Country Reports - Croatia through Haiti
The Republic of Croatia is a transit country for Afghan heroin moving to Europe and European synthetic drugs moving east. Croatia has negligible domestic narcotics production and a minor, but growing, domestic market. Croatia is located on the Balkan Route. Although illicit drug seizures in Croatia indicate that heroin is still the main illicit drug smuggled via this trafficking corridor, the traditional Balkan Route through Croatia is changing. Today, it includes a wider variety of drugs, such as cocaine shipments coming through the Black Sea or Adriatic Sea, in order to supply Europe's demand for drugs. The route now functions as a two-way street to include the exportation to Asia of synthetic drugs produced in EU countries. Heroin traffickers use all forms of transport (roads, railways, sea, air and post) but in Croatia larger quantities are usually transported by cars or trucks, while cocaine primarily arrives via sea transport.
Croatia has a strong legal and institutional framework to control and suppress narcotics related crimes, including a national police department focused on corruption and organized crime. Europol warns that although Turkish organized crime groups dominate heroin trafficking towards and within the EU, ethnic Albanian groups are increasing their influence. Croatian law enforcement agencies closely monitor activities and impact of Albanian and other criminal groups in Croatia and the region. Major cocaine seizures in Croatia were primarily related to sea traffic and occurred mostly in the port of Rijeka. Smaller ports, such as Ploče and Split on the Dalmatian coastline, are also entry points for narcotics.
Groups traffic synthetic drugs like amphetamine from Western European countries, but also from the increasingly active illicit drug markets in Eastern Europe. Occasionally drugs are smuggled though international express mail services. Croatian authorities expect a slight growth in the domestic Croatian market for synthetic drugs.
Small-scale imports of marijuana and hashish occur during the summer tourist season, when foreign tourists bring them into Croatia for their personal use. Larger quantities of marijuana are trafficked from neighboring countries, particularly from Albania, and are intended for Western European markets. Croatia is a party to 1988 UN Convention.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
Croatian drug policy was developed in the mid-1990s to address both the demand and supply of drugs, as well as to mitigate the harmful effects of drug abuse. A significant part of the National Strategy on Combating Narcotic Drugs Abuse is the implementation of measures and activities aimed at preventing the abuse of illicit drugs on the local, municipal and county levels. Given the significance of the problem of abuse and smuggling of narcotic drugs, the Republic of Croatia adopted at the end of 2005 the National Strategy for the Suppression of Abuse and Smuggling of Narcotic Drugs for 2006-2012. This is the second National Strategy, the first dating to 1996. The National Strategy is based on two strategic aims: reduction of supply (availability) and decrease of demand (interest). Since 2005, each of Croatia's 21 counties established a County Commission on Combating Narcotic Drugs Abuse. The commissions bring together local experts from various fields such as education, health and social care, nongovernmental organizations and media to develop programs to reduce narcotics abuse and facilitate treatment. The government's Annual Employment Plan has included guidelines for the employment of rehabilitated addicts since 2008.
The Interior Ministry, Justice Ministry and Customs Directorate share responsibilities for law enforcement efforts, while the Ministry of Health has primary responsibility for the strategy to reduce and treat drug abuse. The Drug Crime Department of the Ministry of Interior is organised as part of the Police National Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (PN-USKOK), established in 2009. The department is responsible for monitoring and implementing activities at the national level connected with complex and organised crime, and is also responsible at the national level for combating narcotics trafficking and monitoring traffickers and organized crime groups
Croatian laws are generally sufficient to combat narcotics trafficking and drug use. The Criminal Law covers the illicit use (possession), production, and trade of narcotics. The law also criminalizes acts committed under the influence of drugs. The Act on Combating Narcotic Abuse, enacted in 2001, covers misdemeanor crimes, the export and use of precursor chemicals, and other administrative and regulatory issues. The act requires all persons or corporations to obtain import, export, or transport licenses for any quantity of listed drugs or precursors. The act also regulates healthcare, treatment, international cooperation, and drug education and other preventive programs. The 2009 Amendments to the Drug Abuse Prevention Act transferred control over precursor chemicals from the Ministry of Economy, Labor, and Entrepreneurship to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The Act also shortened the time limits for the destruction of seized drugs.
In 2009, the Government spent HRK 88 million ($16.2 million) from state budget funds for the implementation of the National Strategy and Action Plan, which represents an increase of 4% above 2008 figures. Counties spent an additional HRK 12 million ($2.2 million) from county-level budgets, which is a 34 percent increase from 2008. The total amount spent from national and county budgets was HRK 100 million ($18.7 million), a 6.8 percent increase in comparison to 2008. Budget data for 2010 was not available.
Croatia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1972 UN Convention Against Psychotropic Substances. Croatia is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Extradition between Croatia and the United States is governed by the 1902 Extradition Treaty between the United States and the Kingdom of Serbia, which applies to Croatia as a successor state.
2. Supply reduction
In the first five months of 2010, police recorded 2,426 criminal drug offences, resulting in charges against 1,675 people, including 814 people charged with misdemeanours. In this period, 979 (40 percent) were high level offences (e.g., smuggling, dealing, productions, etc), while 1,647 offences (60 percent) were related to unauthorised possession of drugs. In 2009, just below ten percent of all criminal cases were drug-related. In 2009, the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor reported that out of 4,342 adults charged with serious crimes, 2,297 were indicted, 2,486 were found guilty (including cases from previous years), and 834 individuals received prison sentences.
The Ministry of Interior provided the following statistics on drug seizures in 2009 and the first eight months of 2010:
|Cocaine||6.7 kg||11.2 kg|
|Heroin||59.0 kg||96.2 kg|
|Marijuana||255.1 kg||249.6 kg|
|Hashish||112.9 kg||3.1 kg|
|Amphetamine||12.8 kg||1.6 kg|
|Ecstasy||2455.5 tablets||541 tablets|
|Heptanone||4070 tablets||2585.5 tablets|
Police reported two important seizures in 2010. In February, police seized 150 kg of marijuana at the border crossing with Slovenia at Bregana. The route of the shipment was from Albania to the Netherlands. Police arrested two Montenegrin citizens. On August 13, police seized nearly 90 kg of heroin from the private vehicle of a foreign citizen.
3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
The general health system in Croatia is under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, which covers all state institutions involved in the treatment of drug addiction as a part of healthcare. According to the National Strategy, clinics or general hospitals in bigger cities provide resources for detoxification. The average stay for addicts in inpatient care is estimated at one month. After detoxification, patients generally receive outpatient treatment.
The inpatient treatment system consists of 29 psychiatric wards and hospitals, a ward in a prison hospital, and therapeutic communities. Croatia has nine therapeutic communities (usually residential homes housing recovering addicts) and 33 therapy houses that work and function as non-governmental organizations and offer treatment and psychosocial rehabilitation to drug addicts. Some therapeutic communities operate as humanitarian associations or religious communities, while others are organized and registered as social care homes for addicts. Therapeutic communities conduct drug-free treatment programs for any number of abuse problems and offer programs of psychosocial rehabilitation and re-socialization, family counseling, and self-help groups for addicts' families. Outpatient treatment is provided by one hospital ward, and 21 treatment centers and NGOs.
Croatian treatment centers utilize several types of pharmacologically-assisted programs. Substitution pharmacotherapy (methadone or buprenorphine) combined with psychosocial care is a common treatment option for opioid users. Pharmacologically assisted treatment is conducted in both inpatient and outpatient treatment centers. The Ministry of Health has explicit guidelines to regulate methadone and buprenorphine treatments.
In general, Croatian authorities provide all addicted jail inmates, detainees and defendants with health care programs that include medical examinations, counseling, psychiatric assistance, testing for infectious diseases and substitution treatment. Modified therapeutic communities are in operation in two penitentiaries.
Several respected Croatian medical doctors described the Croatian treatment model as among the best in Europe. Highly qualified medical staff works with the drug addicts, addicts have easy access to treatment, there are no waiting lists, and treatments are free of charge. Medication is available and treatments are not limited in terms of duration or doses. One Croatian doctor attributed Croatia's low level of hepatitis and HIV infections to the high quality of drug treatment programs. In addition to treatment, the socialization of drug addicts is also well implemented in Croatia.
According to 2009 data, 7,733 persons received treatment for drug addiction, of whom 1,463 were treated for the first time. The number of newly treated persons in 2009 represents the lowest number of newly treated persons in the past 10 years. In 2009, officials recorded 89 drug-related deaths, representing a significant decrease of 23 percent compared to 116 deaths in 2008. Health statistics for 2010 are not available until mid 2011.
Compared to Europe, a larger share of Croatian addicts are addicted to opiates (75 percent of total treated persons compared to 55 percent in Europe). Cannabinoid abuse in the Republic of Croatia, with about 13 percent of treated persons, represents a slightly lower percentage than in Europe (20 percent).
The illicit production and/or distribution of narcotics, as well as the laundering of criminal proceeds are punishable under Croatian criminal law. Revisions to Croatian criminal legislation in 2009 introduced new legal tools for police and prosecutors that are proving to be more effective than earlier procedures for handling corruption and organized crime cases. As a matter of government policy, neither Croatian officials nor the Croatian government facilitate the production, processing, or shipment of drugs, or the laundering of the proceeds of illegal drug transactions. The USG is not aware of any allegations of senior government or other government officials participating in narcotics-related corruption activities. Croatia is a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
Extradition between Croatia and the United States is governed by the 1902 Extradition Treaty between the United States and the Kingdom of Serbia, which applies to Croatia as a successor state. Amendments to the Croatian Constitution in 2010 now allow for the extradition of Croatian nationals to EU members and to others on a bilateral basis. The United States and Croatia have yet to conclude a new bilateral extradition agreement.
U.S. counternarcotics policy in Croatia focuses on expanding the capacity of the police and prosecutor’s drug divisions and working with investigators from the Croatian Ministry of the Interior’s Drug Division on their international investigations, particularly with respect to South America-based drug trafficking organizations. DEA is the lead agency in this endeavor and continues to foster an outstanding relationship with Croatian law enforcement. DEA achieved significant results with respect to bilateral and multilateral investigations and cooperation in 2009 and 2010. The Export Control and Related Border Security Program (EXBS) provided support and training to customs and border police, while the Department of Justice's International Criminal Investigative Training and Assistance Program (ICITAP) provided training and equipment to police and prosecutors. DoD, through the U.S. European Command, has funded familiarization trips for prosecutors and police leaders to the United States and a U.S. Coast Guard seminar involving the Croatian Coast Guard and Maritime Police. DEA, ICITAP, and EXBS training and cooperation have helped lead to several seizures and more effective prosecutions of drug crimes.
Croatia has a well developed institutional and legal framework to suppress narcotic related crimes and implement preventive and educational programs. Despite the slow-growth worldwide economy, Croatia managed to increase its budget in 2009 for the implementation of the National Strategy and an Action Plan, which certainly contributed to decreases in the number of newly treated persons and the death rate from drugs. According to some indicators, the supply of illicit drugs has increased in the past several years. The increased supply and variety of illicit drugs have led to a growing trend of drug use among Croatia’s youth. The situation regarding new patients treated for drug abuse has stabilized in the past several years thanks to early detection, treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration of drug addicts and prosecutions of the perpetrators of drug related crimes. However, as new drugs continue to appear on the local market, the Croatian government will need to remain flexible with its resources for both treatment, and enforcement and may need to focus additional efforts on local distribution rather than transit operations. Croatia should also fully implement its agreement with Serbia to form a joint law enforcement unit targeting organized crime and continue to strengthen its relationship with neighboring countries along the Balkan Route, including mentoring and assistance to states from the former Yugoslavia.
Cuba is located between the large U.S. market and the largest exporters of illegal drugs in the hemisphere, and astride known smuggling routes. This offers an incentive to drug trafficking organizations to utilize Cuba’s 5,746 kilometers of coastline and coastal waters for transshipment operations that avoid U.S. Government (USG) counter drug patrol vessels and aircraft. However, the Government of Cuba’s (GOC) interdiction efforts and pervasive police presence have limited the opportunities for regional traffickers.
The twin goals of Cuba’s counternarcotics enforcement effort are to reduce the available supply of narcotics on the island and to prevent traffickers from establishing a foothold. The Cuban Border Guard (TGF) maintains an active presence along Cuba’s coastal perimeter, primarily to deter illegal emigration, but also to conduct maritime counter-drug operations and coastal patrols. Cuba’s domestic drug production remains negligible as a result of stiff sentencing for drug offenses, very low consumer disposable income and limited opportunities to produce illegal drugs, either synthetic or organic, in quantity. To date, Cuba’s counternarcotics efforts have prevented illegal narcotics trafficking from having a significant impact on the island.
Cuba is a signatory to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
In 2010, Cuba’s National Commission on Drugs continued to base its counternarcotics operations on “Operation Hatchet,” their mainstay counternarcotics strategy. “Operation Hatchet” is Cuba’s multi-agency approach to reduce both the supply and demand of illegal narcotics. Led by the Ministry of Interior, “Operation Hatchet” is a coordinated counternarcotics strategy and includes a multitude of GOC agencies including the Ministries of Armed Forces, Judicial, Investigations, Public Health, Education, Culture and Border Guard. The combination of forces is intended to reduce supply through vigilant coastal observation and detection, and reduce demand through education and legislation. In 2010, there was no information available on new counternarcotics legislation policy initiatives or related budget increases supporting such measures.
Cuba’s domestic drug control policies appear to be effective. Drug abuse has been reported in major cities and some tourist centers. Unsubstantiated reporting indicates that it has increased in recent years. However, limited availability of illegal drugs, the Cuban government’s overwhelming domestic security apparatus and public awareness campaigns have kept Cuba from becoming a major drug consuming country.
Cuba has continued to demonstrate a commitment to fulfilling its responsibilities as a signatory to the 1988 United Nations Convention based on adherence to the Convention’s Articles. Specifically, Cuba has criminalized drug related offenses as outlined in Article Three; including 39 judicial agreements with partner nations regarding judicial proceedings and extradition. Furthermore, in accordance with Article Nine, the GOC has continued to exhibit counternarcotics cooperation with partner nations. The GOC reports having 32 counterdrug bilateral agreements and two memoranda of understandings (MOU) for counterdrug cooperation. Cuba has annually attended several international counternarcotics efforts such as the United Nations’ Heads of National drug Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA), and submits quarterly statistics on drug interdictions and seizures to the United Nation’s International Narcotics Control Board.
The GOC is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the UN Convention against Corruption, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its Protocol Against Illicit Manufacturing of Trafficking in Firearms. The 1905 extradition treaty between the United States and Cuba and an extradition agreement from 1926 remain in effect. However, in 2010, no fugitives were extradited utilizing these agreements.
2. Supply Reduction
During calendar year 2010, the GOC reported a total of 1.9 metric tons (MT) of illegal narcotics interdicted (including 97 narcotic wash-up events), compared to 3.19 MT total interdicted in 2009, and nearly 1.8 MT interdicted in 2008. Statistics on arrests or prosecutions were not available.
Major transshipment trends have not changed. The GOC reported in previous years that small aircraft carrying narcotics had occasionally landed at isolated Cuban airstrips due to engine trouble, but none were reported in 2010. As in previous years, “go-fast” vessels accounted for the largest amount of narcotics arriving in Cuba or transiting its territorial waters.
There were no significant changes in the government’s overall counternarcotics strategy or operations in 2010. Domestic production and consumption of illegal drugs remained limited, and the principal focus of GOC counternarcotics efforts was on illegal smuggling through Cuban territorial waters. The GOC reports inspecting 100 percent of all inbound vessels and that no major organized smuggling trends have been identified, other than the routine use of Cuba’s territorial sea to avoid detection from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Under “Operation Hatchet,” the Ministry of Armed Forces and Ministry of Interior’s combination of fixed and mobile radars, coupled with visual and coastal vessel reporting procedures remains an effective network for detecting illegal incursions of territorial air and sea by narcotics traffickers. When a vessel or aircraft suspected of narcotics trafficking is detected, the GOC will swiftly pass the information on to other countries, or attempt to interdict using Cuban assets. With limited Cuban interdiction assets and the high speed of the drug smuggling vessels, at-sea interdictions remain problematic, and the GOC’s prevalent response continues to be to pass information to neighboring countries, including the United States. In 2010, the GOC reported to the USCG 36 real-time reports of “go-fast” narcotics trafficking events, leading to multiple vessel interdictions and one 1MT marijuana seizure.
Daily beach patrols search for washed-up contraband, a regular occurrence in the Guantanamo Province. Citizens are also encouraged to report washed up contraband and have been reportedly rewarded with public praise and material improvements to their homes for locating and reporting marijuana that washes ashore. In addition, strict legal penalties for possession and consumption of illegal narcotics provide compelling reasons to report contraband. Washed up narcotics are collected and destroyed.
Tourists from abroad continue to bring in small quantities of illegal drugs for mostly personal use, although the extent of this problem remains unknown. The Ministry of Interior conducts thorough entry searches using x-rays and trained counternarcotics detection canines at major airports. As of November 2010, Cuba detained 123 tourists, down from 164 in 2009, for attempting to smuggle small quantities of narcotics into Cuba.
“Operation Popular Shield,” instituted by the GOC in 2003 to prevent any domestic development of narcotics consumption or distribution of drugs, remained in effect and netted over 9,000 marijuana plants and 26 kilograms of cocaine in 2010.
3. Drug Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
The combination of very little disposable income, low supply, and strict drug laws involving up to 15-year prison sentences have resulted in very low illicit drug use in Cuba. No new national actions or initiatives to curb drug abuse were reported or observed, and the quantity of existing programs for the general population appear adequate given the very low estimated numbers of persons addicted to drugs in Cuba. The National Drug Commission, headed by the Minister of Justice, with representatives from the Attorney General’s office and National Sports Institute, remains responsible for drug abuse prevention, rehabilitation and policy issues in Cuba.
The GOC reports the Ministry of Health employs special clinics, offering services ranging from emergency care to psychological evaluation and counseling to treat individuals with drug dependencies. No special programs exist specifically for women or children battling drug addiction. The non-government funded Catholic hospital in Havana, San Juan de Dios, reportedly offers rehabilitation services slightly above the quality afforded at the GOC’s facilities.
The GOC occasionally broadcasts anti-drug messages on state run media and operates an anonymous 24-hour helpline. In addition, the GOC reports the dangers of drug abuse are a part of the educational curriculum at all levels of primary and secondary schools.
As a matter of policy, the GOC does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The GOC reports a zero tolerance for narcotics-related corruption by government officials and claims there have been no such corruption occurrences in 2010. Such claims are difficult to verify.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
In 2010, Cuba maintained the same level of cooperation with U.S. counternarcotics efforts as it has in recent years. The United States Government does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Cuba and operates an Interests Section (USINT), through which a USCG Drug Interdiction Specialist (DIS) carries out counternarcotics information exchanges with GOC law enforcement elements. The USCG shares tactical information related to narcotics trafficking and responds to Cuban information on vessels transiting through Cuban territorial seas suspected of smuggling or tactical information on drugs interdicted within Cuban territory. In November, officials from the USCG met with GOC officials in Havana to discuss technical level counter smuggling tactics and procedures. The technical talks led to increased awareness of Cuba’s counter smuggling strategy and interdiction capability. In addition, through semi-annual bilateral talks on migration issues, Cuba continues to address issues that relate to illicit activities with the United States. It also shares real-time tactical information with Mexico and The Bahamas and Jamaica. In 2010, the DIS continued to have access to GOC counterdrug authorities, information related to ongoing investigations, after-action reporting and entry into Border Guard and Customs facilities.
The United States shares a mutual interest in reducing drug flow in the vicinity of Cuba, but does not provide any narcotics-related crime control or assistance. Historically, the Cuban and U.S. relationship has produced tangible results in terms of both carrying out successful interdictions and providing the USG with a better understanding of how Cuban territory is being used by drug traffickers. The GOC has presented the USG with a draft bilateral accord for counternarcotics cooperation which is still under review. Structured appropriately, such an accord could advance the counternarcotics efforts undertaken by both countries.
In coming years, greater communication and cooperation among the U.S., its international partners and Cuba, particularly in the area of real-time tactical information-sharing and improved tactics, techniques and procedures, would likely lead to increased interdictions and disruptions of illegal trafficking.
The Dominican Republic is a major transit country for illicit drugs originating in South America with destinations to North America and Europe. Reports sourced by the United States indicate that approximately three percent of the cocaine en route to the United States transits Hispaniola. Illicit drugs continue to arrive in the Dominican Republic via aircraft and increasingly by sea aboard maritime conveyances such as go-fast boats, privately owned fishing and recreational vessels, and cargo containers. These vessels predominately originate in the Colombian Guajira Peninsula. In addition to these drug trafficking challenges, corruption at all levels of the government and throughout the private sector continues to hinder law enforcement efforts.
International drug trafficking organizations (DTO) often pay their local partners in narcotics rather than in cash. This results in an increasing domestic drug abuse problem that affects the youth of the country. It also has led to an increase in drug-related violent crimes. In order to combat the influence of DTOs in 2010, the Dominican Republic continued its cooperation with the United States government (USG) through the extradition of narcotics-related criminals and illicit drug seizures.
The Dominican Republic is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
The cooperation between the Government of the Dominican Republic (GODR) and the USG in efforts to control narcotics trafficking and related transnational crime remains strong overall. The USG’s primary GODR partners are the Dominican National Police (DNP) and the National Directorate for the Control of Drugs (DNCD). Efforts that began in 2009 to foster greater cooperation between the DNCD and DNP were enhanced in 2010 with a focus on corruption, money laundering activities, and drug seizures. The DNCD and DNP also made improvements in domestic law enforcement capabilities and in interagency cooperation.
Furthermore, the GODR improved its relations with other Caribbean countries by its continued participation in the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange System (CNIES) agreement which allows the Dominican Republic to receive information on suspected aerial and maritime drug trafficking activities. The GODR also continued its participation in a joint agreement with Haiti to fight against drug trafficking and to increase law enforcement cooperation. However, the GODR has not signed a radar-sharing agreement that would allow the United States to share third country nation information with the GODR.
The Dominican Republic is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its three protocols, the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. In 1985, the USG and the GODR signed an agreement on international narcotics control cooperation. The Dominican Republic also has signed and ratified the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement and has a maritime counter-drug agreement with the USG that entered into force in 1995. Additionally, the 1909 United States-Dominican Extradition Treaty dates was augmented in 2005 to include judicial review for more transparency. Furthermore, the United States Marshals Service continued to receive excellent cooperation from the DNCD Fugitive Surveillance/Apprehension Unit and other relevant Dominican authorities in arresting fugitives and returning them to the United States to face justice. In 2010, the GODR extradited 22 fugitives, 15 of whom were wanted for narcotics related offenses, to the United States. The GODR also deported 10 criminals, six of whom were wanted for narcotics charges.
The Dominican Republic is not party to the OAS Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and no bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty is in effect. Direct requests for judicial cooperation are made through formal and informal means. These include diplomatic notes and formal legal assistance requests between “Central Authorities” related to the multilateral law enforcement cooperation treaties and conventions to which the USG and the GODR are parties. The Central Authority office responsible for processing all of the GODR’s international requests for assistance, including those from the USG, is small and under-resourced. Nevertheless, it attempts to process the requests it receives in a timely manner.
2. Supply Reduction
Although the distribution methods of illicit drugs to the Dominican Republic vary, the tourist zones and major metropolitan areas remain common destinations where cocaine and heroin are widely used. The majority of crack cocaine and ecstasy seizures in 2010 occurred in the provinces of La Altagracia on the eastern coast, Peravia on the southern coast, and Santiago and Puerto Plata on the northern coast. Cocaine seizures occurred on land, at sea, from air drops, and through airports in the country. Heroin seizures were predominately made at the country’s international airports. Marijuana is cultivated for local consumption, and seizures have been concentrated in the northwest and southwest provinces bordering on Haiti.
In concert with maritime and aerial interdiction, the head of the DNCD, General Rolando Rosado Mateo, continues to emphasize the pursuit of major drug traffickers and the dismantling of their organizations. These combined efforts have led to a modest increase in the amount of narcotics seized in 2010 as compared to 2009 interdiction efforts. During 2010, Dominican authorities seized approximately 4.85 metric tons (MT) of cocaine, 30 kilograms (kg) of heroin, 642 kg of marijuana, and 138 units (tablets) of ecstasy.
The DNCD focused its interdiction operations on the drug-transit routes in Dominican territorial waters along the southern border, while attempting to prevent air drops and maritime delivery of illicit narcotics to remote areas of the country. Due to the efforts of the DNCD, there were significantly fewer suspect drug flights from Venezuela destined for the Dominican Republic in 2010 compared to the same time period in 2009. However, flights delivering narcotics to the Dominican Republic remained a problem, and illicit drugs were easily available for local consumption in most metropolitan areas. To counter this flow, the Dominican Air Force, in cooperation with the USG, initiated an effort to develop effective end game operations using helicopters to transport DNCD Tactical Response Teams (TRT). This responsive and versatile transportation will allow the highly successful TRTs to interdict the illicit drug drops and increase seizures and arrests. Despite the GODR’s recognition that illicit narcotics are also transiting the country to North America and Europe through maritime means, only one Dominican port, Caucedo, is operating in compliance with the Container Security Initiative (CSI). The other Dominican Republic Mega Port, Rio Haina, is not CSI compliant.
