Benin is a transit country for cocaine, methamphetamine, chemical precursors, and heroin. Cocaine from South America and Southwest Asian heroin via East Africa transit Benin for markets in Western Europe, as well as to supply a small but growing market in Benin. Methamphetamine produced in the West African region transits Benin for markets in Europe and Southeast Asia. Drug traffickers reportedly launder drug proceeds through the purchase and import of used vehicles. Benin is the second-largest recipient of registered commercial freight shipments from India of the prescription drug tramadol, destined for the Sahel, with high levels of local consumption and abuse.
The Government of Benin’s Central Office for Repression of Illicit Trafficking of Drugs and Precursors (OCERTID) is the national agency for drug enforcement. During 2015, the OCERTID reported seizing slightly over 3.76 metric tons (MT) of cannabis; 40.4 kilograms (kg) of heroin; 40.6 kg of methamphetamine; 308.2 kg of cocaine; and 111.8 MT of tramadol. The volume of seized cocaine increased from 2014, when OCERTID seized a total of 171 kilograms (kg) of cocaine, including the single largest airport seizure (48 kg) of cocaine in West Africa since early 2013. In 2014, Benin’s president issued an order for the destruction of 129 MT of unauthorized tramadol seized at the port in 2012. Also in 2014, Beninese authorities intercepted 43,585 units of tramadol imported without a license. Benin does not have a bilateral extradition treaty or a mutual legal assistance treaty with the United States, though it is party to multilateral conventions that enable such cooperation.
The Government of Benin is reliant on support from the United States and France for drug enforcement activities. Benin has improved counternarcotics cooperation with neighbors through the West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative (WACSI). Benin is working to establish a specialized magistrates’ unit to go beyond the basic prosecution of drug couriers in order to investigate and prosecute transnational, complex drug cases. In September 2015, Benin participated in an analytical exchange for members of the Economic Community of West Africa States sponsored by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that involved intelligence-sharing and produced commitments to work bilaterally and regionally on active cross-border investigations.
Benin's Law on Control of Drugs and Precursors provides penalties of up to 20 years in prison and significant fines for trafficking drugs. The Government of Benin has established an Inter-ministerial Committee for the Control of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (CILAS) and drafted a National Anti-Drug Policy. In May 2015, UNODC worked with CILAS to conduct a gap analysis on Benin’s implementation of the ECOWAS regional action plan to address drug trafficking and organized crime. The Beninese government continues to address drug abuse and trafficking through education and enforcement of anti-drug legislation. The United States supports a UNODC-WHO substance use treatment program that focuses on integrating drug treatment into the public health system through specialized technical assistance.