approximately 800 Mexican federal prosecutors and law enforcement officers in 2010 through a series of two-week trial advocacy courses.
  • A total of six (6) Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) machines, which assist in analyzing ballistic evidence, were delivered to the GOM and are now located in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua City, Tijuana, Culiacán, Hermosillo, and Mexico City.
  • Mérida helped the GOM to establish a dedicated corrections academy at Xalapa, Veracruz. To date, more than 180 trainers have been certified at the New Mexico Corrections Academy, and they have, in turn, trained 1,300 newly recruited corrections staff.
  • The USG assisted the GOM to establish a new Prisoner Transportation Unit within the Mexican federal penitentiary system. 48 staff from the new unit received training at the Colorado Department of Corrections, and over $400,000 worth of new prisoner transportation vans were delivered in May 2010.
  • In total, over $13.5 million in non-intrusive inspection equipment (NIIE) was delivered to the SSP and Mexican Customs in 2010, including two Railroad VACIS and ten ZBV Backscatter vans.

These accomplishments build on previous Mérida Initiative programs to assist the GOM in developing institutional capacity. By the end of 2010, over 6,700 Federal Police officers have received Mérida -supported training over the past two years, and over 3,000 prosecutors and judicial authorities have received significant training in rule of law programs, including participation in study exchange programs. A train-the-trainer approach is used whenever possible to develop sustainability.

D. Conclusion

The GOM has an enormous challenge ahead to control drug trafficking, roll back pervasive violence, and build the institutional capacity necessary for the rule of law to flourish. Significant strides have already been taken both in terms of policy reforms and program implementation, as evidenced by success in apprehending key leaders of the DTOs and major drug seizures. Real efforts to combat arms trafficking and money laundering have been taken by the GOM, and the implementation of a unified police command is likely. However, the DTOs continue to expand their presence and find new ways to transport drugs and expand markets. Domestic production of marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamines is rapidly growing, and cocaine from South America continues to transit Mexico to reach markets in the United States.

Recommendations for future action include emphasizing institutional capacity building, disseminating programs from the Federal to state and local levels, and continuing to focus on priority areas as defined in the Mérida Initiative Four Pillar strategy. Furthermore, the USG urges Mexico to expeditiously implement judicial reforms previously passed in order to complement other initiatives by law enforcement and other government agencies to combat drug trafficking.

For its part, the USG continues to enhance programs on the U.S. side of the border to curb drug demand, and inhibit the flow of arms and cash across the border into Mexico. The battle against organized crime requires a holistic approach, and the USG remains committed to working with the GOM to implement programs and policies to confront the DTOs.

[1] The arrests of the individuals listed in this report have been widely reported by various media outlets, however, it should be noted that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. An arrest or the issuances of an indictment are only evidence of an accusation.


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