3. Drug Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
The Dominican Republic continues to experience an increase in the domestic consumption of drugs, because DTOs often use illicit drugs as a method of payment for criminals involved in drug transit. However, no official surveys regarding domestic drug use have been conducted due to a lack of resources resulting from the focus on interdiction. With the limited resources that the GODR dedicated to demand reduction in 2010, the DNCD conducted sporting events and seminars targeting hundreds of thousands of Dominican youth to publicize the negative effects related to the use of narcotics and drugs. Additionally, the GODR, with USG support, implemented programs focused on grass-roots solutions to citizen safety and demand reduction. A community-based policing project established in 13 high-risk barrios in Santo Domingo demonstrated positive trends in crime reduction. Based on this success and on great praise from community leaders and law enforcement officials, the GODR expanded this project to Puerto Plata, Cabarete, and Santiago.
As a matter of policy, the Government of the Dominican Republic (GODR) does not publically encourage or facilitate the illicit production, processing, or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, and other controlled substances, or condone drug related money laundering activities. However, corruption remains endemic in Dominican society. Numerous law enforcement, military, and government officials have been implicated in a range of corrupt activities, including drug trafficking and money laundering. The GODR increased its efforts to reduce corruption in several areas during 2010. To counter the influence of drug traffickers in the judicial system, the GODR continued its focus on internal affairs operations and changed the venue of judicial proceedings when necessary. The GODR also continued to fight against corrupt public officials by cashiering officers and, in some cases, entire units implicated in drug trafficking or working with DTOs. Furthermore, the DNCD and DNP both have established internal affairs units to investigate officers accused of corruption and abuse of authority. The DNP Internal Affairs Office was restructured in 2009 and continued to operate efficiently in 2010 by conducting 2,246 investigations which led to the dismissal of 217 police officers for either testing positive for drug use, abuse of authority, or corruption. The DNCD dismissed another 408 officers for similar reasons. The GODR also has agreed to support a series of governmental reforms suggested by United States, multilateral institutions, and European nations.
The GODR is beginning to address its citizens’ perception of corruption by implementing limited anticorruption initiatives. In response to a series of scandals in 2009, President Leonel Fernandez asked multilateral organizations, the United States, and other donor nations to help him address the perception of corruption. After organizing a multi-sector dialogue, the Participatory Anticorruption Initiative (IPAC) presented 30 recommendations for the GODR’s consideration on November 17, 2010. Subsequently, the President agreed to begin implementing these recommendations recognizing that corruption in the Dominican Republic adversely affects programs ranging from promoting economic growth to combating illicit drug trafficking.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and United States Policy Initiatives
The USG supports counternarcotics projects that address crime and violence largely driven by drug and other illicit trafficking that affects the safety of Dominican Republic citizens. In combination with currently funded bilateral programs, the policy objectives of the USG are to substantially reduce illicit trafficking, advance public safety and security, and promote social justice. The goal is to establish sustainable institutional changes in support of GODR law enforcement capacity and capabilities that are free of corruption.
The Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) is represented through the Embassy’s Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS). Through this office, the USG implements programs to enhance existing land and maritime law enforcement capabilities, to improve investigations and prosecutions of criminal cases, and to coordinate counternarcotics efforts with the United States and neighboring countries. The United States also works with GODR officials to develop an effective anti-money laundering agency.
During 2010, the USG provided equipment and training to increase the capabilities of various law enforcement entities. These programs supported the drug and explosive detection canine units in addition to the DNCD’s vetted Sensitive Investigation Unit (SIU) and TRTs. The NAS also established programs to expand DNCD computer training, database expansion, and systems maintenance support. This improved the DNCD’s capability to detect illicit drugs smuggled through airports and to enhance the Dominican Republic’s anti-money laundering capacity. The Law Enforcement Development Program implemented by the NAS continued to assist the DNP with its transformation into a professional, civilian-oriented organization. Since the program was initiated in 2006, over 14,000 police investigators and prosecutors have undergone training in basic criminal investigation techniques. In 2010 alone, 763 new personnel, 716 enlisted personnel, and 47 officers completed the training. The NAS initiated a similar program for the DNCD and has hired an advisor to oversee the development of this program.
Other USG departments and agencies work in concert with the Department of State’s initiatives in the Dominican Republic. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) continued to participate in joint counternarcotics and illegal migrant operations that included technical assistance for pier-side boardings. Additionally, the USCG used biometrics to identify and prosecute criminals transiting via maritime means between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico since November 2006. Furthermore, the USCG held three subject-matter expert exchange conferences for the benefit of the Dominican Navy. The Annual Interoperability Conference focused on improving coordination in maritime interdictions and the Caribbean Search and Rescue Conference aimed at coordinating collaborative efforts on mutual search and rescue resources. Additionally, the International Shipping and Port Security Conference focused on enhancing container security measures in the Dominican Republic. The USCG also provided training to the Dominican Navy in the areas of maritime law enforcement, leadership, engineering and maintenance, port security, crisis management, and command and control.
The Sovereign Skies Program is designed to improve Dominican capacity to conduct law enforcement end game operations at sea, in the air, and on the ground. The program is supported by several agencies, including the United States Department of Defense (DoD). The program supports a fleet of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, the development of a helicopter program to transport TRTs to drug drop zones, and the integration of radars to develop a common operating picture. In 2010, NAS-funded training included sending pilots from the Dominican Republic Air Force to Colombia for training in effective air interdiction operations and night operations. However, INL is continuing to assess with the GODR how best to meet the Dominican Republic’s needs for end game capacity.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) continued to provide assistance to strengthen the Dominican Republic’s justice system with particular focus on effective implementation of the Criminal Procedures Code. This code ensures proper acquisition, storage, and handling of evidence and adherence to reasonable time limits for prosecuting cases. USAID also assisted the National Institute for Forensic Sciences by improving procedures to secure and preserve evidence. Additionally, USAID supported the National Magistrates School in order to provide judges with current professional knowledge and skills. To help combat corruption, USAID assisted the GODR to develop new audit procedures and standards and trained 300 public auditors in international standards. USAID also supported the development of the IPAC recommendations and will continue support for implementation.
The most important challenges facing the GODR are to stop endemic corruption and to improve public confidence in the government. The GODR is continuing efforts to build a coherent, multifaceted counternarcotics program that can resist the pressures of corruption and address new challenges presented by innovative narcotics trafficking organizations. However, results of a 2010 poll show that over 80 percent of Dominicans believe that the nation’s overall situation is “bad” and that 67 percent believe corruption is worse now than in earlier years. The poll also reveals that 75.6 percent of the people believe that the judicial system has the highest level of corruption followed by political parties, the National Police, municipalities, Congress, Presidency, Secretariat of Public Works and the Armed Forces. Despite the GODR’s efforts of institutionalizing judicial reforms and developing the capacity to conduct complex financial investigations, it must address corruption issues and develop an effective witness protection program.
The increased cooperation between the DNP and DNCD has improved efforts to fight drug-related crimes. Additionally, the cooperation with neighboring countries and the United States has decreased illicit drug trafficking by air from South America. However, the GODR must continue to improve these efforts through the installation of radars, development of its helicopter units, and effective command and control procedures to maintain the line of defense. Through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), the Dominican Republic should also improve maritime interdiction cooperation with neighboring countries as well as with United Kingdom, French, and Dutch affiliated territories in the Caribbean. Furthermore, the GODR must develop initiatives to deny DTOs the use of commercial ports to transit illicit drugs.
The islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire, located off the coast of Venezuela, continue to serve as northbound transshipment points for cocaine and increasing amounts of heroin coming from South America; chiefly Colombia, Venezuela, and to a much lesser extent, Suriname. Typically, drugs are transported to U.S. territories in the Caribbean by "go-fast" boats, although use of fishing boats, freighters, and cruise ships are becoming more common. These maritime shipments were generally enroute to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, but St. Maarten continues to hold some measurable popularity among drug traffickers as a gateway to Europe. Throughout the Caribbean, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and local law enforcement officials saw both typical go-fast boat traffic and load sizes reduced this year in the Dutch Caribbean. Drug couriers, also known as “mules,” conceal small quantities of drugs on commercial flights to Europe and, at times, to the U.S. In addition to go-fast boat activity and smuggling via commercial airlines, there is increasing evidence that larger quantities of narcotics continue to be smuggled through the use of cargo containers.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends:
No new laws or initiatives were undertaken in 2010 regarding counternarcotics programs in the Dutch Caribbean. However, as anticipated, the Government of the Netherlands Antilles (GONA) dissolved on October 9, 2010, and its successor political entities remain part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (KON), though Saint Maarten and Curaçao became separate countries within the Kingdom on October 10, 2010. The GONA constitution was enacted in 1954, when the country included the six islands of Curaçao, Bonaire, St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius and Aruba. Aruba left the GONA in 1986, but remained part of the Kingdom as a quasi-independent entity. Curaçao and St. Maarten now have a status similar to Aruba, and the three remaining BES islands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba) are special overseas municipalities within the Netherlands.
Currently, Aruba, Curaçao, and Dutch St. Maarten, have autonomy over their internal affairs, with the right to exercise independent decision making in a number of counternarcotics areas. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is responsible for the defense and foreign affairs of all four Caribbean parts of the Kingdom and assists the Governments of Aruba, Curaçao, Dutch St. Maarten, and BES islands in their efforts to combat narcotics trafficking.
Cumulatively in 2010, approximately 2 metric tons of cocaine and 440 kilograms of marijuana were seized by Dutch Caribbean officials in the region.
The Netherlands extended the 1988 UN Drug Convention to the Netherlands Antilles (NA) and Aruba in March 1999, with the reservation that its obligations under certain provisions would only be applicable in so far as they were in accordance with NA and Aruba criminal legislation and policy on criminal matters. The NA and Aruba subsequently enacted revised, uniform legislation to resolve a lack of uniformity between the asset forfeiture laws of the NA and Aruba. The obligations of the Netherlands as a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, applied to the NA and Aruba upon accession. The Netherlands extended the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols to Aruba in 2007 and extended the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances to the NA in 1999. The Netherlands’1981 Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the United States applied to the NA and Aruba, although the new US-Netherlands Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement does not. Both Aruba and the former NA have routinely honored requests made under the MLAT and cooperate extensively with the United States on law enforcement matters at less formal levels. On the other hand, the 2004 U.S.-Netherlands Extradition Agreement and its Annex (which is the earlier extradition treaty with the KON), does apply to the Dutch Caribbean; and both the former NA and Aruba have been extremely cooperative in extraditing drug traffickers to the U.S. In addition, the former NA and Aruba adopted the Agreement Regarding Mutual Cooperation in the Tracing, Freezing, Seizure and Forfeiture of the Proceeds and Instrumentalities of Crime and the Sharing of Forfeited Assets, which was signed by the GONL in 1994. The Kingdom of the Netherlands has notified the United Nations in its capacity as depositary of treaties as well as the United States that the modification of the structure of the Kingdom (as described above) will not affect the validity of international agreements ratified by the Kingdom for the Netherlands Antilles.
In 2010, Aruba law enforcement officials continued to investigate and prosecute mid-level drug traffickers who supply drugs to "mules." There were several instances where Aruba authorities cooperated with U.S. authorities to realize U.S. prosecutions of American citizens arrested in Aruba while attempting to return to the United States with drugs in multi-kilogram quantities. Aruba also devotes substantial time and effort to the identification of the person’s responsible for the importation of drugs to Aruba.
The GOA hosts personnel of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Bureau of Customs and Border Protection pre-inspection and pre-clearance at Reina Beatrix Airport. These officers occupy facilities financed and built by the GOA. DHS reported several seizures of cocaine in 2010. Drug smugglers arrested are either prosecuted in Aruba or returned to the U.S. for prosecution. Aruban officials regularly explore ways to capitalize on the presence of the DHS personnel, seeking to use this resident U.S. law enforcement expertise to improve local law enforcement capabilities.
In Curaçao, all elements of the law enforcement and judicial community recognize that, chiefly due to geography, Curaçao faces a serious threat from drug trafficking. The police, who are understaffed and need additional training, have received some additional resources, including various support and training by the Netherlands and the United States. The local Korps Politie Curaçao (KPC) made progress in 2010 in initiating complex, sensitive cases targeting upper-echelon traffickers. As an example, Curaçao officials concentrated efforts on a major drug trafficking organization (DTO) that received multiple hundred kilogram loads of cocaine in Curaçao and Bonaire and then re-distributed the drugs through a long established transportation network to the Netherlands, Europe, and the United States. The DTO was also suspected of being responsible for several drug related murders in Curaçao. Previously the subject of numerous investigations by law enforcement in Curaçao, this DTO was able to evade officials in their attempt to bring a prosecutable case against them. In March 2010, an investigation occurred subsequent to the seizure of approximately 20 kilograms of cocaine from a fishing vessel off the coast of Bonaire. Four subjects were arrested in Curaçao and Bonaire and multiple search warrants were executed at various locations in Bonaire and Curaçao. Evidence collected from the search warrants included money counters, packaging material and drug ledgers. Also, the logo stamped on the 20 kilograms (two lions facing each other) were the same logos found on approximately 400 kilograms that were seized subsequent to a small plane crash off the coast of Bonaire during October 2009. These efforts also demonstrated the effectiveness of cooperation with other law enforcement entities in the region.
During 2008, the Police Chief in conjunction with the Minister of Justice made a concentrated effort to improve criminal intelligence gathering by creating a new Regional Expertise and Information Center (REIC) Unit within the KPC. These improvements were effected through money grants from the Netherlands and partnerships with U.S. law enforcement, specifically the DEA. The REIC had a positive impact on the KPC by improving investigative effectiveness. In 2010, the KPC REIC Unit has improved its place in the regional scheme of enforcement as a viable international partner for law enforcement matters.
The specialized Dutch police units named “Recherche Samenwerkingsteam” (RST) that support law enforcement in the area of responsibility continued to be effective in 2010 and continued to include local officers in the development of investigative strategies to ensure exchange of expertise and information. During 2010, the RST units have proven to be effective in sharing intelligence in a regional and international arena resulting in several successful operations to thwart organized crime groups.
The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba Coast Guard (CGNAA), soon to be renamed the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard, has developed a very effective counternarcotics intelligence service and is considered by DEA to be an invaluable international law enforcement partner. The CGNAA was responsible for several seizures of cocaine and marijuana.
In addition to these improvements in law enforcement, the Government of Curaçao demonstrated its commitment to the counternarcotics effort by continued support for a U.S. Forward Operating Location (FOL) at the Curaçao Hato International Airport. Under a ten-year use agreement signed in March 2000 and ratified in October 2001 by the Dutch Parliament, U.S. military aircraft conduct counternarcotics detection and monitoring flights over both the source and transit zones from commercial ramp space. A five year extension to this agreement was signed by Curaçao officials and begins in 2011.
The U.S. Consulate, in coordination with the DEA Country Office in Curaçao, continues a strong demand reduction program involving the International School of Curaçao, Curaçao Girl Scouts, and the Curaçao Baseball City Foundation (CBCF) with Major League Baseball.
Officials in St. Maarten have taken the drug trafficking threat seriously by initiating joint U.S. cooperative investigations as well as adopting new law enforcement strategies to combat the problems. Sailing vessels and larger vessels continued to be identified infrequently even as they are used to clandestinely move multi-hundred kilogram shipments of cocaine under the guise of recreational maritime traffic. The multitude and diversity of routes and methods used by drug smugglers, coupled with a lack of adequate law enforcement controls over the flow of goods, works in favor of criminal organizations. Dutch St. Maarten is considered a “Free Zone”, which means there are limited controls placed on import and export of goods. This situation also applies to financial crimes. The absence of stringent checks on monetary flows means that money laundering and proceeds from illegal activities are relatively easy to conceal.
Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba
Since October 2010, the National Office for the Caribbean Netherlands has assumed the responsibilities of policing, security and other administrative functions on behalf of the Government of the Netherlands for the BES islands. In addition, the Dutch Navy regularly operates in the region for security purposes, and, at times, in support of the counternarcotics-focused Joint Inter Agency Task Force (JIATF) South. For many years, the Dutch Navy has become a close and essential ally of the DEA, U.S. Coast Guard and other U.S. agencies. Their continual efforts to thwart drug trafficking in the region have been noted at the highest levels of the U.S. government.
As a matter of policy, neither the Government of Aruba nor the KON and its special overseas municipality islands encourage or facilitate illicit drug production, or are involved in laundering the proceeds of the sale of illicit drugs. The effect of official corruption on the production, transportation, and processing of illegal drugs is relatively small for Aruba and the KON, although it does occur on occasion. Aruba and the KON have been quick to address these issues through criminal investigations, internal investigations, new hiring practices, and continued monitoring of law enforcement officials who hold sensitive positions. To prevent such public corruption, there is a judiciary that enjoys a well-deserved reputation for integrity.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
The objectives of U.S. policy in the Dutch Caribbean are to reduce illicit trafficking, advance public safety and security, and promote social justice. In particular, U.S. officials working with their island counterparts strive to maintain effective liaison and promote efficient country clearance actions which allow DEA domestic offices to advance investigations. The Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General of these territories and countries have pledged their support in galvanizing the police into action.
The U.S. encourages the Dutch Caribbean islands and the Kingdom of the Netherlands to continue their efforts in supporting the region through proactive counternarcotics activities and improved law enforcement intelligence sharing. The uses of technical investigative equipment and efforts to confront major drug traffickers have proved quite successful recently and will hopefully continue. The U.S. also encourages the Dutch Navy participation in offshore patrolling of the region, as it provides an important contribution to interdiction efforts and combined operations with U.S. counternarcotics agencies.
Though quite unique in many ways, the seven independent countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are commonly known and collectively referred to in this report as the Eastern Caribbean. This regional area continues to harbor abundant transshipment points for illicit narcotics primarily from Venezuela destined for North American, European and domestic Caribbean markets. The drugs transit mostly by sea in “go-fast” boats, larger fishing vessels, yachts and freighters in a variety of scenarios tailored to the geography of the region. Drug related crime rates are increasing as more drugs are remaining in the region, and local consumption of drugs is on the rise. Cultivation of marijuana is ongoing in the region as well, primarily for local consumption.
Independently, the Eastern Caribbean countries have bilateral maritime counternarcotics agreements with the United States. Meanwhile, an international organization known as the Regional Security System (RSS) exists by treaty, to which all seven countries are signatories.
The U.S. Coast Guard provides technical and logistical support for over 40 maritime police and security vessels in the region. However, independently, law enforcement capacity continues to be under-resourced and plagued with antiquated legal codes and corruption in the ranks. Collectively, they struggle with communication and coordination of effort despite their relative close proximity to each other.
In general, the Eastern Caribbean suffers from a dramatic increase in crime rates as more narcotics remain on the streets for local consumption while organized gangs are forming to control distribution in the lucrative drug trade. Compounding the problem is the lack of comprehensive and timely vetting of all officers serving in sensitive positions, which contributes to the vulnerability of narcotics corruption.
The Eastern Caribbean islands and the RSS are participating in the U.S. led Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) and all island countries are signatories to the 1988 UN Convention.
B. Country Sections - Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
Antigua and Barbuda
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda (GOAB) has three drug enforcement agencies, the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Force (RABPF), the GOAB Coast Guard (which is part of the Royal GOAB Defense Force) and the GOAB Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP). ONDCP works closely with the police force and the Coast Guard to interdict and intercept the drugs, and share information with other countries in the region. The Royal GOAB Defense Force also has a mandate to interdict drug smuggling. According to the GOAB in 2010 there were no significant changes in the structure, centralization responsibilities, budget or manpower of government institutions relative to the institutional drug control infrastructure.
The Antigua and Barbuda Misuse of Drugs Act was amended in 2008 to provide that possession of drugs of over 2 kilograms is now subject to indictment and can only be tried by a judge and jury, removing the requirement of trial by magistrate. In addition, the Ministry of Health has specific record keeping requirements on the importation of pseudoephredrine and ephedrine chemicals. GOAB has civil forfeiture legislation in place.
The GOAB is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Convention. It is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention on Extradition, the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Inter-American Firearms Convention), the UN Convention against Corruption and its three Protocols and the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. The GOAB has an extradition treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in force with the U.S.
The GOAB estimates that both cocaine shipments and marijuana cultivation have increased over the same reporting period from last year. In 2010, GOAB law enforcement eradicated a total of two acres of cultivated marijuana in multiple locations. The local methodology used for crop size and yield data is reported as being uprooting of each plant separately which is then counted, and size of acreage is estimated on number of plants cultivated and uprooted in different locations on the island.
In cases where arrests were made in 2010, the following drug totals were reported as seized: just over 1 kilogram (kg) of cocaine, 83 kg of marijuana, 68 tablets of Ecstasy, and 3,345 cannabis plants. Amounts of drugs seized where no arrests were made are reported as: 36.3 grams of cocaine, 85.5 kg of marijuana, and 24,156 cannabis plants. GOAB authorities filed 82 drug related cases, some with multiple defendants. During 2010, thirty drug related cases went to trial, with twenty-seven convictions. The remaining cases are still pending in court. There were no prosecutions of any major drug traffickers during 2010. The nationalities of persons arrested for drugs in 2010 were as follows: 82 Antiguan; 4 Jamaican; 2 Dominican; 1 each from St. Vincent, Dominican Republic, Guyana, U.K. and St. Lucia.
The GOAB continues to struggle with a lack of adequate infrastructure for maritime patrol; only the GOAB Coast Guard, a defense and security force, has vessels. The GOAB police lack maritime platforms to help them patrol the marinas and secluded coastlines, and as a result, operational capacity is limited to joint operations. Though reasonably effective when exercised, the joint patrols still do not present the day to day deterrent effect of constant small vessel patrolling. The GOAB’s counternarcotics effectiveness continues to be hindered by a legal system that does not reflect the needs of modern law enforcement. The GOAB has not targeted any major drug traffickers or their organizations. Law enforcement lacks the capacity and the resources to undertake systematic counternarcotics operations.
Antigua and Barbuda has the Drug Abuse and Resistance Education program and it is employed in the schools. Police officers are conducting anti-drug lectures in the school, churches, prisons and social organizations. The GOAB is also conveying the anti-drug message through print and electronic media. Antigua and Barbuda did not report the existence of any rehabilitation programs. The GOAB reported that a large amount of cannabis is consumed domestically, but no figures are available.
The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) has a Drug Squad which is guided by the Barbados National Anti Drug Plan. The National Plan outlines the policies, goals, strategies and legislation to combat narcotics trafficking. The Drug Squad management focuses on major traffickers, although it does monitor street “mules” and low level drug traffickers as well. The Drug Squad has a priority mandate to cooperate and share information and intelligence with regional and international counterparts, with the main intelligence focus on major traffickers and organizations. It works closely with the Regional Security Systems (RSS) Air Wing, the RBPF Marine Unit, and the Barbados Coast Guard.
Barbados has a coastal radar system (Inter Coastal Surveillance Systems Radar) which could assist in drug interdiction but it is not fully operational. The radar system has yet to achieve 360 degree coverage of the island by linking four strategically-placed towers together. Additional funding was sought by government officials to complete the project in 201. RSS aircraft, the RBPF Marine Unit patrol vessels, and the Barbados Coast Guard patrol vessels are the main enforcement assets used by the Drug Squad to monitor the illegal movement of narcotics by sea. In 2010 there was no significant change in the structure of the Drug Squad.
There were no new developments or adoption of new legislation or budgets to assist in drug enforcement during 2010, according to the Drug Squad. Legislation is in place that imposes record keeping and reporting on the use of precursor chemicals, and importation of pseudoephredrine, ephedrine and pharmaceutical products containing those two chemicals.
Barbados is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Convention. Barbados is a signatory to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and has signed, but not yet ratified, the UN Convention Against Corruption and its three Protocols. Barbados has not signed the Inter-American Convention on Extradition or the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. However, Barbados has a Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act which allows it to provide mutual legal assistance to countries with which it has a bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty, Commonwealth countries, and state-parties to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Barbados has an asset sharing agreement with Canada. Barbados is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Inter-American Firearms Convention). Barbados has an extradition treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in force with the U.S.
Recent trends in cocaine smuggling suggest that the Venezuelan drug trafficking rings have fostered relationships with local Barbados-based organizations to facilitate trafficking. Meetings between these organizations have involved arranging for drops of cocaine by foreign vessels at predestined global positioning system coordinates for retrieval by local vessels at sea.
In 2010 cannabis was the only drug found under cultivation. A total of 16,371 plants were seized; most were seized due to eradication efforts. The acreage was not measured as the plants were found in various locations such as cane fields, gullies, bushy areas, in homes and in enclosed yards of homes. No drug laboratories or processing facilities were encountered or eliminated during 2010. From January 1 until October 15, total drug seizures in Barbados were: 9.1 metric tons of cannabis; 63.67 kg of cocaine, and 16,371 cannabis plants. At sea seizures were reported as 6.7 metric tons of cannabis and 7 kg of cocaine. Seventy-three percent of total cannabis seizures were made at sea. No additional seizures were reported for remainder of 2010. For the first time, no designer drugs were seen this reporting period. Authorities seized cocaine in liquid, powdered and crystalline forms. Also in 2010, 641 persons were arrested for drug related offenses and all were taken to court. Statistics on convictions are not yet available. Nine major drug traffickers were prosecuted during 2010.
Barbados has the Drug Abuse and Resistance Education program and it is employed in the schools throughout the island. Police officers from the Drug Squad and the Community Relations unit are conducting anti-drug lectures in the schools, churches, prisons, social organizations, and to the private sector. There are other drug demand reduction programs through the National Council on Substance Abuse and the National Committee for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency. The Drug Squad believes these entities need to revisit their educational programs, pointing to the high level of cannabis consumption among the populations. There are four drug rehabilitation clinics in BBS, one of which is specifically targeted to youth.
The Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (CDPF) has a Drug Squad which is mandated to lead on drug enforcement. According to the CDPF, Drug Squad operations are focused on major traffickers; however, no significant arrests occurred in 2010. The Dominican Coast Guard is mandated with drug interdiction and, in March 2009, acquired a new vessel to facilitate operations to include routine patrols. Dominica is particularly concerned with cannabis cultivation in the mountainous zones which pose special challenges to law enforcement as the terrain is rugged and often impenetrable except by foot patrols. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is operational and is assisting in identifying Proceeds of Crime Act violations in drug trafficking cases.
The Dominica Proceeds of Crime Act was amended during 2010 to address deficiencies in implementation. The FIU has referred the first major money laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act case to the Director of Public Prosecutions; the case is still under investigation and charges have been filed against several individuals. Legislation is in place that requires record-keeping and reporting on the use of precursor chemicals, and also on the importation of pseudoephredrine, ephedrine and pharmaceutical products containing those two chemicals.
Dominica is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Convention. On May 28, 2010, Dominica acceded to the UN Convention against Corruption. Its bilateral maritime agreement with the United States does not include overflight provisions. It is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Inter-American Firearms Convention), and the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism. Dominica has an extradition treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in force with the U.S.
Dominica estimates that 210 acres of cannabis is cultivated annually, primarily for local consumption. During the year, Dominican police eradicated 37 separate cultivations over some 16 acres and 145,258 cannabis plants. Dominica officials netted 265 drug seizures which included 145,258 cannabis plants, 604 kg of cannabis, and 1.5 kg of cocaine. There were no laboratories or drug processing plants eliminated. Dominica reported 197 drug related arrests during 2010. Although no major drug traffickers are reported as being prosecuted during 2010, there were 271 prosecutions for drug related offenses and 170 convictions.
Dominica has a Drug Prevention Unit which is engaging in education targeted to youth but the effectiveness is rated as moderate. Dominica does not have a drug rehabilitation clinic. Dominica reported 90 percent of the drugs transiting the country go to Guadeloupe, Antigua, and St. Martin. As to domestic consumption it is estimated that of the general population, 10 percent use cocaine and 25 percent use cannabis.
Due to the location of Grenada, it is also used as rest and refueling stop-over point for drug traffickers; many of the neighboring uninhabited islands are used to temporarily store shipments of drugs. Traffickers exploit the remote cays and uninhabited islands for transshipment purposes. Though the police have boat platforms for patrols, they were mostly non-operational during the year. Grenada has developed a plan to combat drug trafficking, which involves a multi-dimensional approach to target major traffickers by enhanced collaboration with regional and international law enforcement. A special Drug Squad has been mandated to identify, target and investigate the major traffickers, along with joint initiatives with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
Grenada is using tools such as border-control data, searches, and profiling at ports of entry, as well as regional and international assistance in identifying and profiling vessels and persons involved in the movement of illicit narcotics. The Drug Squad lost its office accommodation during the 2004 hurricane and has been in temporary buildings since that year. The structure, centralization and responsibilities of the drug enforcement effort remain the same as the previous reporting period, but there has been a reduction in funding for counternarcotics initiatives and support, according to the Government of Grenada. Legislation is in place that requires record-keeping and reporting on the use of precursor chemicals, and also on the importation of pseudoephredrine, ephedrine and pharmaceutical products containing those two chemicals.
Grenada is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Convention. It is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Inter-American Firearms Convention), the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols, and the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism. Grenada has an extradition treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in force with the United States.
Cannabis is grown on small plots in the mountainous areas of Grenada, accessible only on foot. Booby traps and lookouts are employed by farmers to protect their crops from rivals and from law enforcement. For the year, Grenada seized 6,979 cannabis plants. Grenada estimates 600 plants per acre for a total of 10 acres eradicated. For the reporting period, Grenadian officials seized 372.02 kg of cannabis, 1,107 cannabis cigarettes, 25.03 kg of cocaine, and 184 crack balls. There were no laboratories or drug processing plants detected or eliminated. Grenadian officials arrested 254 persons for drug related offenses. Information on prosecutions or convictions this year was not provided in time for this report. The numbers reported by Grenada in terms of seizures of cocaine are lower than previous years. Overall operational effectiveness is hampered by the lack of marine support, vehicles and equipment support, especially computers.
Grenada did have a drug rehabilitation clinic but it was destroyed in 2005. Since then the treatment of substance abuse has been provided at Mt. Gay Mental Hospital. Cannabis is the prevalent drug of use in Grenada, with only a very small percentage of drug abusers using crack cocaine.
St. Kitts and Nevis
There is a dedicated Drug Unit on St. Kitts whose mandate is to concentrate on drug offenses, with a smaller unit on Nevis. However, all programs are coordinated in St. Kitts. According to their officials, the present manpower of the Drug Unit is inadequate and it does not have a separate budget. The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis (GOSKN) Defense Force does work with the Drug Unit and complements the work in the eradication program. GOSKN authorities have limited ability to effectively patrol its maritime areas at the present time.
There were no significant changes in the structure, centralization responsibilities, budget or manpower from previous year’s reporting. Legislation is in place that requires record keeping and reporting on the use of precursor chemicals, as well as importation of pseudoephredrine, ephedrine and pharmaceutical products containing those two chemicals.
The GOSKN has proposed new legislation to provide law enforcement with the tools and authority to conduct wire intercepts. According to GOSKN reporting, the legislation is due for implementation in 2011.
St. Kitts and Nevis is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Convention. It is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, and the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Inter-American Firearms Convention), and the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols. St. Kitts and Nevis has not signed the Inter-American Convention on Extradition or the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. St. Kitts and Nevis has an extradition treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in force with the United States.
St. Kitts and Nevis claims the prevailing global economic problems have affected the foreign drug trade in its territory in that imports are down and locally produced cannabis is gaining a foothold on the market with exports predicted to rise. Cannabis cultivation is predominantly taking place in the rough terrain in the mountainous regions of the island, and a fair amount is also being grown in areas previously used for sugar production. During the rainy season the mountainous areas pose serious challenges to law enforcement and eradication is difficult. Based on local practice, St. Kitts and Nevis estimates that one acre of cultivation would allow for 2,000 to 3,000 plants. The amount of cannabis cultivation is unknown and unreported. There were numerous drug eradications during the reporting period. In 2010, 29.14 acres were eradicated with 81,595 plants destroyed.
Seizures in St. Kitts and Nevis for 2010 were: 41 kg of cured cannabis, 5 grams of hashish, 602.1 grams of crack cocaine and 9.2 kg of cannabis seeds. There were 165 drug related arrests, with 79 prosecutions during the same period and 74 convictions. A number of cases are still before the court. There was no prosecution of any major drug trafficker during 2010. There were no drug laboratories or drug processing plants detected or eliminated in 2010.
St. Kitts and Nevis has the Drug Abuse and Resistance Education (DARE) program and it is available for use in the schools; however, the program is dormant and efforts to restart it have not been successful. Another program is the Operation Future, which is similar to DARE, as public awareness education is conducted by the National Drug Council. St. Kitts and Nevis estimates that of domestic drug users, 90 percent use cannabis while only 10 percent use cocaine. St. Kitts and Nevis does not have any rehabilitation clinic but persons in need of rehabilitation are sent to St. Lucia for that service.
St. Lucia has experienced a definitive uptick in drug gang related violent crime over the past year, including murders of witnesses in pending drug trafficking cases, prompting authorities to call for a regional witness protection program as a matter of regional security.
The Royal St. Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) is reorganizing internally with the view of improving its intelligence generating capabilities and has undergone personnel changes over the past year, which has tended to disrupt and possibly undermine effective drug enforcement efforts. U.S. agencies are seriously concerned over some of the personnel changes, and their full effect is under close scrutiny by the U.S. agencies involved in assisting St. Lucia in its drug enforcement programs. The RSLPF also wants to augment the Drug Squad and reprioritize its focus. However, other than the personnel changes and reorganization of the police department, there were no significant changes in structure, centralization responsibilities, or budget from the previous year’s reporting.
In close collaboration with the Financial Investigations Unit (FIU), St. Lucian authorities report it is in the process of preparing for trial with its first financial investigations case against a major cocaine and cannabis dealer in 2011. This year, the government organized a special task force to try and suppress drug gang related activities. However, the Drug Squad was almost forced to suspend drug eradication exercises in order to provide support to this special task force. The RSLPF reported that eradication might be suspended for the final months of 2010 due to the demands of the special task force and the devastation caused by Hurricane Tomas, which caused safety concerns due to landslides.
The RSLPF did not report whether there is any legislation in place that imposes record keeping and reporting on the use of precursor chemicals, and importation of pseudoephredrine, ephedrine and pharmaceutical products containing those two chemicals. There is currently an amendment before the Parliament to add civil forfeiture powers to the Money Laundering Act.
St. Lucia is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Convention. It is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, and the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Inter-American Firearms Convention), the Inter-American Convention on Extradition and the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism. It has signed but not yet ratified the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. St. Lucia has an extradition treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in force with the United States.
St. Lucia estimates that one third of actual cultivation of cannabis was destroyed in 2010 when it eradicated 180,113 grown plants and over 19,425 seedlings in 42 eradication operations covering an estimated 45 acres. St. Lucia reported total seizures in 2010 that included 481 kg of cannabis, 48.87 kg of cocaine, with four seizures made at sea. St. Lucia reported that more than 70 percent of all arrests made on the island were drug related; to date 279 persons have been arrested for drug offenses out of which 65 percent have been prosecuted and 55 percent of those convicted. A major drug trafficker, arrested in 2007 for possession of cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply, was successfully prosecuted in 2010 and sentenced to two four-year concurrent sentences.
St. Lucia has drug demand reduction programs sponsored by the Substance Abuse Department of the Ministry of Health, the Community Relations Branch Board of the RSLPF, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Social Transformation. The Drug Squad makes a small contribution to the effort. However, even the RSLPF believes these programs are not very effective and too small scale and lack effective coordination. St. Lucia has one official drug rehabilitation clinic, Turning Point.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is drafting a National Drug Plan with assistance from the Organization of American States (OAS) and in collaboration with civil society and other stakeholders. The Government has set up a new Forensic Drug Laboratory in Kingstown to help expedite prosecutions. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is working closely with the Narcotics Unit in the police department, helping to target money laundering and identify traffickers. A new unit has been established in the police department (Rapid Response Unit, or RRU) with members placed in troubled areas to target drug and firearms offenses. The police department has seen an increase in personnel with 54 new officers during the year. Otherwise, there were no significant changes in terms of structure, centralization, responsibilities and budget.
A Narcotics Unit exists to target the major dealers. An example during the year was Dexter Michael who had been identified as a target for 2008-2009 and was successfully extradited in June 2010 to the British Virgin Islands for importation of cocaine. The Narcotics Unit, the RRU and the SVG Coast Guard jointly perform maritime interdiction operations with new domain awareness gained from the use of two radar sites installed in July 2010. The radar system has made a marked improvement to operational effectiveness. Almost immediately following radar installation and in concert with the RSS Air Wing, the SVG Coast Guard intercepted and seized a go-fast boat with two suspects on board and $63,900 in U.S. currency.
There was no new legislation passed or pending in 2010 related to drug enforcement. There are no laws that govern the specific record keeping on the importation of pseudoephredrine, ephedrine and pharmaceutical products containing those two chemicals.
SVG is a party to the 1961 U.N Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Convention. On October 29, 2010, SVG became a signatory to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols. It is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, and has signed but not ratified the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Inter-American Firearms Convention), the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism, and the Inter-American Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. SVG has an extradition treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in force with the U.S. The bilateral maritime counternarcotics agreement with the US does not include over-flight provisions.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines continues to be one of the largest producers of cannabis in the Eastern Caribbean and the source for the majority of cannabis in the region. The northern half of St. Vincent has extensive tracts of land under drug cultivation; this area is near the La Soufriere volcano with steep 4,000 feet high slopes, narrow ridges and dense forests. According to SVG officials, the Police have also seen an increase in movement of cocaine in airports via false bottom suitcases carried by both locals and foreigners. A go-fast boat was intercepted travelling from Trinidad and Tobago with cocaine and arms in exchange for cannabis.
Regional trade has also increased with Trinidad and Tobago sending drugs and guns by vessel to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in exchange for cannabis. There has been a marked increase in cash flowing through money remittance systems as well. As the main producer of cannabis in the region, the farmers in the hilly areas are a mixture of nationalities such as Antiguan, Barbadian, Dominican, Trinidadian, Grenadian, Kittitian, and St. Lucian. The farmers are compressing the dried product with hydraulic jacks and labeling the product with logos and signs, such as “XXX”, “KILL”, “MS 13”, “666”, and “777.” According to local officials, St. Vincent has approximately 360 acres under marijuana cultivation. During 2010 there were 22 eradication operations carried out, destroying 90 acres of cultivation, and 164,787 plants. There are two different crop sizes and yields; the short crop is three months with less of a yield, and the long crop of six months with plants up to ten feet tall. No laboratories or drug processing plants were detected or eliminated during 2010. St. Vincent and the Grenadines police seized 3.4 metric tons of cannabis, 7.5 cannabis cigarettes, 28 kg of cocaine, and 394 cocaine rocks.
There were 459 drug related cases reported. During 2010 there were 268 convictions, 79 cases pending, 3 cases dismissed, 14 cases under investigation. There were 361 persons arrested for drug offenses, 17 of whom were foreigners, 321 for cannabis and 44 for cocaine. Six of those arrested were under the age of 16 years, and 45 were between the age of 16 and 19. According to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines police, they need more logistical support for their operations. The drug business has infiltrated segments of the population, causing a dependence on the cannabis trade, and the government will need more than just enforcement support to combat the long term effects of the drug trade.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has the Drug Abuse and Resistance Education program and it is employed in the schools. Police officers are conducting anti-drug lectures in the school, churches, prisons and social organizations. St. Vincent and the Grenadines does not have any rehabilitation clinics. The main drug abused is cannabis with 30 percent of abusers estimated among local drug users consumption and 2 percent using cocaine.
Regional Security System (RSS)
Brokered by the USG, a treaty between the above islands was established in 1996 after a brief history of political instability among some islands in the 1980’s, followed by a longer history of working together as a group on law enforcement and Cold War-era security issues. According to the treaty, the purposes and functions of the RSS are to promote co-operation among the Member States in the prevention and interdiction of traffic in illegal narcotic drugs, in national emergencies, immigration control, fisheries protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, combating threats to national security, and other vital issues that require a combined effort.
A Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) is appointed by the Council of Ministers - the policy making body of the System - and is tasked with the responsibility for the general operational and administrative direction of the System. The RSC is the Chief Executive Officer and is the head of the Central Liaison Office (CLO) which is the Secretariat for the System. The first Regional Security Coordinator was Brigadier Rudyard Lewis who relinquished the post on 26 August 2003. Mr. Grantley Watson, former Commissioner of Police of the Royal Barbados Police Force, was appointed on October 1, 2003 and continues today at this post.
The key components of the RSS are the C-26 Air Wing, the Coast Guards and the Special Services Unit. Coast Guards are units of the Police forces except in Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis where they are Units of the Defense Forces. Each Police Force has a paramilitary unit known as the Special Services Unit (SSU). In Barbados, it is known as the Task Force and in Antigua and Barbuda, as the Special Patrol Group. The CLO coordinates paramilitary training for these units which are expected to deal with crises beyond the capacity to the regular Police.
During 2010, the USG continued to support the RSS Air Wing with operational support for flight hours and upgrades and maintenance on key equipment. In November 2010, USG officials transferred two ground equipment pieces, a Ground Power Unit (GPU) and an aircraft tug, which both support and help to maintain the capacity of the RSS air program. They replace units that were delivered when the C-26 program started in 1999.
Also donated in November 2010, were thirty-five sets of diving gear. Each RSS Coast Guard or Marine Police Unit received five sets of dive gear and the project represented a joint effort between U.S. Embassy Bridgetown’s Military Liaison Office and Narcotics Affairs Officer to complement training previously provided to the RSS member states during a diving workshop with the USS GRASP.
As a matter of policy, the governments of the Eastern Caribbean do not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior government officials in the Eastern Caribbean were reported as having been prosecuted in 2010 for engaging in or facilitating the illicit production or distribution of controlled drugs or laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. News media, however, routinely report on instances of corruption reaching high levels of government that are not investigated or go unpunished. USG analysts believe drug trafficking organizations continue to elude law enforcement agencies through bribery, influence or coercion.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and US Policy Initiatives
The objectives of U.S. policy in the Eastern Caribbean as outlined in the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) are to substantially reduce illicit trafficking, advance public safety and security, and promote social justice. CBSI programs in support of these objectives will develop and strengthen the capacity of regional defense, law enforcement, and justice sector institutions to detect, interdict, and successfully prosecute criminal elements operating in the region. CBSI will directly address rising crime and violence through demand reduction and crime prevention programs while concurrently developing national and regional capacities to provide greater socio-economic alternatives for vulnerable populations. To enhance the collective capacity of the Eastern Caribbean to combat trafficking and transnational crime, CBSI will provide support for information sharing networks, joint interagency operations and regional training initiatives to promote interoperability.
All island countries have a unique counterdrug bilateral agreement with the U.S. that includes provisions such as ship rider, pursuit and entry into territorial seas, and ship boarding authorization, among others. These agreements provide advanced permissions and protocols that expedite law enforcement action day or night.
The USCG provided the Eastern Caribbean nations with resident, mobile and on-the-job training in maritime law enforcement, engineering and maintenance, port security, and leadership and management in 2010.
The U.S. encourages the seven nations of the Eastern Caribbean to effectively implement recent initiatives supporting counternarcotics efforts and proactive participation in the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. In addition, allowing the RSS to take a leading role in establishing strategic and operational priorities regarding law enforcement and counternarcotics program needs will provide an efficient and effective means to accomplish Eastern Caribbean goals under CBSI. The U.S. is also encouraged by the commitment of the Government of Barbados in securing resources to complete the integrated coastal radar system and invest in both maritime and air assets to achieve a new level of domain awareness that will benefit the entire region.
Sandwiched between Colombia and Peru and bordering the Pacific Ocean on the west, Ecuador is a major transit country for cocaine and heroin. An estimated 220 metric tons (MT) of cocaine transits Ecuador each year, with 60 percent destined for the U.S. and most of the balance for Europe. Narcotics traffickers exploit large, sparsely populated border regions and difficult-to-monitor maritime and river routes to that end. Ecuador is also a major transit country for chemical precursors for South American processing and heroin destined for the United States. Border controls are weak and frequently evaded but are gradually improving.
Ecuador is vulnerable to organized crime due to historically weak public institutions and corruption. The Ecuadorian National Police (ENP), military forces, and the judiciary do not have sufficient personnel, equipment, or funding to meet all of the transnational criminal challenges they face. Ecuador has an increasing problem with domestic drug consumption.
Ecuador is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
The Government of Ecuador (GOE) has continued to focus on the threat from narcotics trafficking. However, in 2010 domestic crime and other issues sometimes drew attention away from narcotics trafficking or otherwise disrupted counternarcotics work. An amendment to the bilateral Letter of Agreement needed to obligate FY 2010 funding for a significant portion of U.S. counternarcotics assistance was not signed by the GOE by the end of the fiscal year deadline, causing some needed support to be unavailable. The Ministry of Justice led work on reforming the current legislation on drug crimes, drug control, and prevention and administration of seized assets aimed at increasing institutional coordination and effectiveness. However, the National Drug Prevention and Control Plan for 2009-2012, introduced last year by Ecuador’s National Council on Drugs and Illegal Substances (CONSEP) to addresses demand (prevention activities, assessments, and rehabilitation programs) and supply reduction (eradication, interdiction, seizures, and money laundering control) as well as alternative development, remains under consideration by President Correa.
A diplomatic process to restore relations between Ecuador and Colombia continued in 2010, and some recent signs, including a naming of ambassadors between the two countries and Ecuador’s humanitarian support during heavy flooding in some areas of Colombia, are encouraging for a further improvement of relations. Nonetheless, frictions still exist following the March 1, 2008, Colombian attack on a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) camp in Angostura, Ecuador, which killed a senior FARC leader. Although Colombia ceased spraying near the Ecuadorian border in early 2007, senior GOE officials continue to allege that Colombian aerial eradication near the border harms humans, animals, and licit crops on the Ecuadorian side. The GOE continued to pursue a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, alleging that Colombia’s aerial eradication actions near Ecuador’s border violated Ecuadorian sovereignty, despite results of an Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD)-commissioned study concluding that drift from aerial eradication was not likely to affect Ecuador under spraying procedures followed by aerial eradication aircraft. The suit seeks reparations from Colombia and the cessation of aerial spraying. On October 22, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) agreed to investigate a GOE complaint against Colombia seeking compensation for the death of the Ecuadorian citizen at Angostura. Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs has stated that this should not affect the restoration of ties between the two nations.
The United States and Ecuador are parties to an extradition treaty which entered into force in 1873 and a supplement to that treaty which entered into force in 1941. Ecuador’s constitution prohibits the extradition of Ecuadorian citizens. The United States and Ecuador do not have an active extradition relationship. The most recent U.S. extradition request, which involved a Colombian drug trafficker, was denied by the GOE in 2010. The United States does not have any further extradition requests pending with Ecuador.
In addition to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, Ecuador is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention of Psychotropic Substances. It is also a party to the 1992 Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the UN Convention Against Corruption, and the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. The GOE has signed bilateral counternarcotics agreements with Colombia, Cuba, Argentina, and the United States; the Summit of the Americas anti-money laundering initiative; and the OAS/CICAD document on Anti-Drug Hemispheric Strategy. Ecuador and the United States have agreements on measures to prevent the diversion of chemical substances; on the sharing of information for currency transactions over $10,000; and a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement.
2. Supply Reduction
In 2010, the GOE continued counternarcotics efforts focused on cocaine interdiction and identifying and destroying processing laboratories, but with diminished cocaine seizures compared to the previous year. Cocaine seizures in 2010 totaled 14.8 metric tons (MT) compared to a total of 43.5 MT in 2009. Of the cocaine seizures, 9.8 MT were land-based and 5 MT were maritime. However, heroin seizures increased to 257.9 kilograms (kg) from 148 kg in the previous year due to successful work by Ecuadorian law enforcement officials at national airports. Marijuana seizures were 2.5 MT compared with 2.8 MT in the previous year. The counternarcotics police (DNA)-run “1-800-Drogas” nationwide hotline, which allows citizens to report anonymously illicit drug activity, has produced tips that resulted in seizures of illicit narcotics, and supported development of cases against other illegal activities such as weapons smuggling.
Along Ecuador’s border region a paucity of licit employment opportunity, endemic poverty, isolation, and proximity to FARC-held Colombian territory combine to make the region unstable. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) continued to support GOE efforts to improve livelihoods and infrastructure, strengthen local government, and open opportunities to expand licit economic activity as part of the GOE’s northern border development master plan. In FY 2010, USAID financed the construction of 40 infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges, irrigation canals, and water and sanitation systems that benefited nearly 22,000 people. USAID also helped increase average incomes of 10,600 families by 17 percent by strengthening value chains in cacao, coffee, and other products.
The Ecuadorian military sustained its operations near the northern border with Colombia, but leveled off from the enhanced tempo following the March 2008 bombing of the FARC camp by Colombia. In 2010, the Ecuadorian military conducted 64 operations at the battalion level, destroyed 89 camps or rest and relaxation locations related to narcotics and guerilla activities, detained 26 individuals, confiscated 27 weapons, 2,172 gallons of fuel, 1,825 kg of TNT, 1,045 kg of other explosives, and 7.5 kg of cocaine paste.
Other successful Ecuadorian counternarcotics operations included the April 2010 arrest of one of the U.S.’s 42 most-wanted drug traffickers, Consolidated Organizational Priority Target (CPOT) Ramon Quintero San Clemente. In addition, in May 2010, Ecuador discovered, for the first time, a self-propelled semi-submersible hidden in a shrimp farm on the coast near the city of Machala as well as 3 MT of cocaine and 10.8 kg of heroin seized at a farm near Perdenales that was being used as a staging point for maritime shipments. In July 2010, Ecuadorian authorities were the first law enforcement entity in the world to seize a self-propelled fully submersible submarine used to transport narcotics. The vessel was clandestinely built in the jungle of the province of Esmeraldas. Additional operations led to seizures of 482 kg of cocaine in a container of frozen fish destined for Italy; 727.5 kg of cocaine in a container of frozen shrimp heading to Spain; 2.5 MT of cocaine in a truck headed for Guayaquil; and the destruction of six cocaine processing laboratories.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Ecuadorian Navy have effective Operational Procedures to facilitate maritime counterdrug cooperation and were planning meetings with USG counterparts in late 2010 to better coordinate case package handover procedures to ensure Ecuadorian convictions.
In 2010, Ecuador participated in joint operations with the U.S. Between September 4 and September 13, 2010, Ecuador and the U.S. successfully completed SPONDYLUS II, a joint exercise to improve coordination and communications between the Ecuadorian Coast Guard and Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). An earlier exercise, SPONDYLUS I, took place in May 2010. No drug seizures resulted from the two operations, but the exercise was a success for enhanced communications between institutions from both countries. Continued exercises could help to mitigate the loss in surveillance coverage of the Eastern Pacific. On September 22, 2010, the United States Coast Guard seized an Ecuadorian-flagged vessel, Nino Divino II, 250 nautical miles south of Galapagos. The U.S. seized approximately 2 MT of cocaine and another 1 MT is believed to have sunk with the vessel. The Ecuadorian Coast Guard cooperated with the United States Coast Guard at sea, and Ecuadorian authorities took the 11 crew members into custody.
Maritime activity by drug traffickers in the Eastern Pacific near Ecuador increased by an estimated 200 percent or more in 2010 although maritime seizures dropped dramatically from the previous year. Both developments may stem from a loss of effective surveillance coverage in the Eastern Pacific due to the Manta Forward Operating Location (FOL) closure and are factors in the overall decrease in 2010 seizures. The GOE agreed in 1999 to permit the USG to operate an FOL for ten years at an Ecuadorian Air Force base in the coastal city of Manta for counternarcotics detection and monitoring operations. The FOL ceased operations in September 2009, following a GOE announcement that it would not renew the agreement which expired November 11, 2009. Other factors contributing to decreased seizures may include the change in tactics by drug traffickers, breaking shipments into smaller quantities, and disruptions in the work of specialized police units that have historically been responsible for most seizures. Despite efforts undertaken in 2009 to enhance their capacity and operational effectiveness against maritime trafficking, the Ecuadorian Coast Guard and Navy failed to make any narcotics seizures in 2010.
Ecuador continues to be largely free of growing illicit drug crops. In June 2010, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its second Ecuador coca crop cultivation survey. The survey found no identifiable coca crop cultivation within the risk zone of Ecuador’s northern border with Colombia. Elsewhere, when small-scale poppy or coca cultivation was identified, Ecuadorian police or military immediately eradicated the fields. In 2010, the DNA eradicated 9,720 coca plants; 108,000 opium poppy plants; and 45 cannabis plants.
Cocaine and heroin from Colombia as well as cocaine from Peru transit Ecuador by various routes for international distribution in shipments ranging from a few hundred grams to multi-ton loads. Shipment methods for illicit drugs and other contraband continued to diversify, including use of small fishing boats, self-propelled semi-submersibles, high-speed go-fast boats, and containerized cargo. In 2010, drug traffickers increasingly broke up shipments into smaller quantities (200-500 kg) and secured their illicit cargo on decks, allowing jettisoning of bales at the first sign of detection. That approach diversifies risk and hinders confiscation of transport vessels.
Ecuador’s postal authorities continued to improve their anti-narcotics controls, coordinating with the DNA to ensure increased drug detection. Utilizing canine screening and USG-purchased screening equipment at international airports and other postal facilities, 2010 postal system seizures approximately doubled over the previous year for the second year in a row. However, traffickers continue to ship drugs via international mail and messenger services, with cocaine generally destined for European markets and heroin for the United States. According to Ecuadorian and U.S. officials, there has been a reported rise in the use of shipping containers to hide drugs, and traffickers continued to ship white gas and other precursor chemicals in large quantities from Ecuador to Colombia and Peru for cocaine processing.
3. Drug Awareness Demand Reduction and Treatment
Ecuador has an increasing problem with domestic drug abuse including marijuana, cocaine, and other substances. According to UNODC data, the average age of first-time drug use in Ecuador dropped from 14.5 in 1998 to 13.7 in 2010. Local data regarding general trends in drug abuse is limited.
Coordination of abuse prevention programs is the responsibility of CONSEP, which leads a multi-agency national prevention campaign in schools. The campaign consists of nationwide workshops focused on the school-aged population and community outreach. CONSEP and the DNA also promoted awareness through anti-drug concerts for youth and a media campaign. CONSEP is developing a pilot project on community networks.
The Ministries of Interior and Justice are tasked by presidential decree with coordinating prevention efforts. Reports have circulated for some time that CONSEP may be partially dismantled in some way, but this has not yet occurred. A bill reforming the anti-drug law (Law 108), in the preparation stage within the Ministry of Justice, would replace CONSEP by a Secretariat with the same and perhaps enhanced functions. All public institutions, including the armed forces, are required to have abuse prevention programs in the workplace. The UNODC conducts a demand reduction and drug prevention program in Ecuador, which receives some U.S. government funding.
As a matter of policy, the GOE does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The 1990 drug law (Law 108) provides for prosecution of any government official who deliberately impedes prosecution of anyone charged under that law. There have been few, if any, successfully-prosecuted cases of government officials, police or military involved in narcotics trafficking-related corruption. Some other aspects of official corruption are criminalized in Ecuador, but there is no comprehensive anti-corruption law. Different entities (such as the President’s Secretariat for Transparency of the Public Administration, the Technical Secretariat for Transparency and Fighting Corruption of the Council for Citizens Participation) are charged with receiving complaints and initiating corruption investigations. Overall results in this area have been mixed. The Financial Analysis Unit (formerly Financial Intelligence Unit) continues to gather information on suspicious financial transactions to build cases against the individuals involved. Any cases have to be formally investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
U.S. counternarcotics assistance is provided to improve the professional capabilities, equipment, and integrity of Ecuador’s police, military, and judicial agencies to enable them to more effectively combat criminal organizations involved in narcotics trafficking and money laundering. A priority has been to support Ecuadorian police and military presence in the northern border region proximate to Colombia and police presence in other strategically important locations throughout the country. Recently the USG has also begun to assess the problem of increasing illicit activity and the lack of state resources along Ecuador's Southern border. USG-supported prevention programs in coordination with the Ministry of Education, CONSEP and other GOE entities address awareness of the dangers of drug abuse.
The DNA remains the primary recipient of U.S. counternarcotics assistance, including vehicles, equipment, training and the construction of installations at ports, border areas, and elsewhere. The DNA includes special nation-wide units, such as the Mobile Anti-Narcotics Teams (GEMA), a drug detection canine program, and a money laundering unit. In 2010, the U.S. continued to provide support to the military to facilitate their mobility and communications during operations along the Northern Border, and to Ecuadorian Navy elements to better mobilize, equip, and train for narcotics interdiction activities.
Ecuador is an active participant in the U.S. Coast Guard-sponsored Multilateral Counterdrug Summit, which includes participants from Panama, Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Mexico. The goal of these Summits is to identify and implement measures by which partner nation entities and the USG can cooperate to combat maritime drug trafficking through interdiction and delivery of consequences in smuggling cases. The success of these summits is dependent on the continued participation and cooperation of partner nation counterparts to facilitate regional counterdrug interoperability.
Judicial sector reform also continued in 2010. Changes to the structure of judicial institutions under the new constitution, effective October 2008, created some uncertainty regarding applicable criminal procedures. A major USG-funded program continued to train prosecutors, judges, judicial police, law professors, and law students on best practices for investigating and prosecuting criminal cases under the emerging accusatory system. In workshops throughout the country, the program focused on building basic skills, as well as more advanced techniques required in complex and transnational crimes, such as human trafficking, money laundering and narcotics trafficking. The program has consistently received positive reviews from workshop participants, who state that the training has helped them with the prosecution of cases.
In cooperation with the Judicial Council (formerly the National Judicial Council), the U.S. continues to pursue the implementation of an automated database of all criminal cases. In early 2009, the database project was suspended by a political decision of the Judicial Council, supported by the Ministry of Justice. With new leadership at the Ministry of Justice, as of April 2010, the Judicial Council has showed renewed interest in the project. Once fully implemented, this database would enhance management and transparency of the adjudication of criminal cases to address problems of delay and corruption.
The U.S. provided technical assistance to support continued implementation of the Financial Analysis Unit and provided training and equipment to police investigative units. Training assistance programs encompassed anti-money laundering, financial crimes, and maritime law enforcement. On November 5, 2010, the National Assembly passed a law reforming the Anti-Money Laundering law, strengthening the powers of the Financial Analysis Unit. However, a potentially harmful reform tasks the Financial Analysis Unit with delivering information to the National Intelligence Council, which could be used with political bias.
The USG supports Ecuador’s efforts and encourages the GOE to continue to place a high priority on the interdiction of illicit drugs and chemicals, eradication of coca and poppy cultivation, and destruction of cocaine-producing labs. Enhanced GOE presence near the Colombian border will enable Ecuador to better control Colombian-based drug cartels and destroy production sites. In addition, a shift from an approach based on stationary posts to more mobile operational patrols may be necessary throughout the country, particularly in border areas. As traffickers continue to shift tactics and employ fast boats for smaller shipments, containers, semi-submersibles, and, now for the first time, even a fully-submersible submarine, enhanced controls along Ecuador’s maritime border, including improved port security, patrolling, and inspections, will be essential for controlling maritime trafficking. Strengthening coordination between military and police forces will facilitate GOE evidence-gathering and case prosecution related to these activities. Additionally, we encourage the GOE to give high priority to prosecution of money laundering and official corruption, which are both key to successfully attacking the leadership of narcotics cartels. We also encourage the GOE to build upon current demand reduction programs and capitalize on lessons learned.
The Arab Republic of Egypt is not a major producer, supplier, or consumer of narcotics or most precursor chemicals. Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, precursors for methamphetamine, are an exception. Cannabis is grown year round in northern and southern Sinai and in Upper Egypt, while opium poppy is grown in southern Sinai from November through March. Egypt is considered a transit point for transnational shipments of narcotics from Africa to Europe due to Egypt’s mostly uninhabited borders with Libya and Sudan and the high level of trade shipping through the Suez Canal Zone, which make Egypt prone to the transshipment of Afghan heroin and narcotics from other countries.
Egypt 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. Egypt is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons and the UN Convention against Corruption. Egypt and the United States cooperate in law enforcement matters under a 1998 MLAT and an 1874 extradition treaty. The 1988 UN Drug Convention, coupled with the 1874 extradition agreement with the former Ottoman Empire, provides the United States and Egypt with a basis to seek extradition of narcotics traffickers.
The Anti-Narcotics General Administration (ANGA) overseas most of the counternarcotics operations in Egypt, and cooperates fully with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office in Cairo to uncover and destroy narcotic laboratories, as well as identify millions of dollars of drug related proceeds. ANGA is working on updating their equipment to include vehicles and communication equipment capable of operating in the desert region of the Western Border area, as well as increasing cooperation with Egyptian Special Forces and Frontier Guards.
ANGA investigates and targets significant drug traffickers, intercepts narcotics shipments via land and sea, and detects and eradicates illegal local crops. Large-scale seizures and arrests related to cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine are rare, but there are very large scale seizures of hashish and marijuana. The following are the numbers of seizures in Egypt from January – October 2010: Cannabis - 52,502 kg; Cannabis – 243 feddan; poppy plants – 514 feddan; poppy seeds – 10.5 kg; psychotropic pills - 70,826,369 + 2015 MDMA; psychotropic (C3) – 1485; hashish – 12,420 kg; heroin – 37.269 kg; opium – 22.909 kg; cocaine – 4.476 kg. A “feddan” is a unit of area used in Egypt and some bordering countries; it is equivalent to slightly more than (1.038) U.S. acres.
As a matter of government policy, the GOE 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 transactions. The GOE has strict laws and harsh penalties for government officials convicted of involvement in narcotics trafficking or related activities. In recent years, a limited number of local, low-level police officials involved in narcotics-related activity or corruption were identified and arrested.
Government and private sector demand reduction efforts exist, but are hampered by financial constraints and logistical challenges. As of 2009, the National Council for Combating and Treating Addiction continues to be the GOE’s focal point for domestic demand reduction programs; while the Council enjoys high-level leadership, its actual capabilities and influence within Egypt are minimal. The Council primarily funds training for drug addiction workers and drug awareness prevention campaigns, but is not actively involved in rehabilitation programs or drug abuse education programs. The Ministry of Health (MOH) has an annual budget of 150 million Egyptian pounds for the treatment of all mental health diseases, including addiction related conditions, and MOH state hospitals provide free treatment for drug addicts.
Imports of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, both of which can be diverted for use as precursor chemicals for methamphetamine, increased sharply in 2009 and 2010 as Egypt became a regional producer of cold and flu medicine for Northern Africa. Due to price and ease of purchase, Egypt’s purchases of these chemicals have shifted significantly to China and India. GOE authorities assert that in the past two years there have been no seizures of these chemicals as a result of any suspected drug trafficking or violation of local laws preventing their misuse. There have been no reports indicating a large scale diversion of these chemicals. Existing control regimes, however, place great weight on the documentation accompanying chemical imports. If the paperwork is in order the chemicals are almost always cleared for import with no follow up to detect possible diversion or misuse of the manufactured medicines.
El Salvador is a transit country for illegal drugs headed to the United States from production countries in South America. Traffickers in El Salvador use go-fast boats and commercial vessels to smuggle illegal drugs along the coastline; land transit usually takes place along the Pan-American highway, with drugs hidden in the luggage of bus passengers or in containers on commercial tractor-trailers. Key to regional detection and interception efforts along both routes is the Cooperative Security Location at El Salvador’s international airport in Comalapa. Transnational street gangs are involved in street-level drug sales but not major trafficking.
The Government of El Salvador (GOES) has not reported serious problems with the production of either synthetic or organic drugs. Local growers cultivate small quantities of marijuana for domestic consumption.
The Anti-Narcotics Division (DAN) of the National Civilian Police (PNC) is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for combating illegal drug activity. The special antinarcotics group, or GEAN (for its initials in Spanish), within the DAN, handles the most complicated and time-consuming investigations. The DAN, however, is hampered by a lack of equipment, a shortage of officers, and recurring funding gaps. The Salvadoran Navy makes maritime intercepts of vessels suspected of drug smuggling. The Attorney General’s office has a financial investigative unit (FIU); in 2010 the FIU was re-admitted into the Egmont Group, but no significant long-term investigations or prosecutions of money laundering took place, largely because of a lack of personnel, funding, resources, and political will.
El Salvador is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
In 2010, the GOES passed an amendment to the Salvadoran constitution and enabling legislation related to wiretapping and electronic intercepts. Enabling legislation was also passed for asset forfeiture that allows the government to sell property seized in conjunction with narcotics arrests and to use the profits for counterdrug efforts. Also in 2010, the DAN, supported by prosecutors from the FIU, seized more than $20 million in profits from illegal drug sales made in the United States. The bulk of this money will be returned to Salvadoran law enforcement agencies.
The U.S. Embassy in San Salvador is working with the GOES on the implementation of the new National Electronic Monitoring Center. The center promises to provide a steady stream of evidence suitable for use in court regarding illegal drug operations and organized criminal gang activity and will improve interagency cooperation within the GOES. The PNC has entered more than 300,000 names into the Advanced Fingerprint Information System (AFIS) and plans to create a national database to include the majority of Salvadoran citizens. The Embassy continues to support El Salvador’s anti-gang efforts through specialized law enforcement training, prevention efforts including the Gang Resistance Education Program (GREAT) implemented with PNC officers, and the transnational anti-gang unit. Ten PNC officers were trained in the GREAT program and 700 children went through the course.
El Salvador is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the Central American Convention for the Prevention of Money Laundering Related to Drug-Trafficking and Similar Crimes, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the UN Convention against Corruption. El Salvador also is a party to the Inter American Convention against Corruption, the Inter American Convention on Extradition, and the Inter American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. The 1911 extradition treaty between the United States and El Salvador is limited in scope, and the constitutional prohibitions on life imprisonment and the death penalty are obstacles to negotiating a new bilateral extradition treaty. Narcotics offenses are extraditable crimes by virtue of El Salvador’s ratification of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Only one person, a Salvadoran national extradited in early 2010, has been extradited to the United States under this treaty, despite numerous requests. El Salvador signed an agreement of cooperation with the United States in 2000 permitting access to and use of facilities at the international airport of El Salvador (Comalapa) for aerial counternarcotics activities. The agreement was renewed in 2009 for an additional five years and will expire in 2015.
2. Supply Reduction
As of October 2010, the PNC had seized 708 kilograms (kg) of marijuana, 126 kg of cocaine, five kg of heroin, and three kg of crack cocaine. The police also arrested 1,627 persons for drug trafficking and possession and 15 persons for money laundering. In 2010, the Salvadoran Navy inspected more than 30 vessels suspected of narcotics trafficking and assisted the U.S. with the seizure of approximately 500 kg of cocaine.
Transit of illegal drugs through the country occurs by traffickers using go-fast boats and smuggling drugs on commercial vessels. Some land transit occurs through vehicles going through the country on the Pan-American Highway, including buses and tractor-trailers. Narcotics-trafficking also occurs at the major commercial airport, Comalapa, where large movements of cash are trafficked as well. From January to June 2010, the PNC Anti Narcotics Unit Office at the Comalapa Airport (AIES) seized a total of $242,000 in cash.
3. Drug Abuse awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
Drug use among Salvadorans is a growing problem, particularly among youth, although reliable statistics for illegal consumption are not kept by the government. Few programs exist for the rehabilitation of addicts.
The Ministry of Education provides lifestyle and drug prevention courses in public schools and also sponsors after-school activities. The Ministries of Governance and Transportation have units that advocate drug-free lifestyles, and the PNC operates a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, but it is unclear if these programs are making progress in reducing demand. In 2010 the PNC also implemented the Gang Resistance Education and Training program in targeted schools, and it is expected to be replicated throughout the country. The Public Security Council sponsors a substance abuse prevention program aimed at El Salvador’s gang population. The U.S. Government (USG) supports FUNDASALVA, a Salvadoran non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides substance abuse awareness, counseling, and rehabilitation. Local faith-based demand reduction programs offer counseling programs administered by recovering addicts.
The GOES does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, or other controlled substances, nor does it launder proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior Salvadoran government official is known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, nor the laundering of proceeds from illicit drug transactions. Prosecutors in the Fiscalia did not make progress in pursuing scores of alleged cases of corruption announced in 2009, chiefly because of lack of evidence. The cases included allegations that former high-ranking members of the DAN were linked to narcotics traffickers. Critics have suggested the cases are politically motivated. Salvadoran law severely penalizes abuse of an official position in relation to the commission of a drug offense, including accepting or receiving money or other benefits in exchange for an act of commission or omission relating to official duties.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
U.S. assistance focuses on enhancing the operational capacity of Salvadoran law enforcement agencies to interdict narcotics shipments and combat money laundering and public corruption. There also is a strong emphasis on promoting transparency, efficiency, and institutional respect for human and civil rights within Salvadoran law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The USG supports Salvadoran measures to fight organized crime, including anti-money laundering efforts of the Attorney General’s Financial Crime Investigation Unit. USG support also aids Salvadoran efforts to fight transnational gangs.
In 2010, the USG provided specialized vehicles, cargo inspection equipment, bullet-resistant vests, radios, computers and other basic law enforcement equipment to the GEAN and other DAN constituent units. The USG also funded tactical training in such areas as vehicle stops, roadway interdiction, and emergency responder first aid. The International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) provided police management and specialized training to the region. ILEA trained approximately 230 PNC officers and law enforcement officials in 2010. The U.S. Coast Guard provided mobile training in maritime law enforcement, port security, and leadership and management. The Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ (INL) Regional Gangs Advisor (RGA) coordinated anti-gang policy and initiatives for El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Although gang involvement in narcotics trafficking remains confined to retail distribution, the INL RGA is routinely consulted on narcotics issues, including programs that combat gangs, such as prison reform and the Central America Fingerprint Exchange (CAFE) program. In 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and INL San Salvador continued working with the DAN to develop two mobile inspection teams capable of being deployed at highway choke points adjacent to El Salvador’s land borders with Guatemala and Honduras, and also worked with the specialized container cargo inspection unit at the port of Acajutla. These units have basic vehicle fleet and cargo inspection equipment, as well as specialized training on conducting vehicle stops and roadway interdiction.
Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) funds assist the GOES to confront organized criminal and narcotics trafficking organizations that plague the region and support programs to strengthen institutional capabilities to investigate, sanction, and prevent corruption. The GOES continues to provide prompt responses to USG requests regarding maritime drug interdiction cases.
El Salvador participated in the USCG sponsored Multilateral Counterdrug Summits hosted by Panama. The Summits help partner nations achieve regional interoperability to effectively combat the flow of drugs in the transit zone, improve overall prosecution support through post interdiction processes and procedures, and create opportunities for coordinated regional interdiction operations focusing on the littorals.
El Salvador remains fertile ground for USG and host government cooperation in combating narcotics trafficking and gang activity. Public security remains the foundation on which all other development assistance depends. Programs designed to increase police professionalism, enhance border security, and reduce corruption, among others, have had isolated successes, but they need to be sustained under GOES leadership. For example, significant underfunding and inadequate staffing of the Attorney General’s FIU leave the country vulnerable to financial crime and money laundering. Because remittances are an important part of the Salvadoran economy, we encourage the GOES to carefully monitor this activity to ensure that money laundering is not taking place. The GOES should also ensure that sufficient resources are provided to the overburdened Attorney General’s office, as well as to the financial crime and narcotics divisions of the PNC. On a broader level, El Salvador should further enhance its drug control efforts by providing additional manpower, resources, and equipment to the PNC units on the front lines of the fight against narcotics traffickers.
Estonia is a source of synthetic drugs for several countries in Scandinavia, especially Sweden and Finland. Synthetics and heroin also transit Estonia on their way further west into Europe. Estonia's domestic anti-narcotics legal framework is in full compliance with international drug conventions and European Union narcotics regulations, including the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The Estonian Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substance and Precursor Act has been in force since 1997. The Act was last amended in February 2010 to strengthen the regime covering purchases of psychotropic medicines under EU prescriptions. Except for the higher HIV-infection rate among intravenous drug users (IDUs), the drug situation in Estonia is similar to that in other European countries.
Combating the trade, production and domestic consumption of narcotics continued to be high priorities for all Estonian law enforcement agencies and for key government ministries in 2010. Approximately 80 police officers from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (EPBGB) specialize solely in narcotic-related crimes. In the first nine months of 2010, police seized two amphetamine and two gammahydroxylbutyrate (GHB) labs. Additionally, the police have investigated several persons suspected of recruiting drug smugglers. Estonian police credit these efforts with the decrease in arrests of Estonian drug traffickers abroad. Twenty-eight Estonian traffickers were arrested around the world in the first ten months of 2010, down from 56 in 2009. According to the police, their continuous law enforcement efforts have resulted in the number of seizures of narcotic substances decreasing annually.
Approximately 420 Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB) officers perform narcotics control on a daily basis. About 50 officers work in mobile units and 30 officers from the Investigation Department are specialized on narcotics-related crimes. All customs border points are equipped with X-ray machines and equipment to disassemble vehicles, if necessary during searches. Both border points and mobile units are equipped with rapid drug tests, endoscopes, fuel pumps, and densimeters to discover drug caches. All customs, investigation and information officers have received special training in narcotics control. The ETCB also has 20 drug sniffing dogs working on the European Union's easternmost border, in Tallinn airport and in Tallinn harbor. The ETCB utilizes automated license plate surveillance systems to gather additional information on border crossings.
The counter narcotics efforts of ETCB continued to be successful in 2010. In February, Estonian customs officers detected about 39 kg of khat plants in the possession of two British subjects arriving via ferry from Finland. In March, 5.1 kg of liquid amphetamine hidden in a fire extinguisher were seized from a car entering Estonia from Russia. In April a pedestrian crossing the Russian border was arrested for attempting to smuggle 2.6 kg of liquid amphetamine. In September, customs detected about 47 kg of cocaine contained in a coffee mixture from a cargo plane arriving from Venezuela via Germany.
The ETCB and the EPBGB maintain good international cooperation through liaison officers with Finnish Customs and Police, Swedish Customs and Police, German Customs, UK Revenue and Customs and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The ETCB has cooperation agreements with all neighboring countries including Russia. Cooperation between Estonian police, tax and customs authorities and the regional DEA office in Copenhagen has been outstanding and productive. In Estonia the DEA has been able to work cases jointly, openly share criminal intelligence in furtheranceof joint operations with Estonian enforcement. Cooperation with DEA continued to be smooth and mutually beneficial in 2010.
Amphetamine and fentanyl remain as the most widely abused drugs in Estonia, followed perhaps by marijuana and MDMA, and also cocaine and mephedrone. According to the Government of Estonia and NGO estimates, there are about 14,000 IDUs in Estonia. Although the economic recession brought along a slight increase of IDUs (new cases and relapses), the GOE continued to provide full scale harm reduction services and HIV treatment.
The Government of Estonia 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. Estonia is a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption.
Estonia continues to implement its 2004-2012 National Strategy on the Prevention of Drug Dependency. There are more than 60 governmental, non-governmental and private entities working with IDUs to provide services to decrease demand and reduce harm. In Estonia, there are 10 drug rehabilitation centers: two for adolescents, two for adults, five therapeutic communities for adults and one daycare center for double diagnosis patients, i.e., drug dependence coupled with other ailments. In addition, in November seven new programs were launched to provide psychotherapy, psychological, social and peer-counseling. Methadone substitution treatment is provided by six clinics at nine different sites. In total nine organizations operate 36 syringe exchange sites, including outreach teams and mobile units. According to the National Institute for Health Development, the estimated coverage on syringe exchange is 52 per cent as the exchange points have about 7,300 regular clients. The USG will continue cooperating with Estonia on drug issues through exchange of information and enforcement assistance. DoD, through the U.S. European Command, has for example refurbished 24-hour helicopter forward refueling points at the Border Guard posts at Narva and Värska to increase Estonian border surveillance capability.
Ethiopia does not play a major role in the production, trafficking, or consumption of illicit narcotics or precursor chemicals associated with the drug trade. Khat, a chewable leaf with a mild narcotic effect, is legal in Ethiopia. This traditional stimulant is widely produced and exported across the region. Ethiopia has witnessed an increase in illegal drug seizures – mainly cannabis, cocaine and heroin – in recent years. Ethiopia’s good airline connections and strategic location along drug trafficking routes have resulted in increasing amounts of drugs transiting Ethiopia. Officials have also noted increased illegal drug consumption within Ethiopia and drug exports from Ethiopia. While not a major player, Ethiopia is poised to become a problem if production, trafficking and consumption trends continue on their current upward path.
Cannabis is produced in rural areas throughout Ethiopia. A small portion of cannabis production is for export, primarily to neighboring countries, but with increasing amounts trafficked abroad via the Ethiopian postal system. Khat is grown widely in Ethiopia. Khat is Ethiopia's fourth-leading export, making up 10.5 percent of export revenue ($210 million). This marks a rise from its ranking as Ethiopia's seventh largest export over the past few years. While khat is legally produced in Ethiopia, it is considered to be an illicit and illegal drug in the United States.
Small, localized quantities of poppies are grown in the southwest of Ethiopia (around Tepi) for local consumption of poppy seeds in food products. Upon discovery of illicit drug production, police typically eradicate the fields and provide a few days of training for the farmer. On the second instance, the farmer would be arrested.
Ethiopia is chiefly a transit point for illegal drugs, due to location and convenient airline connections. Ethiopia is strategically located along a major narcotics transit route between Middle Eastern, Asian, and West African heroin markets. Nigerian and other West African traffickers use Ethiopia as a transit point on a currently limited, but increasing, basis. Recent media reports also noted that three arrested individuals bearing Ugandan diplomatic passports were found to be part of a drug trafficking syndicate operating between Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania and Peru, Brazil, Turkey, Ethiopia, and Malawi. Apprehended traffickers have cited convenient flight routes and short layovers as a draw for flying through Addis Ababa. From January-October 2010, Ethiopian authorities arrested four traffickers in possession of cannabis, four in possession of cocaine, and one in possession of heroin at Bole International Airport. While amounts of cannabis varied, all cocaine seizures involved more than a kilogram. The Counternarcotics Division of the Federal Police identified a new hard drug trafficking route in 2010: three of four apprehended cocaine traffickers were transiting Ethiopia en route from Brazil to Tanzania. The airport interdiction unit continues to improve its ability to identify male Nigerian/Tanzanian drug "mules," who typically swallow drugs to smuggle them. Given short layovers, Ethiopian authorities regularly pass information on suspected transiting drug traffickers to Nigerian authorities. The airport interdiction unit also relies heavily on tips from other countries to identify the drug mules.
Although not a major factor as a source of narcotics drugs, Ethiopia has increased shipments of cannabis compared to recent years. Cannabis producers are looking to increase the trafficking of their produce, by connecting with drug traffickers in Ethiopia and neighboring countries. Police stated that sentencing is underway for an Ethiopian man in connection with a drug cartel based in Shashamene. Six of ten illegal drug seizures at the airport involve cannabis. However, the Federal Police also intercepted 68 instances of cannabis trafficking in the mail – including the Post Office and courier services. Most seizures involve cannabis destined for the United Kingdom. Many of these seizures involved cannabis hidden inside typical souvenir items, reflecting an increasing degree of sophistication relative to past airport seizures.
A senior officer with the Ethiopian Drug Control Division, (DCD) of the Federal Police who also worked closely with UNODC noted an upward trend in drug abuse in Ethiopia, especially among youth. Increasingly, abusers of cannabis and other hard drugs have been using the legal khat-house infrastructure for distribution. Cannabis is traditionally grown and used by Ethiopia's resident Rastafarian population. The highest volume has been grown in and around the town of Shashemene, approximately 250 kilometers south of Addis Ababa. Now, Cannabis usage, in particular, is spreading from this base in the traditional Rastafarian demographic more generally in Ethiopia. In addition to cannabis users, DCD registered 200 heroin users within the past six months. Police also reported increasing cases of morphine addiction stemming from inappropriate medical treatment. Six doctors from one clinic were tried on charges of illicit morphine distribution, but all cases were dismissed.
Ethiopia 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 against Psychotropic Substances. Ethiopia is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption.
The Government of Ethiopia 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.
In addition to the DCD, the Federal Police created a dedicated police investigation unit for human trafficking and organized crime in November 2009, which also covers drug trafficking. In domestic law, Article 525 of the revised Ethiopian Penal Code, “Producing, Making, Trafficking in or Using Poisonous or Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances,” stipulates five years in prison and a 100,000 Ethiopian birr fine (approximately $6,100)for convicted illegal drug users and dealers. The Federal High Court has been handing down longer sentences for drug violations in recent years – with traffickers now receiving at least a ten-year prison sentence. These longer sentences are supposed to deter repeat traffickers, such as the example of one Nigerian trafficker serving his fourth sentence in Ethiopian prison.
Both Ethiopian authorities and international partners have provided various types of drug law enforcement training over the past year. The Ethiopian Federal Police provided basic one-day trainings to postal employees and courier service staff, resulting in record drug seizures at the Post Office. The police continue to make weekly visits to post offices and courier services to monitor illicit drug interdictions. The commanding officer of the DCD received leadership training from the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) this past year. Ethiopia was also a participant country in UNODC-led, East Africa regional trainings in the areas of drug dependence treatment and countering illicit trafficking. UNODC provided 78 officers from the Federal Police Commission, Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority and Addis Ababa Bole Airport Administration drug law enforcement training courses. UNODC also taught investigative techniques with help by the Ethiopian Federal Police University College (EFPUC) staff. UNODC is providing further assistance by developing a resource manual and assisting EFPUC to integrate drug law enforcement into the curriculum.
The UNODC is collaborating with the Government of Ethiopia (GOE) on the implementation of a multi-sectoral National Drug Control Master Plan for Ethiopia (2009-2013) as well as support for drug and HIV prevention and control. The GOE and UNODC have extended their joint project to curb drug-trafficking activities in Bole International Airport and to build investigative capacity for Ethiopian drug law enforcement. In addition to theoretical and practical training, UNODC supplied drug identification, urine test kits and telecommunications equipment to Ethiopia.
Khat - a legal, mild narcotic - was traditionally limited to older, Muslim males but its consumption has spread to a wider section of the population in recent years. Police report that most illegal drug users began with khat as a gateway drug. This trend corresponds with the DCD and UNODC’s observation of rising illicit drug use. Accordingly, one major concern of drug enforcement authorities in Ethiopia is the utilization of khat infrastructure for distribution of illegal drugs. The DCD has a small staff and budget, limiting its capabilities. DCD is comprised of just 50 individuals, including federal police officers and administrative personnel. Twenty-five personnel work at Bole International as part of the airport interdiction team. Beyond limited staff constraints, seven of eight senior staff left the Federal Police in recent years, leaving one trained veteran to run the operations. Most constables are only minimally trained. Moreover, the DCD has only one drug sniffer German shepherd dog. The unit has asked for assistance in procuring additional sniffer dogs. The DCD Education Unit aimed to increase public awareness by partnering with anti-drug clubs in high schools; however, lack of funds resulted in termination of this program.
One major positive element of Ethiopia’s drug control performance is awareness of a budding drug problem and desire to tackle this problem at an early stage. UNODC is collaborating with Ethiopia to create and implement a National Drug Control Master Plan, but Ethiopia’s capacity and resources are limited. Most resources target the airport, leaving minimal resources to combat internal trafficking and usage. Ethiopia would benefit from continued international assistance and cooperation to develop a robust anti-drug infrastructure and capacity as per Article 10 of the 1988 U.N. Convention.
France continues to be a major transshipment point for drugs moving through Europe. Given France’s shared borders with trafficking conduits such as Spain, Italy, and Belgium, France is a natural distribution point for drugs moving toward North America from Europe and the Middle East. France’s overseas territories’ presence in the Caribbean, its proximity to North Africa, and its participation in the Schengen open border system, contribute to its desirability as a transit point for drugs, including drugs originating in South America. France’s own large domestic market of cannabis users is attractive to traffickers as well. Specifically, in descending order, cannabis/hashish originating in Morocco, cocaine from South America, heroin originating in Afghanistan and transiting through Turkey, Belgium, and the Netherlands, and ecstasy (MDMA) originating in the Netherlands and Germany, all find their way to France.
Most of the illicit drugs in France are produced in other areas of the world. The vast majority of cannabis products in France originates in Morocco, and cocaine available in France is produced in, and trafficked to France from South American countries. The majority of the heroin entering France is produced in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Almost all illicit drugs abused in the United States are also abused in France, with the exception of methamphetamine, which is almost completely nonexistent in France. Spain is believed to be the main entry point for cannabis and cocaine in Europe, although to a lesser extent the Netherlands is a point of entry for cocaine. French narcotics agencies are effective, technically capable and make heavy use of electronic surveillance capabilities. In France, the counterpart to the DEA is the Office Centrale pour la Repression du Traffic Illicite des Stupefiants (OCRTIS), also referred to as the Central Narcotics Office (CNO). Penalties for drug trafficking can include up to life imprisonment. France is a party to the1988 UN Drug Convention.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
Cannabis users are the largest group of drug users in France, according to official French government statistics. By contrast, users of the next most popular drugs, heroin and cocaine, account for approximately 5 percent and 3 percent of the total number of drug abusers, respectively. France’s drug control agency, the Mission Interministerielle de la Lutte Contre la Drogue et la Toxicomanie (MILDT, or the Interministerial Mission for the Fight Against Drugs and Drug Addiction), is the focal point for French national drug control policy. Created in 1990, the MILDT (which received its current name in 1996) coordinates the 19 ministerial departments that have direct roles in establishing, implementing, and enforcing France’s domestic and international drug control strategy. The MILDT is primarily a policy organ, but it cooperates closely with law enforcement officials. The French also participate in regional cooperation programs initiated and sponsored by the European Union.
Since the mid-1990s, death by drug overdose has declined dramatically from 564 reported deaths in 1994 to 55 deaths during 2007. There were 113 deaths attributed to drug use in 2008 (the last year for which statistics are available), a number far below death rates in Germany and the UK, but a significant increase from 2007. Possession of drugs for personal use and possession of drugs for distribution both constitute crimes under French law and both laws are regularly enforced. Penalties for drug trafficking can include up to life imprisonment, though “life” terms are rarely served. The Government of France (GOF) has noted that many individual criminals who engage in drug trafficking are equally willing to engage in smuggling other contraband (e.g., untaxed cigarettes) as well as other crimes of opportunity that promise easy profits. However, unlike individuals, organized rings of smugglers tend to restrict themselves to drug trafficking. When these organized rings do engage in other criminal activity, it is usually an activity which involves the use of the same maritime shipping containers, trucking companies, or other transportation resources as the business of drug smuggling.
In addition to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, France is a party to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, a 1971 agreement on coordinating action against illegal trafficking. The United States also has a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with France. France is 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.
France and the United States have an extradition treaty and an MLAT, which provides for assistance in the prevention, investigation, and the prosecution of crime, including drug offenses. In addition, France and the United States have concluded protocols to the extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties pursuant to the 2003 U.S.-EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements. U.S. and EU officials exchanged the instruments of ratification during the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meeting in Washington, DC, on 28 October 2009. The agreements entered into force on 1 February 2010.
France understands international cooperation is essential to combating illicit drugs. They have pushed through multiple international agreements and provided training to underfunded police in Africa. As an example, France cooperated with Senegalese authorities to provide training to the Senegalese custom service staff to fight illegal drug smuggling. In August 2010, the program helped the Senegalese authorities to seize one ton of cannabis in the Dakar harbor. The GOF entered an agreement with Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and the United Kingdom to create an analytical center to share maritime intelligence on narcotics, the Maritime Analysis and Operation Centre-Narcotics (MAOC-N); the agreement went into force on 30 September 2007
On 30 November 2009, the GOF proposed a “pact” to fight illegal drugs in the European Council. The plan was approved on 3 June 2010, by the Justice and Home Affairs committee in the European Council. The aim of the plan is to cut cocaine smuggling routes from Latin America by linking the European cooperation platforms based in Accra and Dakar and the anti-drugs platforms based in Toulon (CECLAD-M) and Lisbon (MAOC-N) with Europol. Additionally, the pact will push to dismantle heroin routes. Fighting against illegal drug trafficking has become an accession criteria to gain EU membership. The pact also requires EU nations to fight against the revenues of drug trafficking by setting up bureaus of information collection in all member states with the participation of EU agencies EUROPOL and EUROJUST. On 7 June 2010, the GOF declared Mephedrone an illegal substance. On 11 May 2010, the GOF declared Tapendal an illegal substance. Both of these drugs have cathenone, a stimulant similar to methamphetamine, as their active ingredient
2. Supply Reduction
Official GOF statistics will not be published until late February 2011. Press reporting has highlighted an uptick in counter drug activity in France. French impact teams (Groupes d’Intervention Regionaux (GIR)), charged with enforcement actions against regional violent crime, spent 48 percent of their time during the first quarter of 2010 on drug-related cases; the GIR dedicated only 22 percent of their time to drug-related crime during the same period in 2009. In all of 2009 the GIR seized $56.9 million worth of assets. In the first quarter of 2010, the GIR has seized nearly $10 million in cash as well as 178 vehicles. Additionally, the following significant seizures took place in 2010:
On February 2, police seized seven tons of cannabis in the suburbs of Paris (Gonesse), which was the largest ever seizure of cannabis in France;
On February18, gendarmes seized three tons of cannabis, weapons, and $441,000 in currency;
In July, customs officials seized 134 kg of cocaine smuggled in an un-accompanied suitcase at Charles de Gaulle airport;
On October12, two million dollars was seized in Northern France in connection with cocaine smuggling;
On October 16, one million dollars was seized in Northern France in connection with cannabis smuggling;
While France’s bilateral counternarcotics programs focus on the Caribbean basin, special technical bilateral assistance has also been provided to Afghanistan through France’s Development Agency (AFD). Approximately $17 million equivalent went to training Afghan counternarcotics police and to fund a crop substitution program that will boost cotton cultivation in the Afghan provinces of Condos and Balkh.
Body couriers, using both internal and luggage transportation, are frequently arrested bringing drugs into France from many West African countries, such as Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Senegal, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau. Smaller quantities of heroin and cocaine constitute the majority of the drugs transported via this method. In the past two years the amount of cocaine being brought to the African continent has increased. According to the DEA ,the vast majority of this cocaine is believed to be intended for transshipment to Europe, although the percentage arriving from West Africa remains unclear as do the routes by which most of this cocaine makes its way to Europe following its arrival in West Africa.
3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
MILDT is responsible for coordinating France’s demand reduction programs. Drug education efforts focus on government officials, counselors, teachers, and medical personnel, with the objective of giving these opinion leaders the information they need to assist those endangered by drug abuse in the community.
In an effort to combat the consumption of cannabis in France, which has consistently increased over the past 20 years, in October 2007, Etienne Apaire, the President of MIDLT (since September 2007) announced a new government policy aimed at cannabis users. Since 2008, the state has required as a supplemental measure for those arrested for cannabis use to take a two-day class on the dangers of cannabis consumption. The cost of the class, €450 (approximately $660.00) will be paid by the drug user. France’s current basic law on narcotics abuse (dating from 1970) proscribes stiff penalties for cannabis use including up to a year prison sentence and a €3750 (approximately $5515) fine, though the penalties are rarely, if ever, applied. This newer supplemental measure is viewed as a more effective approach towards the prevention of cannabis abuse.
On June 26, 2009 the Fédération Nationale de Prevention Toxiconomique signed the EU resolution “European Action on Drugs.” This resolution, which was signed by 120 stakeholders from across the EU, committed its signers to playing an active role in the fight against drugs by reaching out to Europeans in their everyday lives and providing European citizens with new means of expression their views on drugs and their commitments to take action. This resolution is a key action of the new “EU Drugs Action Plan (2009-2012).”
France is comparable to the United States in its ability to match its programs to the size of the addiction population. French rehabilitation facilities use similar treatment methods to those used in the United States for treating addictions. Subutex (a trade name for Buprenorphine) and methadone are used to treat heroin addiction. The GOF provides 15 million sterile syringes per year and facilitates access to substitutive treatment to 130,000 individuals. According to the MILDT, there are 230,000 opiate, cocaine and amphetamines users in France. However, Dr. William Lowenstein, member of the board of the National Council on AIDS, assesses there are as many as 300,000 heroin users with 120,000 following substitutive treatments. There are 500 outpatient centers specialized in dealing with illegal drug users, 130 centers dedicated to support, help and reduction of risk and four therapeutic communities aimed at achieving abstinence among illegal drug users. GOF spends $456 million on risk reduction programs.
In August 2010, the Health Minister Roselyn Bachelot sparked a nationwide debate when she proposed creating “shooting galleries,” which would have allowed illegal users to inject and smoke illegal drugs in a medically controlled environment. Despite the fact that the proposal was backed by Mayor of Marseille Jean-Claude Gaudin, Prime Minister François Fillon opposed the experiment – arguing that the priority of the GOF is to “reduce drug consumption in France, not to support it or organize it.” In September 2010, a parliamentary committee was set up to investigate drug addiction and to reflect on the “shooting galleries” proposal.
As a matter of government policy, France is firmly committed to the fight against drug trafficking domestically and internationally. The government does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances or the proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Similarly, no senior government official is alleged to have participated in such activities.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
U.S. and French counternarcotics law enforcement cooperation remains good. During 2010, the DEA’s Paris Country Office and the French Office Central Pour la Repression Du Trafic Illicite Des Stupefiants (OCRTIS), continued to routinely share operational intelligence and support one another’s investigations.
The United States will continue its cooperation with France on all counternarcotics fronts, including through multilateral efforts such as the Dublin Group of countries coordinating narcotics assistance and the UNODC.
The islands of French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, the French side of Saint Martin, and St. Barthelemy are all overseas departments of France and therefore subject to French law. The French Judiciary Police, Gendarmerie, and Customs Service play a major role in narcotics law enforcement in France's overseas departments, just as they do in the rest of France. They are also subject to all international conventions signed by France, including the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
This region, particularly Martinique and Guadeloupe, contains well established transshipment points for cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy coming from South and Central America with destinations in Europe and, to a lesser extent, the United States. Meanwhile, the remote geography of the eastern Caribbean Sea coupled with the proximity of these departments to other nations with largely ineffective law enforcement agencies combine to facilitate the trafficking of illicit substances through the area.
There does not appear to be a large amount of drug production in the French Caribbean. Although some cannabis is grown locally in areas like Martinique and Guadeloupe, this appears to be mainly for local or individual consumption and does not have a significant impact on the availability of drugs in the area.
The governments within these territories are able to apply to France for additional resources in their fight against illegal drug smuggling.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
There were no significant institutional development changes pertaining to rule of law for France in 2010. French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, the French side of Saint Martin, and St. Barthelemy are all overseas departments of France and therefore subject to French law. They do not make independent policy or rule of law changes.
In addition to the agreements and treaties discussed in the report on France, United States and French counternarcotics cooperation in the Caribbean is enhanced by a 1997 multilateral Caribbean Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement that provides for information sharing to enforce customs laws and prevent smuggling, including those relating to drug trafficking. The assignment of a French Navy liaison officer to the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) at Key West, Florida, continued to enhance law enforcement cooperation in the Caribbean in 2010. France has joined the United States, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Netherlands and Belize in signing and ratifying the Dutch-sponsored Caribbean Maritime Agreement (formally the “Accord Concerning the Cooperation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Aeronautical Trafficking in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Region”) originally negotiated in 2003 bringing the agreement into effect. In 2006, France, along with 11 other nations became a signatory to the “Paramaribo Declaration” at a conference in Suriname. This agreement established an intelligence sharing network, to coordinate and execute drug sting operations among countries and to address money laundering. The French Inter-ministerial Mission for the Fight against Drugs and Drug Addiction (MILDT) is primarily a policy organ, but cooperates closely with law enforcement officials. The French also participate in regional cooperation programs initiated and sponsored by the European Union.
2. Supply Reduction
Official statistics for 2010 were not available at the time this report was published. However, on June 4, French Customs officials in Martinique found 1.4 metric tons of cocaine on a sailboat. Valued at over $100 million, this constitutes the largest drug seizure in French history. On June 19, a French Naval vessel on patrol in the region seized 385 kg of cocaine during an at-sea boarding.
Since 2001, the French Navy has continuously operated in the region and, to date, seized over 15 metric tons of drugs in the Caribbean. Often, these naval assets take part in Joint Interagency Task Force – South (JIATF-S) operations in cooperation with the United States and are normally based in Fort de France, Martinique.
3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
As departments (States) of France, the French Caribbean is an active participant in all French policies and programs regarding the treatment of drug addiction and lessening of domestic demand. The most prevalent drug abused in the French Caribbean remains cannabis – as in the rest of France. Statistics were not available. The MILDT is responsible for coordinating France’s demand reduction programs. Drug education efforts target government officials, counselors, teachers, and medical personnel, with the objective of giving these opinion leaders the information they need to assist those endangered by drug abuse in the community.
France’s 1970 law included stiff penalties for cannabis use including up to a year prison sentence and a fine of over $5,500, though the penalties were rarely applied. In an effort to combat the consumption of cannabis in France, which has consistently increased over the past 20 years, in October of 2007, the MIDLT announced new government policy aimed at cannabis users requiring those arrested to take a two-day class on the dangers of cannabis consumption. However, there is no information as to the effectiveness of this policy with respect to prevention of cannabis use.
On June 26, 2009 the Fédération Nationale de Prevention Toxiconomique signed the EU resolution, “European Action on Drugs.” This resolution, which was signed by 120 stakeholders from across the EU, committed its signers to playing an active role in the fight against drugs by reaching out to Europeans in their everyday lives and providing European citizens with new means of expression their views on drugs and committing to action. This resolution is a key action of the new “EU Drugs Action Plan (2009-2012).”
Officials in the area are drawn from and trained by the French Civil Service. There have been no accusations of corruption within the French government or of high ranking senior officials within the past year. As a matter of policy, the French Government does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
The U.S. goal in the French Caribbean is to coordinate closely with France to counter transnational crime.
In 2010, the French Inter-ministerial Drug Control Training Center (CIFAD) in Fort-de-France, Martinique offered training in French, Spanish, and English to law enforcement officials in the Caribbean and Central and South America, covering subjects such as money laundering, precursor chemicals, mutual legal assistance, international legal cooperation, coast guard training, customs valuation, and drug control in airports. CIFAD coordinated its training activities with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Organization of American States (OAS), and individual donor nations. U.S. Customs officials periodically provided training at the CIFAD. With funding from OAS, French Customs held training seminars aimed at Customs and Coast Guard Officers from those member states. The French Navy also continued to host “Operation Carib Royale,” a French and Eastern Caribbean counternarcotics operation, which Joint Interagency Task Force South supports with available air and maritime assets.
French law enforcement continued to work closely with the U.S. military forward operating locations (FOLs) in the Caribbean to monitor and prevent the flow of drugs. The two FOLs locations in Curacao and Aruba provided U.S., Dutch, United Kingdom, Canadian and French aircraft quick access to Caribbean drug smuggling corridors.
The United States encourages continued French support to these Caribbean departments on all counternarcotics fronts, including multilateral efforts such as the Dublin Group, a local regional, and global forum that consults on drug issues in more than 40 capitals, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, a group that reviews peers, consults and co-ordinates information on money laundering, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) - the drug-fighting body of the Organization of American States, and, of course, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Patrol vessels that participate in JIATF-S operations have proven to be effective deterrent and interdiction resources in stopping drugs destined for U.S. and European markets. We hope this partnership continues in the years to come.
Apart from small-scale production of ATS, Georgia produces no narcotic drugs. However, because of its location bridging Asia and Europe, Georgia is becoming a major transit corridor for drugs of abuse produced elsewhere. One major drug route runs from Afghanistan and Iran through Azerbaijan and on to Western Europe and Russia. Drugs also transit through Georgia to Western Europe from Greece and Turkey. Another suspected route involves long-haul TIR trucks. These trucks are supposed to be inspected for contraband at their place of origination, and then sealed for their trip onward. However, many observers believe that they represent a major corridor for drug smuggling. The separatist territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are beyond the control of Georgian law enforcement, and there is speculation that drugs flow through these areas. This information cannot be verified as there is little or no exchange of information on drug trafficking between the Russian occupying forces or the de facto governments of these territories and the Government of Georgia.
Georgia has a domestic drug problem. Among other drugs, heroin, Subutex, methadone and marijuana are available on the domestic market. Subutex is a trade name for buprenorphine, produced throughout Europe, and used for the treatment of opiate addiction. However, this substance is not a registered medication in Georgia and thus not legally available. The drug is smuggled in and abused for its opioid content. Street prices for intravenous drugs continued to increase in 2010. Domestic production and use of methamphetamines, pseudo-ephedrine derived drugs and abuse of other pharmaceutical drugs, especially in urban areas, is also on the rise.
The Minister of Internal Affairs designated the drug problem as a top priority for calendar year 2010. Since the 2003 Rose Revolution, the Saakashvili Government has detained and imprisoned many influential criminals, so called “thieves-in-law”; others have fled the country. While these criminals are no longer in Georgia, they retain the ability to influence criminal activity in Georgia. In 2010, the Minister of Internal Affairs reshuffled the staffing of the special operations department – the main body at the Ministry in charge of counternarcotics – and appointed a new head of the department and a complete new group of investigators. The government initiated random drug testing programs for high level government officials and made the testing available to the private sector as well.
Under current law, possession of very small amounts of certain drugs would mean prosecution for intent to distribute as a drug dealer. Also, being under the influence of drugs is prima facie evidence of drug possession. These facts have given rise to a movement to change Georgia’s drug possession laws. The new laws would rationalize the amounts, allowing law enforcement officials greater ability to focus limited resources on actual drug dealers and offering treatment to users caught with small amounts of dangerous drugs. Georgia is a party to the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
Georgia’s system for drug control is in need of reform. The first and most pressing gap is the absence of a detailed specific Anti-Drug National Action Plan. The current Anti-Narcotics National Strategy established by the Parliament in 2007 only outlined main priorities; it lacks specifics to guide implementation. Coordination among institutions involved in drug related issues is also a problem. There is a lack of systemic drug preventive measures; treatment methods are developed with little or no attention given to social rehabilitation following detoxification. Information about dangerous drugs is inadequate, and statistics about drug use are limited and unreliable. Current national legislation does not conform to UN drug conventions’ requirements.
There are also arrangements for Europe as a whole, which frustrate drug control in Georgia. Currently, customs officers may only inspect a long-haul truck under Custom’s seal in the presence of the owner or his representative. Practically, this means that very few vehicles are inspected beyond weigh stations. Law enforcement bodies in European countries have intercepted seven to eight tons of illicit narcotics in 2009 in long-haul trucks that had at one point passed through Georgia. Rules and regulations that unnecessarily hinder the legitimate inspection of cargo should be reviewed and revised.
In 2010, Georgia signed an agreement for visa free travel with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The exact timeframe for the implementation of this agreement remains unclear. If appropriate inspections and checks are not instituted and enforced, this agreement could lead to still more drugs entering Georgia. This seems likely as up to 40 percent of Afghan opiates pass through Iran. Smuggling of these opiates is a problem now along all of Iran’s borders to the South, West and North, so there is good reason to fear that easier passage between Iran and Georgia could invite traffickers to try the “new” route. In addition, recently, Azerbaijan and Turkey have noted methamphetamine drugs coming from Iran.
Georgia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substance and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Georgia is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling and to the UN Convention against Corruption. In addition, the GOG has signed counternarcotics agreements with the Black Sea basin countries, the GUAM organization (Georgia-Ukraine-Azerbaijan-Moldova), Iran, and Austria.
2. Supply Reduction
In 2010, the most visible drug-related seizure was the detention of five people engaged in importing into Georgia a large consignment of cocaine. The group was headed by a Greek citizen of Georgian origin, now residing in Spain. In total, 90 kilograms of cocaine transited through the port city of Poti having arrived from Latin America in a scrap metal shipment en route to Turkey. As part of the cocaine trafficking investigation, 1.7 million Euros which belonged to this criminal group were found in a greenhouse in the village of Geguti. The cocaine, however, was not seized, since authorities became aware of it too late to organize its seizure. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs this was not the first such shipment organized by these traffickers.
Drug control reform legislation initiated in the Parliament in 2008-2009 remains stalled in Parliament. The aim of this legislation was to solve the problem described above involving the crime of “trafficking” being defined by too small quantities of drugs. The legislation would also mandate the formation of an interagency governmental body to coordinate counternarcotics efforts throughout the country.
According to current legislation, drug use is an administrative offense with a penalty of 500 Gel (approximately $300). If the same person is apprehended as a drug user for a second time within one year of his/her first offense, they will face criminal prosecution. In this case, punishment may be either imprisonment or a minimum fine of 2000 GEL (approximately $1145). According to MOIA statistics, for the first nine months of 2010, 3749 persons were prosecuted for drug-related crimes and 6290 persons were given administrative fines. The total number of drug related crimes for the first nine months of 2010 was 4070, compared to 4640 reported during the same period in 2009.
The breakdown of criminal cases and drug seizures according to Ministry of Interior statistics is:
Total Drug-related cases
2 .358 Kg
1 .106 Kg
1 .231 kg
The Special Operations Department (SOD) counternarcotics unit remains the main agency combating drug-related crimes. In 2010, the Minister of Internal Affairs reorganized this department and appointed a new head and assigned new staff members to the unit, as a preemptive measure against drug-related corruption. As an indication of some of the training/coordination problems facing drug enforcers in Georgia: SOD officers have basic training in counter narcotics detection, but lack appropriate detection equipment. Meanwhile the customs service has been provided scanners through U.S. assistance, but the equipment is largely unused.
Drugs generally, and opioid drugs in particular, are extremely expensive in Georgia. According to the information provided by the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2010, street prices are $600-$700 per gram for heroin, opium is $27-$45 per gram, and Subutex is $300 per 8 mg pill. However, some of these prices do not fully correspond with those reported to physicians, by street-level narcotics dealers and their drug-using clients. There is also wide variation in drug prices across borders. Local sources report that pure heroin purchased in Turkey from Chechen, Kurdish or Turkish drug dealers is available for $40-$50 per gram. The ten-fold increase in the selling price of heroin in Georgia makes smuggling heroin from Turkey to Georgia extremely profitable or represents an inaccurate figure being used by Georgian authorities.
Physicians and analysts have expressed concern about the increase in use of home-made synthetic drugs such as “Jeff” and “Vint” – street names in Georgia for injected artificial stimulant drugs. “China White” and “Crocodile” are names for a derivative of fentanyl mixed with natural-based opiates that is also used in Georgia, and is said to be approximately 300 times stronger than heroin alone. Statistics are not available for the extent of home-made stimulant drug usage in Georgia.
3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
Domestic drug abuse is a problem for Georgia. Total number of multiple drug users (drug users who use more than one type of narcotic) ranges from 40,000 to 80,000. Over the past year, methamphetamines have been replacing opiates, as the prices of heroin and Subutex increased significantly. A large number of the drug using population has reportedly moved to home-made synthetic drugs. These drugs are extremely dangerous, and after only six months, drug users will face a severe degradation in their health.
There are no widely accepted figures for drug dependency in Georgia, and more generally, statistics in this subject area are poorly kept and vary according to the source. The Georgia Research Institute on Drug Addiction and drug treatment estimates the intravenous drug abuser (IDU) population in Georgia is approximately 40,000 out of a total population of 4.5 million. Using UN methodology, researchers estimate that about three percent of the population may be using drugs at any given point in time, yielding a total of approximately 138,000. Local drug treatment experts cite figures of upwards of 200,000 drug abusers, including one-time experimenters. According to the database administered by the Ministry of Interior, the number of all types of registered drug users is 133,555. The number of overdose death cases in the capital (with a population of approximately 1.5 million) in 2010 was 13 through September.
In 2010, a youth survey was conducted by the U.S. National Center for Disease Control in the framework of the Southern Caucasus Anti Drug Program (SCAD). The survey revealed that 17% of the surveyed adolescents in the city of Tbilisi reported use of marijuana at least once during their life. After marijuana, ecstasy is the second most available drug for surveyed youth – 7.5 % reported its use at least once. Approximately 2% had used amphetamine-type stimulants. Intravenous drug usage is very low both among the youth and female populations.
In 2010 the Georgian Government increased funding for drug treatment and prevention. Two additional methadone maintenance treatment centers will be added to 16 currently operating in the country. Substitution therapy programs have been successfully launched in pre-trial holding centers. The HIV Global Fund fully covers treatment of HIV/TB infected patients. The total number of patients involved in co-financed treatment programs is 900-1200. The majority of these patients are opioid users, most of them heroin addicts. Detoxification programs administered at four government-funded clinics have the capacity to treat 25 patients per month. The primary detoxification program costs $1000-$1500, the primary rehabilitation program costs $570. Methadone substitution therapy centers do not include an extensive psycho-social rehabilitation program. Psychologists are available for consultations with patients. In 2010, a new rehabilitation unit was established, renovated and equipped within the Institute on Addiction with the financial support of the SCAD program. Generally, however, there is lack of trained human resources in this field, and there is a lack of institutional mechanisms to provide proper relevant training.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs regularly hosts groups of juveniles from public schools throughout the country to discuss the dangers of drug use. Police officers visit schools to discuss the harmful impact of drug abuse with school children – a program started with U.S. Government assistance. Another governmental project, “Live Without Drugs,” facilitates presentations on drug abuse given by police officers at public schools.
Through the International Organization for Migration, the U.S. Government funded the production of anti-drug and anti-driving under the influence public service announcements. These announcements received attention both in Tbilisi and in the regions.
The Georgian Government has made significant steps in the elimination of corruption in law enforcement agencies since the 2003 Rose Revolution and it remains committed to this effort. Prior to 2003, Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (2003), ranked Georgia jointly in 124th place out of 133 countries. The latest index (2009) shows Georgia ranking 66th. The Georgian government continues to implement civil service, tax and law enforcement reforms aimed at deterring corruption and prosecuting it when detected. Despite these efforts, however, isolated corruption allegations still surface, and a small number of civil servants are prosecuted each year on corruption charges. There have been no serious allegations that the new counter narcotics unit in the Ministry of Internal Affairs has engaged in corrupt behavior. In 2010, the Georgian Government initiated a random drug testing program for all government employees. The government of Georgia does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate trafficking in narcotics nor do any of its senior civil servants.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy
In 2010, the U.S. Government began to provide direct counternarcotics assistance on demand reduction and treatment, and enhancing law enforcement’s capacity to detect and interdict illegal narcotics. The United States supported the establishment of a criminal database for the Ministry of Interior and an improved communications network for the police, renovation of methadone treatment centers and a canine program for the Unified Revenue Service. The United States is also providing additional training for counter narcotics units, including case management, drug-trafficking financial investigations, and train-the-trainer sessions for basic narcotics officer courses.
In 2011, the United States will begin a canine narcotics interdiction program with the Government of Georgia. Additionally, the United States continues to work on related issues of procuracy (prosecutor) reform, better prosecution of narcotics crimes, money laundering, assisting to develop trial skills in an adversarial system, provision of training and equipment for Georgia’s forensics laboratories, assisting the laboratory in establishing administrative policies and procedures to achieve international accreditation of its results, building new facilities for law enforcement units and providing training at the police academy, and providing training in fighting human trafficking, all of which will strengthen institutions and measures needed to reduce the transit and use of narcotics.
Training and equipment donation programs for Border Police and Customs officers continued and focused on the identification and detention of violators and criminals at the border; the detection of stolen vehicles; the targeting and inspection of high risk conveyances, cargo, and travelers; contraband detection; and revenue collection. The U.S. Coast Guard provides training to Georgian officials in maritime law enforcement, use of the Incident Command System, and other professional education. With the basic police force increasingly being tasked with border security responsibilities, the United States has also been ensuring that police receive appropriate training and equipment to manage the ports of entry.
The Georgian Government has made combating the drug problem a priority. A lack of coordination among the agencies and bodies involved in drug-related issues complicates achieving this goal. The establishment of a national drug control strategy outlining an integrated action plan would be a logical and effective first step. The U.S. government is encouraging better inter-agency cooperation through development of an interagency task force model. The U.S. Government will continue to support Georgia’s efforts with equipment and advisory support.
Germany is a consumer and transit country for narcotics. The German government actively combats drug-related crimes and places particular emphasis on prevention programs and assistance to victims of drug abuse. Germany continues to implement its Action Plan on Drugs and Addiction, which it launched in 2003 with a specific focus on prevention. Cannabis remains the most commonly-consumed illicit drug in Germany. Organized crime continues to be heavily-engaged in narcotics trafficking. Germany is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
Germany is not a significant drug cultivation or production country. The Federal Criminal Police (BKA) statistics reported seizure of 24 synthetic drug labs in Germany in 2009. The majority of these laboratories were small scale methamphetamine-kitchen-laboratories that had production capacities sufficient to satisfy the operators’ personal requirements or to supply a limited local circle of buyers. Germany is not a significant producer of hashish or marijuana. In 2009, German police reported the discovery and seizure of 67 outdoor marijuana “plantations”, two of which were considered professional (containing more than 1,000 plants) outdoor plantations, 9 large outdoor plantations, and 56 small outdoor plantations, a 34 percent decrease compared to 2008. In addition, German police seized 342 indoor plantations – an 18 percent decrease compared to 2008 – including 26 professional indoor plantations, 98 large indoor plantations, and 218 small indoor plantations, resulting in a total seizure of approximately 91,310 marijuana plants. In addition, 127,718 marijuana plants used for the production of hashish were also seized.
Germany is a major manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, making it a potential source of precursor chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics, although precursor chemical control in Germany is excellent.
Germany’s central location in Europe and its well-developed infrastructure make it a major transit hub for commerce. Traffickers smuggle cocaine from South America (in particular by air via Brazil and Argentina) to Germany for domestic use, as well as through Germany to other European countries such as Spain, the Netherlands, and the UK. Larger seizures of heroin in Germany originated from Turkey and Bulgaria and moved to Germany via the Balkan Route, with some shipments destined to move on to other European countries, in particular the Netherlands. Cannabis is trafficked to Germany mainly from the Netherlands, but smaller amounts are trafficked through Belgium and France. Smaller amounts of cannabis (but with a higher frequency) are also smuggled from Switzerland, Austria, and the Czech Republic to Germany. Amphetamines are trafficked mainly from the Netherlands and in lesser quantities from Poland and Belgium.
In the view of the Federal Health Ministry, around 600,000 individuals in Germany consume cannabis and around 200,000 individuals consume other illegal drugs, such as heroin and amphetamines, through injection. The number of drug-related deaths in Germany decreased in 2009, bucking a recent upward trend. According to German authorities, a total of 1,331 people died as a result of consuming illegal drugs in 2009, down from 1,449 in 2008. According to German authorities, the most frequent cause of death was from an overdose of heroin, sometimes used together with other drugs. 18,139 hard drug users were newly recorded in 2009, a decrease of 6 percent compared to 2008. First-time use of crack cocaine (-48.3 percent ), LSD (-19.6 percent), heroin (-7.9 percent) and cocaine (-9.5 percent) decreased significantly in 2009, while the first-time use of amphetamines increased by 0.5 percent. The first-time use of crystal methamphetamines decreased by 18 percent.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
Germany continues to implement its "Action Plan on Drugs and Addiction" adopted by the Federal Cabinet in 2003. The action plan establishes a comprehensive, multi-year strategy to combat narcotics. The key pillars are: (1) prevention, (2) therapy and counseling, (3) survival aid as an immediate remedy for drug-addicts, and (4) interdiction and supply reduction. Germany also implements the EU Drugs Strategy 2005-2012 and its Action Plans. The National Interagency Drug and Addiction Council, composed of Federal and State government officials, as well as civil society organizations, was established in 2004 to advise the government on implementing measures against drugs and addiction. The government continued its demand reduction efforts, particularly focusing on cannabis consumption and offering a variety of treatment prevention programs. Germany is actively involved in a large variety of bilateral cooperative arrangements, European, and international counter-narcotics fora. Germany is an active participant in the European “Horizontal Group on Drugs,” the European Monitoring Center for Drugs Addiction, and narcotics-related units within the Council of Europe and the United Nations. Germany along with Italy has taken the lead on implementing the “European Pact to Combat International Drug Trafficking—Disrupting Cocaine and Heroin Routes” with regard to combating heroin trafficking on the Balkans route.
A 1978 extradition treaty and a 1986 supplemental extradition treaty are in force between the U.S. and Germany. A bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters (MLAT) entered into force on October 18, 2009. All 27 EU member states, including Germany, have signed and ratified bilateral protocols with the United States that implement the 2003 U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements. These Agreements streamline the mutual legal assistance and extradition efforts between the countries. The mutual legal assistance protocol with Germany entered into force, along with the MLAT, on October 18, 2009. The extradition protocol entered into force on February 1, 2010. There is a Customs Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (CMAA) between the U.S. and Germany. In addition, Germany is 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. Germany is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and has signed but has not yet ratified the UN Corruption Convention.
2. Supply Reduction
Counternarcotics law enforcement remains a high priority for the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) and the Federal Office of Customs Investigation (ZKA). German federal and state law enforcement agencies scored numerous successes in seizing illicit narcotics and arresting suspected drug dealers. On April 11, 2010 German police seized a record 1.3 tons of high-purity cocaine with an estimated street value of €40 million making this the biggest amount of cocaine ever seized in Germany, according to a police statement. Customs officers discovered the drugs when searching pallets of wood briquettes in a container shipment sent to Hamburg’s port from Paraguay. Seven suspects were arrested and 200 police officers followed up with 19 searches in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia. The group was led by a national from Paraguay, while others had a Turkish background. In addition, in July 2010, Hamburg Police and German Customs seized approximately 352 kilograms of cocaine from two separate maritime shipping containers that had also originated in Paraguay. The cocaine had been concealed inside of shipments of sandstones. On 21 July, 2010, police in Cologne made the second largest drug seizure in the city's history, after workers found 50 kilograms of cocaine - valued between € four and five million - packed in a consignment of bananas. On March 14, 2010, the Hamburg Customs Investigation Office arrested two suspects involved in a five-person narcotics ring. The suspects were found smuggling 87 kilograms of hashish and marijuana from the Netherlands (worth about €500,000). Investigators searched three apartments and other premises, and seized weapons as well as three kg of amphetamines, 210 grams of cocaine and anabolic steroids, and €23,000 of drug money, 19,000 of which was counterfeit. According to press reports, on March 19, 2010, the Schleswig-Holstein State Criminal Police confiscated 14 kg of heroin (worth about € 700,000) and arrested 6 suspects in Flensburg. The drugs allegedly were shipped from in Turkey.
In 2009, the latest year for which statistics are available, Germany recorded the seizure of 758 kilograms of heroin in 6,183 different cases, resulting in a decline of 7 percent in the number of seizures but an increase of 50 percent in the amount of heroin seized compared to 2008. In 2009, German law enforcement agencies seized a total of 1,707 kilograms of cocaine, resulting in a 59.7 percent increase over the previous year. In addition to cocaine hydrochloride, a total of 4.6 kilograms of crack cocaine was seized in Germany during 2009, resulting in a 44 percent decrease from the previous year. Traditionally, most seizures of crack cocaine occur at the Frankfurt International Airport with quantities of not more than a few hundred grams. Ecstasy seizures were slightly lower this past year, with the seizure of 751,431 tablets in 2008 and 521,272 tablets in 2009, a decrease of 30.6 percent in volume and 34.7 percent in cases. In 2009, there were 24,135 reported marijuana seizures, resulting in the seizure of 4,298 kilograms, a decrease of 1.9 percent in the number of seizures and a decrease of 51.9 percent in amount seized from the previous year. There were 9,924 cases involving the seizure of 2,220 kilograms of hashish, a 10 percent reduction in the number of cases and a 70 percent reduction in the number of kilograms seized from 2008. Overall in 2009, 24 tons of the drug khat was seized, compared to 29 tons in 2008. In 2009, the majority of narcotics traffickers continued to be German nationals, followed by Turkish nationals, with organized criminal groups (mostly Turkish and German groups) continuing to expand their involvement in narcotics trafficking.
Seizures of illicit drugs moving by sea comprise a small proportion of overall narcotic drug seizures. However, the German ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven seem to have strategic significance in the development of smuggling routes between South American source countries and the Baltic Sea region, as maritime traffic routes converge at these transshipment ports.
3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
The Federal Ministry of Health continues to be the lead agency in developing, coordinating, and implementing Germany’s drug policies and programs. The National Drug Commissioner at the Federal Ministry of Health coordinates Germany’s national drug policy. Drug consumption is treated as a health and social issue. Policies stress prevention through education. The Ministry funds numerous research and prevention programs, as do the Federal states. Addiction therapy programs focus on drug-free treatment, psychological counseling, and substitution therapy.
The Federal Ministry of Health also supports the German Center for Addiction Issues (GCAI), which provides a platform for associations and charities active in helping addiction sufferers and their families throughout Germany. With few exceptions, all bodies in Germany involved in out-patient counseling and treatment, inpatient provision and self-help are represented in the GCAI. This includes around 1,400 counseling centers, 160 specialist clinics, 7,500 self-help groups with 120,000 members, as well as daycare centers and night shelters, and residential and aftercare groups. More than 10,000 social workers, educators, psychologists and doctors, along with at least 20,000 unpaid volunteers, staff the largely locally-based addiction relief facilities.
Germany sees substitution therapy as an important pillar in the treatment of opiate addicts and has implemented corresponding measures and programs since the mid 1980s. Approximately 69,000 patients undergo substitution therapy in Germany, the most widely used medication being methadone, with an increased use of buprenorphine and levomethadone in recent years. On July 21, 2009 the law on diamorphine-based substitution treatment entered into force, which sets the legal requirements for prescribing diamorphine. The Narcotics Act, Narcotics Prescription Ordinance and the Pharmaceuticals Act were amended accordingly. They now lay out strict requirements on diamorphine use for a small group of the most seriously addicted persons. Diamorphine treatment pursuant to the new law and implementing regulation is expected to be fully implemented in the Federal states in 2011. The government’s goal remains to reduce drug-related deaths.
As a matter of government policy, Germany does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No cases of official corruption by senior officials have come to the USG’s attention.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
German law enforcement agencies work closely and effectively with their U.S. counterparts in narcotics-related cases. Close cooperation to curb drug trafficking continues among DEA, FBI, DHS ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), DHS CBP (Customs and Border Protection) and their German counterparts, including the BKA, the State Offices for Criminal Investigation (LKAs), and the Federal Office of Customs Investigation ZKA. German agencies routinely cooperate very closely with their U.S. counterparts in joint investigations to stop the diversion of chemical precursors for illegal purposes (e.g., Operation Crystal Flow and Operation Prism). A DEA Diversion Investigator is assigned to the BKA headquarters in Wiesbaden to facilitate cooperation and joint investigations. The DEA Frankfurt Country Office facilitates information exchanges and operational support between German and U.S. law enforcement agencies. The BKA and DEA also participate in exchange programs to compare samples of cocaine and MDMA (ecstasy) pills. DHS CBP in cooperation with German authorities operates two Container Security Initiative (CSI) locations at the ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven where CBP Officers work with local German authorities to identify maritime cargo containers destined for shipment to the U.S. that may pose a threat to national security. The program’s extensive targeting abilities can also identify and track containers used in transnational shipping of high risk cargo in support of global maritime security. Six German law enforcement officers attended U.S. Coast Guard resident training courses in maritime law enforcement.
The U.S. anticipates that Germany will continue to cooperate closely on counter-narcotics, including at the law enforcement level. This comprises law enforcement information exchange as well as the pursuit of narcotics traffickers and international organized criminal entities involved in the manufacture and distribution of narcotics.
Ghana continues to be a significant transshipment point for illegal drugs, particularly cocaine from South America, as well as heroin from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Europe is the major destination, but drugs also flow to South Africa and to North America. Accra’s Kotoka International Airport (KIA) is a focus for traffickers. Ports at Tema, Sekondi, and Takoradi are also used, and border posts at Aflao (Togo) and Elubo and Sampa (Cote d’Ivoire) have seen significant drug trafficking activity. Gangs trafficking South American cocaine have increased their foothold in Ghana, establishing well-developed distribution networks run by Nigerian and Ghanaian criminals. Ghana’s interest in attracting investment provides good cover for foreign drug barons to enter the country under the guise of doing legitimate business. However, South American traffickers limit their personal involvement in Ghana by relying on local partners, thus insulating themselves from possible identification and arrest by local authorities.
Trafficking has also fueled increasing domestic drug consumption. Local cannabis, imported heroin, and cocaine use are increasing as is the local cultivation of cannabis. Diversion of precursor chemicals is not a major problem, but government regulation and oversight of precursor chemicals is very limited, mainly due to technical and staff shortages.
President John Atta Mills remains committed to combating narco-trafficking in Ghana. With the assistance of U.S. and foreign law enforcement counterparts, Ghanaian law enforcement significantly increased its seizures of illicit drugs transiting the country during 2010. In the first ten months of the year, the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) seized 100 percent more heroin than in 2009 and is on pace to seize more kilograms of cocaine than what was seized in 2009. In addition, the Ghana Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (C.E.P.S.) Rover Team reported an increase in cocaine seizures from arriving air passengers.
Corruption, a lack of resources, and porous borders seriously impede interdiction efforts. While law enforcement authorities arrested low-level narcotics traffickers, Ghana has had less success pursuing the so-called drug barons. Narco-trafficking-related and other cases involving serious crimes can sometimes take years to prosecute due to increasing workloads and the failure of witnesses to appear in court. Interagency coordination among law enforcement agencies, including the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), the Narcotics Unit of the Ghana Police Service’s Criminal Investigative Division (CID), the C.E.P.S., as well as the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), Defense Intelligence, the Immigration Service, and the Ghana Navy, remain a challenge. Ghana is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
The government took several significant steps in 2010 to increase its capacity to fight narco-trafficking and to uphold the rule of law in Ghana. On September 6, Parliament passed legislation revamping the Serious Fraud Office, an office within the Ministry of Interior, by renaming it the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) and giving it a new, broader mandate to combat organized crime, nacro-trafficking, and other serious crimes. In March, the Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) constituted its Board and launched activities to analyze and report on suspicious financial transactions. DEA also worked with the NACORB to improve its operational capacity. In September 2009, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Scientists in cooperation with DEA presented Narcotic Drug Test Kit training to C.E.P.S. and NACORB officers.
The Attorney General’s Office is considering reforming the Public Prosecutor’s Office to make it similar to the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service. Parliament is also considering a Freedom of Information Act that will facilitate greater transparency in government, including on counternarcotics-related issues, and regulations that would strengthen the existing anti-money laundering legislation and framework.
Ghana 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. U.S.-Ghana extradition relations are governed by the 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty. In 2003, Ghana signed a bilateral Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement with the United States. Ghana is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
2. Supply Reduction
Cocaine and heroin are the main drugs that transit Ghana. Cocaine is sourced from South America and is destined for Europe, while Afghan heroin comes mainly by way of Southwest Asia on its way to Europe and North America. Cannabis is shipped primarily to Europe. Law enforcement officials report that traffickers are increasingly exploiting Ghana’s relatively unguarded and porous maritime border, offloading large shipments at sea onto small fishing vessels, which carry the drugs to shore undetected.
Some narcotics enter Ghana from other locations in West Africa, as well as from other countries, including Iran. Narcotics are often repackaged in Ghana for reshipment, hidden in shipping containers or secreted in air cargo. Large shipments are also often broken up into small amounts to be hidden on individuals traveling by passenger aircraft through Kotoka International Airport. The most common individual concealment methods use false bottom suitcases or body cavity concealment.
In coordination with the U.S. and foreign law enforcement counterparts, Ghanaian law enforcement continues to increase its seizures of cocaine and heroin. Through October, NACOB seized over 80 kilograms of heroin, over 220 kilograms of cocaine, and over 3000 kilograms of cannabis and arrested 47 individuals. Through September, the GPS CID Narcotics Unit made 286 arrests for production and possession of drugs, and four arrests for drug trafficking. Through October (latest statistics available), there have been 59 cases referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Notable cases include the following:
On February 19, collaboration between Ghanaian law enforcement and international partners led to the arrest of members of a Switzerland-based syndicate led by a 60-year old Ghanaian woman.
On March 5, a Nigerian businesswoman concealed 80 kg of heroin in spare car parts, which were discovered at Kotoka International Airport. She has also been implicated in other narcotics investigations.
On August 23, a twenty-four year old female student was arrested at the Kotoka International Airport for attempting to smuggle 35 pellets of cocaine using specially-made undergarments.
- On October 18, officials of the Narcotics Control Board and the Ghana Police Service dismantled a cocaine syndicate at Tema Harbor and arrested two clearing agents and a driver for attempting to smuggle 125 kilograms of cocaine.
According to police officials, as of late October, one kilogram of cocaine has a street value of $24,000, one kilogram of heroin is valued at $22,000 (up from approximately $15,000/kg), and one kilogram of cannabis is approximately $35. The increased street price of heroin has been attributed by police officials to reduced supply resulting from stronger law enforcement efforts. A new, local drug involves mixing cannabis with liquor/spirits. Various pubs sell this cannabis cocktail upon special request from knowledgeable customers.
3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment:
Illicit drug use is growing in Ghana. Cannabis is the most abused illicit drug, but the use of hard drugs is on the rise. According to NACOB, there has been an increase in reported cocaine and heroin usage and treatment in 2010 compared to 2009. Up to the second quarter of 2010, there were 823 illicit drug users being treated at four psychiatric hospitals.
NACOB has a small office that handles drug abuse awareness and demand reduction programs. It works with municipal, metropolitan and district chief executives to educate them on the negative effects of drug abuse, and to encourage them to educate their constituents. NACOB and police officials have appeared on radio and TV stations for sensitization programs, and sponsored essay and quiz competitions to promote drug awareness. These programs are broadcast on state television in local languages. NACOB recently released a 40 minute TV drama explaining narcotics’ effects on the human body, individual users, and society. It also distributes counternarcotics ads, handouts, calendars and brochures, with strong and sometimes graphic anti-trafficking messages prominently displayed at Kotoka International Airport and other public exhibitions. In addition, NACOB’s Counseling Unit work with different psychiatric hospitals around the country, providing drug education programs and counseling sessions, as well as monitoring drug use and treatment.
During 2010, the Ministries of Health and Education frequently hosted public lectures, participated in radio discussion programs, encouraged newspaper articles on the dangers of drug abuse and trafficking. Drug education was also broadcast on TV. Narconon International, a Scientology-affiliated organization, provided residential drug abuse education to schools in Ghana. It educates approximately 2000 students a year on the dangers of drug abuse.
Corruption continues to be an issue in Ghana and is widely perceived to be endemic in the police force, as well as other government institutions. Ghana does not have laws that specifically target narcotics-related public sector corruption and has not pursued charges against public officials on narcotics-related corruption offenses. There is no evidence linking senior government officials to such activity. On July 1, the GOG began implementing the Single Spine Salary System aimed at unifying pay, increasing transparency and fairness, and reducing corruption in government. The initiative has resulted in salary increases for police and other law enforcement officials, along with other government employees. As a matter of government policy, Ghana 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. In 2008, CBP, in cooperation with DOS/INL, assisted C.E.P.S. in establishing an Internal Affairs (IA) Unit that reports directly to the Commissioner of C.E.P.S. The IA unit organized a campaign encouraging the public to report unprofessional behavior. As a result, other Ghanaian government agencies are following their example to establish anti corruption departments within their organization.
NACOB, as well as the newly formed EOCO, have both taken steps to conduct background investigations for new recruits. NACOB has also begun to institute further checks on its current staff.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
USG and Ghanaian law enforcement continue to enjoy excellent cooperation on counter narcotics enforcement. A full body scanner procured by the State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau (INL) for use at Kotoka International Airport to detect drug swallowers and carriers was placed inside a climate-controlled room provided for and built by the Department of Defense’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) in January. Following the installation of the scanner, there has been a notable decrease in drug swallowers transiting Kotoka. The USG plans to provide a second full body scanner soon. Moreover, a new narcotics evidence storage and training facility for the Ghana Police Service was constructed with AFRICOM’s assistance in June 2010. AFRICOM has also provided seven “Defender Class” patrol boats over the past three years to the Ghanaian Navy, and is building a small craft maintenance and docking facility to assist with maritime drug interdiction.
The USG continues to provide technical assistance to Ghana within its ministries and offices. A U.S. Treasury embedded advisor at Ghana’s Financial Intelligence Center provides technical assistance to the FIC to train its staff in anti-money laundering techniques. INL, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice, has allocated funds for a legal advisor to assist the Ghana Ministry of Justice with narcotics prosecutions. On Friday, August 13, 2010, the first vetted unit on the continent of Africa graduated from DEA’s Basic Drug Enforcement Seminar in a ceremony in Accra, Ghana. The vetted unit, or Special Drug Investigative Unit (SDIU) as it is called in Ghana, received strong support from the Government of Ghana. DEA is also continuing to provide technical assistance and equipment to NACOB.
Ghana remains committed to combating narcotics trafficking and maintaining excellent cooperation with international partners, including the U.S., on counter narcotics issues. Ghana took several notable steps to strengthen its ability to counter narcotics smuggling and abuse, including the passage of the Economic and Organized Crime Act that strengthens existing laws on anti-money laundering and asset forfeiture and created the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO). With the assistance of DEA, NACOB also took steps to improve its operational capabilities. However, Ghana’s law enforcement and judicial institutions continue to face a number of challenges that hinder the country’s ability to make greater strides against narco-trafficking. Ghana should endeavor to continue providing needed technical, human, and financial resources to law enforcement and judicial institutions, take steps to combat corruption, and improve interagency coordination among law enforcement agencies.
Guatemala possesses many essential features of an ideal transshipment point: its location between the Andean producing countries and the U.S. market; easy accessibility by drug trafficking organizations (DTO) via air and sea; weak public institutions; endemic corruption; and vast ungoverned spaces along its borders. The situation in Guatemala contributes to over 60 percent of the cocaine trafficked to the United States being smuggled through Central America. Guatemala is also a minor producer of opium poppy for export to Mexico, as well as marijuana for domestic use.
The United States and the Government of Guatemala (GOG) enjoy strong bilateral relations and have partnered in many areas to strengthen GOG institutions and develop technical capacity. However, in 2010, the security situation continued to deteriorate. The continued incursion of Mexican DTOs into border regions, including the Sinaloa cartel and Los Zetas, led to a number of violent clashes between rival organizations. Guatemala is also beset with an array of transnational crime including trafficking in persons, arms trafficking, and an upsurge in regionally powerful youth gangs who engage in armed robbery, murder-for-hire and extortion schemes.
The GOG did not allocate the resources necessary to confront these challenges; it has one of the lowest tax collection rates in Latin America, and, in 2010, cut the justice and law-enforcement budgets. This constrained the effectiveness of U.S. Government (USG)-sponsored assistance. These factors have combined to create an impunity rate of 96.5 percent for murder, with similarly high numbers for other crimes including organized crime. While the number of homicides dropped in 2010 from 2009 levels, Guatemala’s per capita murder rate has roughly doubled in the last ten years and is now eight times that of the United States, and four times that of Mexico. Drug seizures and eradication were down in 2010 compared to 2009.
Guatemala is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
Weak law enforcement and criminal justice institutions operate in an environment of pervasive corruption. The frequent rotation of top officials in all ministries inhibits the development of coherent and consistent strategic approaches towards improving rule of law. Government officials, even when well-intentioned, are also challenged by intimidation, constrained budgets, and limited training. Guatemala has one of the lowest tax rates per capita in Latin America at 10.3 percent of GDP, leaving state institutions underfunded. Despite calls from the USG and other international and civil society leaders to increase tax revenue and to increase transparency in government spending, the Guatemalan Congress failed to approve a fiscal reform measure, in part due to opposition from the private sector. The budgets assigned to the ministries responsible for security, law enforcement and justice were cut again in 2010 in favor of the expansion of the government’s social programs. These factors foster an environment which facilitates the operation of organized crime in Guatemala and has encouraged further encroachment and consolidation of power and control of trafficking networks by Mexican drug cartels.
The most promising initiative in 2010 was the establishment of the Police Reform Commission directed by noted human rights activist Helen Mack. The Commission has focused on improving planning, investigatory capacity, crime prevention, professionalization, and internal control of the National Civil Police (PNC). The USG has provided substantial technical and financial assistance to this initiative. The GOG vetted the top three tiers of the officers in the PNC, promoting only those that achieved positive results. Additional police officers were also hired, bringing the force up to 23,000. However, by comparison the number of private security guards in the country is approximately 120,000.
The GOG achieved some success countering organized crime in 2010, utilized judicially-authorized wiretaps to obtain evidence critical in a number of high-profile cases, and appointed a promising new Attorney General. In October, major narcotics trafficker Mauro Ramirez was captured; following the capture, the Minister of Government requested USG assistance to reorganize and strengthen the anti-narcotics division of the PNC. On December 19, President Colom declared a state of siege in Coban, the capital of Alta Verapaz department, to respond to increased violence in the area attributed to Mexican drug traffickers. Police and military conducted 16 raids, arrested 18 suspects, and confiscated a large cache of weapons. The Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) aviation program provided aerial reconnaissance and transported prosecutors to the area and captured suspects to Guatemala City to face trail. At the conclusion of the operation, the GOG requested USG support to permanently strengthen rule of law institutions in the department.
The passage last year of legislation establishing high impact courts to provide a secure environment for judges, prosecutors, and witnesses who participate in sensitive narcotics trafficking and other dangerous cases was a significant achievement; one high impact court has been established in Guatemala City and has already heard several cases. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided funding in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme to remodel the courts’ facilities. On December 7, Guatemala’s Congress passed the Seized Asset Law that targets assets obtained from crimes such as drug trafficking, money laundering and corruption and transfers the assets to law enforcement, prosecutorial and judicial authorities. The USG committed to assist the GOG in developing and implementing regulations and a strong secretariat to oversee seized assets before the law goes into effect on June 30, 2011.
Strict controls on precursor chemicals were enacted in 2003 and strengthened in 2009 to include pseudoephedrine. In 2010, the GOG began to develop new regulations to control other precursor chemicals.
A special anti-gang unit created last year with USG assistance contributed to the capture of 130 gang members in 2010. The GOG’s official 2010 crime statistics show homicides decreased to 5,842 compared to 6,206 in 2009. In addition, as of December 2010, 33 PNC officers and 9 prison guards were killed while on duty, compared to 29 police and nine prison guards killed in 2009.
Guatemala is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol; the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances; the 1988 UN Drug Convention; the Central American Commission for the Eradication of Production, Traffic, Consumption and Illicit Use of Psychotropic Drugs and Substances; and the Central American Treaty on Joint Legal Assistance for Penal Issues. Guatemala is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. A maritime counternarcotics agreement with the United State has been fully implemented. In addition, Guatemala ratified the Inter-American Mutual Legal Assistance Convention, and is a party to the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (an entity of the OAS). The extradition treaty between the GOG and the USG dates from 1903. A supplemental extradition treaty adding narcotics offenses to the list of extraditable offenses was adopted in 1940. As a result of laws passed in 2008, all U.S. requests for extradition in drug cases are consolidated and expedited in specialized courts located in Guatemala City.
2. Supply Reduction
Guatemala is bordered by the Caribbean Sea in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the southwest. Its geographic location and limited maritime law enforcement presence make it ideal for the transit of drugs through its coastal waters. In addition, it has a large, sparsely patrolled border with Mexico to the north. Illicit flights direct from the Andean production zone, however, fell from an average of 60 in 2009 to six in 2010. The presence of a USG-maintained Aviation Support Program (ASP) contributed to this decline.
In 2010, the USG provided assistance to specialized GOG military and police units to strengthen their interdiction capabilities, including the counternarcotics police (DAIA) and Special Naval Unit (FEN). In July, the FEN sent boats from its special naval force out 120 nautical miles to interdict a semi-submersible vessel. Four suspected narcotics traffickers were captured; however, the vessel was scuttled, taking with it one of the GOG naval vessels.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provided training to improve police skills at the international airport in Guatemala City and main seaports, leading to increased seizures of money and drug couriers. However, despite sustained training and provision of substantial technical and logistical assistance to the GOG, drug seizures declined in 2010. According to the GOG, it seized 1.4 metric tons (MT) of cocaine in 2010, compared to 7.1 MT in 2009. The GOG only seized 1 MT of pseudoephedrine and 1.5 million pseudoephedrine tablets in 2010, compared to 11.8 MT of pseudoephedrine in 2009. This overall decline was due primarily to turnover in the leadership of the PNC as well as the assignment of an ineffective head of the counternarcotics police unit who was replaced in late September. The GOG did seize more heroin in 2010 -- 20.86 kilograms, compared to 950 grams in 2009, and also seized $2.4 million in currency in 2010.
Guatemala continues to be a minor producer of opium poppy, probably for Mexican DTOs, as well as a grower of low-quality marijuana that is sold on the domestic market. During 2010, there were two manual eradication operations conducted by the NAS-supported DAIA compared to the four missions conducted in 2009. According to the PNC, a total of 918 hectares of opium poppy were eradicated in 2010. The ASP conducted reconnaissance flights which indicate the increasing prevalence and organization of poppy cultivation, especially in the Department of San Marcos in the proximity of Guatemala’s border with Mexico. More intensive eradication operations are planned for 2011.
3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
In 2010, the Commission against Addictions and Drug Trafficking (SECCATID) remained underfunded. However, by working with other GOG and non-governmental organization (NGO) institutions as well as by focusing on the most-at-risk areas of the Guatemala City metropolitan area, it was able to implement a number of prevention projects targeted at youth and local community organizations as well as support a small treatment program. During 2010, SECCATID worked with NAS, the Ministry of Interior, the PNC, the Ministry of Education, and several NGO’s to implement nine drug use and violence prevention programs, all designed to generate protective factors at the individual, peer, and community level. The programs aimed to keep students off the streets, educate and inform them about the consequences of drug-use and violence, and build life skills for drug and violence-free lives.
SECCATID supported the implementation of a year-long youth-at-risk prevention program (Youth in Action for a Safe Life or JAVI in Spanish), which was funded through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) small grant competition. The program taught 100 at-risk youth critical life skills, increase their economic opportunities through vocational training and participation in a job placement assistance program, as well as help them to share their skills with the community through a neighborhood restoration project. SECCATID also supported NAS in the implementation of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (DARE), Gang Resistance Education and Training program (GREAT), and the Police Athletic League (PAL) in high-crime areas of Guatemala City.
PAL police officers worked with teachers and parents to organize a number of non-sports activities to provide additional skills to the children and their communities such as the “Theater Festival” in which four PAL chapters presented a unique and originally produced theater play with an anti-drug theme. SECCATID was also able to raise drug-use awareness through creative activities with a drug prevention message such as an art contest and a theater play that included more than 30 presentations with an average audience of 2,500 each. SECCATID, NAS, and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) worked in two municipalities to build healthier, drug-free communities. Finally, SECCATID started to work on strategic research regarding drug-use and a science-based monitoring and evaluation schedule for their prevention programs; the data and information that result from these activities will feed the recently created National Drug Observatory which received equipment and technical support from NAS.
The GOG does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate illicit production and distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. In 2010, the GOG continued to support the efforts of the United Nation-led International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) to investigate organized criminal groups with links to public institutions and strengthen the Guatemalan justice system.
Nonetheless, corruption remains endemic in public institutions and society as a whole. Two former presidents of congress face charges for their alleged involvement in an embezzlement scandal. Two former heads of the PNC face illicit drug trafficking and conspiracy charges for their role in the attempted theft of a load of cocaine. Additionally, former President Alfonso Portillo is being prosecuted for embezzlement and money laundering during his administration. Under intense international scrutiny, in June the Constitutional Court ordered the removal of the newly-appointed Attorney General for his alleged ties to organized crime. The Court then directed that the selection process be started anew, and in December President Colom selected human rights activist Claudia Paz y Paz as the next Attorney General for a five-year term.
The USG focuses its assistance on developing vetted, specialized units to counter the threat of corruption and serve as examples of what good police work can accomplish. While the vetting process does not prevent corruption entirely, working with and training vetted PNC officers to do their jobs effectively should help build both public and internal confidence in the police. The USG also supports efforts to root out corruption in the Ministry of Government and Public Ministry. USG assistance and technical advice assisted the Public Ministry in developing a Code of Ethics and a renewed supervisory unit, which receives and follows up complaints of questionable behavior within the prosecutor’s office. NAS is also working with the PNC to strengthen its Internal Affairs unit. These activities have had some positive effects, but need to be expanded and strengthened.
C. National Policy, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
USG narcotics and law enforcement programs are focused on improving the ability of GOG leadership and institutions to provide a stable and secure political, social, and economic environment within Guatemala. Individual programs focus on training, equipping and developing host nation agencies’ capacity to detect and interdict drug trafficking and combat other criminal behavior, investigate and build supportable criminal cases and police intelligence, and prosecute criminal cases to a successful conclusion.
U.S. narcotics and crime control assistance supports strengthening the PNC to create a more professional, well-trained civilian law enforcement organization that is an integral pillar of the criminal justice system. Assistance is directed at improving the PNC’s investigative, analytical, preventative, and patrolling capacity through support for the Police Reform Commission, Model Precincts Program, Center for Collection, Analysis and Dissemination of Criminal Information (CRADIC), the PNC’s Total Information Management System, the PNC Academy, the prison system, and the Inspector General/Office of Professional Responsibility (Internal Affairs) Unit. The USG also supports a vetting process for PNC special units, a special investigative techniques unit (UME), the Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU), Airport Task Force, Financial Investigative Unit (FIU), and a confidential tip phone line.
In addition, the USG provides support for an anti-gang unit (PANDA), which is an inter-agency effort with representatives from the PNC and Public Ministry working in partnership with analysts from CRADIC to investigate and dismantle local gang organizations. Given its success, PANDA will be expanded from Guatemala City to Quetzaltenango and Jutiapa in the next year. There are also plans to expand UME and CRADIC in 2011 to meet the growing demand for their services in investigating high-impact cases.
The ASP provides six Huey II helicopters along with training, operational, logistics, and maintenance support to the GOG. This has been critical in enhancing GOG’s ability to interdict narcotics trafficking activities, support the manual eradication of illicit drug crops, transport law enforcement agents and detainees/evidence to and from remote areas of Guatemala, and to respond to natural disasters. The ASP is supported by Guatemalan Air Force pilots and maintenance staff and a tactical PNC Air Interdiction Joint Task Force (FIAAT).
The Rule of Law Program supports the GOG’s ability to prosecute narcotraffickers and organized crime leaders effectively, as well as violators of money laundering and corruption laws. To achieve this purpose, it provides financial and technical support to three special prosecutorial units that handle narcotics, money laundering and corruption cases. In addition, it supports a special GOG task force to investigate and prepare high-impact narcotics cases. In 2010, a new program was launched to support the agencies that investigate threats against and protect human rights defenders.
In most areas, bilateral cooperation is good and the GOG is meeting their commitments in the Letters of Agreement. However, the reduced budget for the police and the Ministry of Government’s limited ability to fully execute its budget constrains the GOG’s ability to counter organized crime and narcotic traffickers. This lack of resources, including well-trained staff and funds for equipment and maintenance, prevents the units from reaching their full potential. The Seized Assets Law, once fully implemented, should deprive narcotraffickers of the economic gains from their illicit activity and provide enhanced resources to vetted units such as the ASP, UME, CRADIC, as well as the law enforcement and justice sector as a whole.
The USG enjoys productive relations with the GOG and has worked with the Colom Administration to improve its technical and organizational ability in the rule of law and justice sectors. Despite the availability of enhanced tools, such as increased aviation capacity, interdiction performance did not improve in 2010. Changes in key personnel continue to be a problem. The Minister of Government and Director of the PNC were replaced in 2010, and a new Attorney General was sworn-in on December 10. This lack of leadership continuity complicates efforts to develop long-term strategies and fully implement programs. However, the current Minister of Government and new Attorney General have expressed their commitment to pursue reforms. While the total number of police officers has increased by 50 percent from 2008 to 2010, the Ministry of Government’s budget was cut sharply in both 2009 and 2010, limiting the operational capacity of existing units and raising doubts about the prospects of replicating successful projects, e.g., the Model Precinct Program, on a national scale. Finally, corruption and intimidation of law enforcement and justice sector officials reduces overall effectiveness.
It is crucial that the GOG complete the full implementation of the Organized Crime Law, specifically in establishing and training operational units to utilize authorized tools such as controlled deliveries and undercover operations to detect, arrest, and prosecute known major traffickers. The GOG should also act quickly to implement the Seized Assets Law, as well as pass an Illegal Enrichment Law and reforms to the Injunction Law, both to deprive criminals of their gains and channel resources to counternarcotics efforts. The GOG must also continue to fight against corruption by fully implementing the planned reforms of the PNC and the reorganization of the Inspector General (IG) and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). Police reform, with appropriate budgetary support, and concerted efforts to bring corrupt officials to justice in Guatemala are necessary for sustained progress.
Ultimately, the long-term success of the activities proposed and initiated with USG support depends on the GOG’s provision of the resources necessary to replicate and sustain these efforts. USG funding is not sufficient on its own to drastically improve citizen security, but our programs are vital in demonstrating to the Guatemalan government and citizens that the combination of political will, leadership, and USG assistance can make significant improvements.
Guinea has experienced a series of dramatic events that have either focused the Government of Guinea’s [GoG] attention on narcotics in an unprecedented fashion, or seen the issue relegated to insignificance, all dependent upon the prevailing political climate and de facto ruler of the republic at that point in time. In some cases, the intent of the government’s focus on the narcotics issue seemed to be manipulative, i.e., to convince foreign observers that more was being done than in fact was being done. In other cases, the need to focus attention elsewhere was in line with any fair assessment of the country’s priorities at that moment, and left enforcement in the hands of Guinea’s under-resourced and inadequately trained police and military, who did their best to carry out their responsibilities, but made very little progress with it. Regardless of these disparities, neither the attention, nor lack thereof, has had much of an impact and the situation remains much as it has throughout recent Guinean history; leaving effective narcotics control as being only one priority, and not a particularly well-served priority, among many future challenges facing Guinean Law Enforcement. Guinea is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
B. Drug Control Policies, Accomplishments, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
The death of longtime Guinean President Lansana Conte on December 23, 2008, was followed within hours of his passing by a military coup that brought to power Captain Moussa Dadis Camara of the Guinean Army. Determined to stamp out corruption that had marred the decades of rule by the Conte Regime, Dadis embarked on what his spokespeople characterized as a vigorous campaign to combat the narcotics trafficking that had become endemic to the administration of his predecessor. Dadis’ campaign was crippled from the outset, however, as his presidency was unrecognized around the world, particularly among African nations, and thus he received little international support. Many nations also believed (rightly, as it was later proven), that Dadis’ counter-narcotics efforts were often being used as window-dressing in order to garner recognition for his new government. The election of President Alpha Conde in 2010 could perhaps provide a new champion for future resolution of Guinea’s troubled counter-narcotics programs, but this difficult challenge finds itself joining a very long line of competing priorities facing a fledgling government with few, if any, resources.
2. Supply Reduction
The summer of 2009 was a particular high point in the counter-narcotics fraud being perpetrated by the Dadis government. Several large “drug busts” were reported by the government in many areas of Conakry, including one (perhaps not without coincidence) in the hometown of former president Lansana Conte. Such alleged accomplishments, however, began to lose their credibility with the GoG announcement of the discovery of several “drug labs” in and around Conakry. Analysis of one purported lab near Gbessia International Airport by members of the U.S. Embassy staff led to doubts as to both the authenticity of the claims and the integrity of GoG anti-narcotics efforts in general. For example, Guinean police showed warehouses full of chemicals which they claimed were being used in the refinement of narcotics. Analysis of the chemicals in the warehouse by the Drug Enforcement Administration produced inconclusive evidence as to its actual purpose. Furthering these inconsistencies was the announcement days later of an “Ecstasy Lab” outside of Conakry that was alleged to contain large amounts of sassafras oil (used in the manufacture of the drug). While this claim caught the attention of international observers and organizations, it later proved to be the GoG’s most outlandish hoax of the summer.
Nevertheless, DEA did dispatch two agents from its Paris office to investigate the veracity of the GoG’s claims in September of 2009, an arrival welcomed by the GoG. Before DEA’s inquiry could begin, however, on September 28, 2009, 157 unarmed protestors were gunned down by government soldiers in the Conakry Football Stadium. This event virtually erased any remaining international support for the Dadis regime and, owing largely to the highly unstable environment that has beset Guinea since that period, the DEA has not visited the country and the counter-narcotics strategy of Guinea has faded drastically from public debate. In the aftermath of the 2009 massacre, it became clearly apparent the failures of Guinean Law Enforcement to adequately and honestly address a counter-narcotics strategy during the summer of 2009 were largely due to the failure of Guinean Law Enforcement to be effective in any arena.
3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
Illicit drug use in Guinea is difficult to quantify, not only is local law enforcement and prosecution lax, but the absence of any rehabilitation clinics or other medical recording facilities relegates illicit drug use in Guinea to an obvious fact, but one lacking in supporting empirical data. Thus, it is not possible to say how many drug abusers there are in Guinea, or to clearly identify what drugs are being abused.
Official corruption is endemic and frequently tolerated in West Africa. Under the past regimes in Guinea, it might well have played an important role in the emergence of Guinea as one of the West African centers of the transit narcotics traffic. Going forward, there is hope that a newly elected regime will realize the way corruption undermines any counternarcotics effort and will do what it can to remedy it.
Guinea 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. Guinea is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and has signed but has not yet ratified the UN Convention against Corruption.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
For many years in Guinea, the only law enforcement available was being implemented by Guinea’s military forces, not its nominal police. As of the end of 2010, the Guinean Military are nearly absent from street life in Conakry, remaining confined to barracks and out of the public eye. The Guinean National Gendarmerie has effectively engaged in Use of Force (UoF) training offered by the U.S. and EU and implemented the new policies with a degree of success many had previously thought impossible with Guinean Police. The Guinean military has also shown for the first time that it can deploy to the streets of Conakry during civil unrest without usurping police authority and limiting itself to a supporting role much like a U.S. National Guard unit. Effective leadership, clearly defined parameters, and the opportunities to put these newly taught principles into action have at this point far exceeded expectations for Guinean Law Enforcement.
Having said this, the sad fact remains that in congratulating Guinean Police on the effective implementation of proper UoF principles sadly demonstrates just how untrained and far behind the Guinean police were, and how much further they have to go. UoF is a key tenet for trained law enforcement organizations anywhere in the world. But this is law enforcement at its very basic level, providing perhaps a glimpse at the long road ahead for Guinean law enforcement and its future ability to fight complex narcotics trafficking.
Guinea’s recent (and first) presidential election followed a tumultuous year of civil disarray surprised even the most pessimistic observers. Following this success with aggressive reformation and training of the Guinean National Police could provide the foundation, and hope, that implementation of a valid counter-narcotics strategy could become fact. Guinean Police forces responded exceptionally well to the small amount of UoF training provided briefly during the summer of 2010. This enthusiasm for progressive training and modernization are a clear indicator that future law enforcement training programs provided by international observers or organizations will likely be heartily welcomed by the Guinean police and lead to an overall improvement of law enforcement throughout Guinea. Existing programs such as training in International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) are coveted opportunities for Guinean police, and the expansion of these programs can only further aid in the professional development of future leaders in the Guinean law enforcement hierarchy. The successes of American and European police officers providing a very modest amount of on-site training in Guinea was followed by almost textbook execution just months later in controlling election related violence in Conakry. Guineans have also responded well to “Train-the-Trainer” programs and with successes such as these, the optimism that is spreading throughout Guinea following its first free election could also have a positive effect on local law enforcement.
In discussing Guinea’s future, however, one cannot discount the not too distant past. Guinean democracy is less than a month old and while the future appears bright the long history of dictatorship, civil unrest, general strikes, and massacres have often and quickly nullified previous efforts and successes of the best-willed Guineans and the international donor community.
The enormity of Guinea’s political problems just one year ago would have convinced any scholar of international relations that those problems were in fact insurmountable. Yet Guinea has shown in an astoundingly short amount of time that such hopelessness was unwarranted. Guinea’s political crisis was resolved in part to the determination of major donor nations who doggedly insisted on free elections. What can be done in politics can certainly be done in police departments. While one cannot exactly be overwhelmingly confident in contemplating the future of law enforcement in Guinea, recent events clearly show there is still reason for genuine optimism.
Guinea-Bissau, a tiny impoverished country in West Africa, is a major transit hub for narcotics trafficking from South America to Europe. The country provides an opportune environment for traffickers because of its lack of law enforcement capabilities, its susceptibility to corruption, its porous borders, its location in relation to Europe, South America and neighboring West African transit points, and its linguistic connections to Brazil, Portugal and Cape Verde. The un-policed islands off the coast of Bissau are hubs for major drug trafficking from Latin America, and the associated problems of arms trafficking and illegal immigration. Corruption, specifically the complicity of government officials at all levels in this criminal activity, inhibits both a complete assessment and resolution of the problem. The degeneration of Guinea- Bissau into a narco-state is a real possibility, although the international community has made efforts to avoid such a troubling development.
Guinea-Bissau has a population of 1.82 million persons. The country is one of the poorest in the world, placing 164 out of 169 countries on the United Nation’s 2010 Human Development Index. Security forces lack the most basic resources, and civil servants are often not paid for months at a time. Until September 2010, the country possessed no adequate criminal detention facilities. Guinea-Bissau’s history since independence from Portugal in 1974 has been characterized by political instability, civil war, and continuous unrest. The U.S. Embassy in Bissau closed in June 1998 due to civil unrest; but relations and cooperation between the Government of Guinea Bissau (GOGB) and the United States, conducted from the U.S. Embassy in Dakar Senegal, have continued.
President Malam Bacai Sanha was elected in July 2009 following the assassination of President Joao Bernardo Vieira by the military. International observers declared the 2009 elections to be free and fair. On April 1, 2010 ex-Navy Chief of Staff Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto and soldiers loyal to Deputy Defense Chief of Staff Antonio Indjai detained Defense Chief of Staff Jose Zamora Induta and Prime Minister Carlos Gomes. Gomes was released several days later, but Induta remained in military detention without being formally charged until his release on December 23. Na Tchuto was listed as a drug kingpin in April 2010 by the U.S. Department of Treasury due to his significant involvement in international narcotics trafficking. In June 2010, Indjai was appointed to the position of Defense Chief of Staff. In October 2010, Na Tchuto was re-appointed as Chief of Staff of the Bissau-Guinean Navy. Guinea-Bissau is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Developments
During the year, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), working with partners such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN Integrated Peace-building Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), assisted Guinea- Bissau in updating the process for mutual legal assistance requests, provided training to justice sector professionals on transnational criminal issues, and worked on efforts to introduce a witness protection program.
A national security strategy which provides the country with an initial framework for security sector reform (SSR) was drafted in 2006. This reform received the support of the EU, with the help of bilateral governments and the UNIOGBIS. The aim was to restructure and rebuild the military, armed forces, police and judiciary - each of which are in varying states of disorganization and dysfunction. However, following the events of April 1, 2010, the EU decided to suspend its security sector reform mission, putting the future of SSR in Guinea-Bissau into question. The United States made a similar decision to suspend support for SSR and military engagement in light of the continued illegal detention of Admiral Induta at the time of the decision, the appointment of Indjai as defense chief, and the re-appointment of Na Tchuto as naval chief.
In September 2010, the Ministry of Justice, with the assistance of UNODC, opened Guinea-Bissau’s first-ever secure prison facilities in the towns of Bafata and Mansoa.
The extent of cannabis cultivation in the country is unknown, though there is evidence that at least some cannabis is cultivated illicitly for local consumption. On the border of Guinea-Bissau, cannabis cultivation is quite common in Senegal’s southern Casamance region and is linked to a 28-year-old separatist movement, called the Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC). As elements of the MFDC frequently find sanctuary on the Guinea- Bissau side of the border with Senegal, it can be assumed that cannabis is cultivated to some degree in Guinea-Bissau. There are no known efforts to determine the scope of the cultivation or eradicate it. The only illicit cultivation discovered by the Guinea-Bissau Judicial Police in 2009 was of a minor cannabis growing operation in Bafatá in the east and another in the Reno Gambeafada in the center of the country. No illicit cultivation was discovered in 2010.
In July, 2008, GOGB law enforcement authorities attempted to investigate a grounded Gulfstream 2 jet, which had taken off from Venezuela and was believed to have been transporting a significant quantity of cocaine. The plane’s cargo, however, was unloaded by Guinea-Bissau military personnel before they allowed judicial police officers to investigate the scene. Eventually, the pilots were arrested, set free on bail, and then subsequently fled. The GOGB is now trying to auction off the plane, which it seized during this incident. No drugs were officially seized during the incident. In general, GOGB drug enforcement efforts remain under-funded and undermanned, allowing international trafficking and the illegal cannabis trade to continue unabated. UNODC views Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde—a former Portuguese colony off the coast of Senegal—as part of a Lusophone Atlantic network with criminal links to Brazil and Portugal.
Guinea-Bissau is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the UN Convention against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on Trafficking in Persons, and has signed, but not yet ratified, the protocol on Migrant Smuggling.
2. Supply Reduction
In October 2010, José Américo Bubo Na Tchuto, long suspected of being a major facilitator of narcotics trafficking in Guinea-Bissau and listed by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a drug kingpin, was re-appointed Chief of Staff of the Bissau-Guinean Navy. In 2010, according to the Judicial Police, three Nigerians were arrested at the Bissau airport on narcotics-related charges. In addition, six Nigerian drug “mules” or low-level drug couriers on a flight originating in Bissau were arrested in Portugal after the Judicial Police passed the individuals’ information to their Portuguese counterparts. No narcotics-related arrests were reported in 2009, in great part due to the major upheavals that the country experienced following the assassinations of former President Vieira and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Tagme na Waie in 2009. According to the Judicial Police, drug cartels required time after the assassinations to locate “barons” or senior government officials that will offer them the protection they need in order to be able to reactivate their networks.
In 2010, the Director General of the Judicial Police was sent to Ghana for ECOWAS-led training. In 2009, four judicial police officers were sent to take three courses in Cape Verde. Given limitations on funding, training, and policy, there is only limited current ability to guard against the transit of drugs through Guinea-Bissau. Due to weak law enforcement efforts and inadequate record keeping, it is difficult even to assess accurately the scope of the drug problem. Police lack the training and equipment to detect drug smuggling. Until September 2010, there were no adequate detention facilities to hold arrested suspects. There are not even any secured vehicles with which to transport suspects.
Cocaine transits through Guinea-Bissau moving from South America on either air or maritime traffic and continues on to Europe by means of other maritime traffic, drug “mules” on commercial air flights, or even traditional caravan routes through Northern Africa and then across the Mediterranean to Southern Europe. The U.S. is not believed to be a significant destination point for drugs transiting Guinea-Bissau.
3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
According to the UN and the former Chief of the Armed Forces Induta, drug abuse is a growing problem in Guinea-Bissau, as traffickers occasionally pay their local accomplices in kind with drugs. There are no GOGB efforts targeted specifically to reduce local drug consumption. There are also no GOGB drug treatment programs, although private organizations have established drug rehabilitation centers.
Corruption is a problem for narcotics law enforcement all over Africa, and Guinea-Bissau is particularly susceptible. Anecdotal reports of corruption at the highest levels of government are common. Observers note the apparent complicity of military personnel in the July 2008 plane incident, and the judge’s release of the suspects on bail, despite the existence of an international warrant for their detention and the obvious flight risk. As of December 31, 2010, the government had no arrears in paying civil servant salaries, but salaries remain low causing a constant temptation to law enforcement personnel and others in a position to influence the outcome of narcotics-related law enforcement and judicial processes.
In October 2010, Admiral José Américo Bubo Na Tchuto was re-appointed as Chief of Staff of the Bissau-Guinean Navy. Na Tchuto and Air Force Chief of Staff Ibraima Papa Camara were listed as drug kingpins in April 2010 by the U.S. Department of Treasury due to their significant involvement in international narcotics trafficking.
In October 2010, former GOGB Treasury Secretary Maria Paula Costa was found guilty on charges of fraud and negligence by a Bissau court and given a fine and three years in prison. The charges stemmed from 2006, when forged signatures were used to steal 75 million FCFA from the Bissau-Guinean public treasury.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
The U.S. Embassy in Bissau suspended operations in June 1998. The U.S. Ambassador to Senegal is accredited to Guinea-Bissau and one U.S. officer assigned to the Embassy in Dakar monitors events. The U.S. Embassy liaison office opened in Bissau in 2008 and is staffed by three Local Employed Staff. Representatives from INL, DEA, AFRICOM and the FBI made frequent visits to Bissau in 2010 to provide technical assistance and to conduct needs assessments. During 2009, DEA and FBI representatives visited Bissau to assist in the investigation surrounding the July seizure of the plane from Venezuela.
Due to lack of law enforcement capabilities, its susceptibility to corruption, its porous borders, and an opportune location, Guinea-Bissau remains a significant hub of narcotics trafficking on the verge of developing into a narco-state. While many officials within the Bissau- Guinean government recognize the extent of the drug problem and express a willingness to address it, a crippling lack of resources and capacity to address the problem remain a hindrance to real progress in combating drug trafficking. The re-appointment of drug kingpin Na Tchuto as Naval Chief of Staff is likely to further entrench drug cartels into the conducive operating conditions prevailing in Guinea-Bissau.
The USG will continue to work closely with the government of Guinea-Bissau to improve the capacity of its narcotics law enforcement officers to investigate and prosecute narcotics crimes. In recognition of the importance of strengthening broader institutional capacity, the USG will support efforts to reform the judiciary, and will seek to strengthen the legislative and oversight capacity of the National Assembly. Furthermore, given the broad role that socio-economic factors play in narcotics trafficking, the USG will seek to promote economic development and political stability.
Guyana is a transshipment point for cocaine from Colombia and Venezuela destined for North America, Europe, and the Caribbean. Generally, small aircraft transporting cocaine land at remote airstrips in Guyana’s unpopulated interior highlands or coastal savanna regions to refuel and continue on to offshore destinations. Due to weak land and maritime border controls and the vast unpatrolled interior, drug traffickers are able to conduct operations without significant interference from law enforcement agencies. The ability to detect drug shipments has received some recent investment, but a lack of focused interdiction operations and the capacity to monitor and control its expansive borders hinder enforcement of anti-trafficking laws.
Guyana has a drug enforcement presence at the major international airport, post offices, and to a lesser extent at the port of Georgetown. The majority of drug enforcement assets are centered in the capital, although progress has been made in building capacity in the interior. The three major agencies involved in anti-drug efforts are the Guyana Police Force (GPF), the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), and the Guyana Defense Force (GDF). Of the three, CANU has the most institutional knowledge and drug enforcement experience.
Cannabis is grown in Guyana, and high-potency cannabis is smuggled in from Jamaica. This is mostly for domestic consumption, and is not trafficked in significant quantities. The most commonly used drug in Guyana is marijuana, followed closely by cocaine. Ecstasy is becoming more prominent, although its use is still low. Drug treatment activities are hindered by low funding and a lack of public awareness. Guyana is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional Development
Overall, Guyana’s counternarcotics 2010 activities were challenged by the consistently marginal commitment and capacity at all levels of government, despite some achievements late in the year. Movements to modernize a colonial-era legal system based on English common law often stall or lack priority. Signed into law in 2008, the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act (AMLCFTA), the Interception of Communications Bill, and the Criminal Procedure Bill were designed to enhance both the investigative capability of law enforcement authorities and prosecutors’ ability to obtain convictions in drug related cases. To the government’s credit, the AMLCFTA was used in 2010 in court proceedings, when Guyanese authorities obtained a conviction of a Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) employee in its first case under the Act. The case was prosecuted with significant cooperation provided by the United Kingdom (UK). Guyanese authorities have not yet handled a money laundering case from start to finish on their own, however.
Although, law enforcement agencies lack adequate government support and face perpetual personnel, training and budgetary challenges that undermine effective or sustained counternarcotics operations, there were some notable actions taken this year. For example, in March 2010, GPF units destroyed 10 marijuana fields with support from a GDF helicopter along the Berbice River. The GPF burnt 28,000 plants weighing approximately 22 metric tons, as well as, 45,000 two-inch plants that were found in 15 nurseries. This seizure was the largest of three separate raids over a two week period that also netted additional marijuana, drug equipment and arrests. Guyana’s 2005-2009 National Drug Strategy Master Plan (NDSMP) expired last year and it achieved few of its original goals. However, using the NDSMP as a guide, CANU’s drug enforcement operations at the international airport were reinforced while it also continued to modestly expand capability as an intelligence gathering and analysis organization. As CANU officials continued to make plans to conduct counter-drug operations in the interior region, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) assumed responsibilities from CANU for drug interdiction at the Port of Georgetown in March of 2010. GRA has no dedicated drug enforcement unit and did not receive funding specifically to support its new role in drug enforcement. A new shipping container scanner was received in June and is expected to be operational in 2011. While the main purpose of the scanner will be to counter smuggling activities related to duties and tariffs, it may have the secondary effect of deterring drug smuggling. Guyana also worked more closely with Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados, on an operational level in 2010, utilizing personal relationships and existing CARICOM treaties to create information exchanges on narcotics trafficking.
Guyana is party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters; the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances; and the 1988 UN Drug Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Guyana also 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 1931 Extradition Treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom is applicable to the U.S. and Guyana. In 2008, Guyana acceded to, and has filed information requests under, the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, to which the United States is also a party. Guyana has bilateral agreements to cooperate on drug trafficking issues with its neighbors and with the United Kingdom. Guyana is also a member of the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD).
2. Supply Reduction
The uncontrolled borders and coastal areas of Guyana allow for unfettered drug transit. Light aircraft land at numerous isolated airstrips or make airdrops where operatives on the ground retrieve the drugs. Smugglers use small boats and freighters to enter Guyana’s many remote but navigable rivers. Smugglers also take direct routes, such as driving or boating across the borders with Brazil, Suriname, and Venezuela. Once inside the country, narcotics are transported to Georgetown by road, water, or air and then sent on to the Caribbean, North America, or Europe, via commercial air carriers or cargo ships. While there are no reliable estimates regarding the amount of cocaine or cannabis that transits through Guyana, USG law enforcement authorities say that Guyanese narcotics traffickers regularly move shipments of cocaine and marijuana through the country.
In 2010, modest efforts to reduce supply by Guyanese law enforcement agencies yielded 105 kilograms of cocaine, according to the Guyana Police and government media reports. U.S. law enforcement officials were involved in the seizure of 73 kilograms of the 105 kilograms of cocaine seized in 2010. This compares to seizures of 137 kilograms of cocaine in 2009 and 48 kilograms in 2008. Authorities seized and eradicated an undetermined amount of marijuana in 2010 though modest estimates of seized packages and plants indicate it was over 25 metric tons. This is a sharp increase over the 183 kilograms reported seized in 2009. The amount of heroin seized in 2010 was approximately 1.2 kilograms; two kilograms of heroin were seized in 2009. These figures, however, likely represent only a fraction of the drugs trafficked through Guyana. The number of criminal charges filed against individuals for activities related to the trafficking or distribution of illicit drugs for 2010 was 683; there were 648 such charges in 2009 and 473 in 2008.
Currently, there are no routine patrols of the numerous land entry points on the 1,800 miles of border with Venezuela, Brazil, and Suriname. While operating at the international airport, the GPF Narcotics Branch and CANU have engaged in the occasional arrest of low level drug couriers, who carry only small amounts of crack or powder cocaine, and marijuana. Much larger quantities seized in North American airports of cocaine coming from Guyana demonstrate lack of detection capability.
Drug interdiction efforts have yet to take place at the port of Georgetown since responsibility for counternarcotics at the port was transferred to the GRA. Though the GRA routinely searches outbound containers for smuggled goods, no searches are conducted specifically for drug interdiction, and no seizures were made at the port in 2010. On average, 500 containers each month are shipped from the port, with approximately half destined for the United States. GRA officials are required to be present during the packing of containers for export; otherwise the containers are subjected to physical search at the port. Until the container x-ray scanner is operational, GRA is not capable of conducting 100 percent inspections of outbound containers, despite the small number of shipments. GRA customs inspectors have not received any training on how to conduct counternarcotics searches.
In general, the Guyana Defense Force (GDF), with approximately 2,500 members, supports law enforcement agencies and their operations with boats, aircraft and personnel, but does not have law enforcement authority. The Guyana Coast Guard (GCG), a GDF sub-component and key partner in maritime interdiction, has approximately 250 members and its primary missions are patrolling the territorial waters of Guyana and humanitarian search and rescue. Unfortunately, its lone offshore patrol boat was in dry dock undergoing repairs for the majority of the year, and therefore was unable to carry out offshore drug patrols or interdictions. However, smaller patrol vessels do conduct patrols along the coast and inland waterways.
3. Drug Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
Guyana’s ability to deal with drug abusers is impeded by the modest financial resources available to support rehabilitation programs. Guyana only has two residential facilities that treat substance abuse: the Salvation Army and the Phoenix Recovery Center. Both are partially funded by the government, but they have budgetary constraints and often rely on donations from addict’s families to stay open. Since 2007, the Ministry of Health has run several modest demand reduction programs in the media, schools, and prisons, as well as outpatient talk-therapy treatment. Awareness efforts are inconsistent and lack material results, due to budgetary shortfalls. There is little by way of Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) support in demand reduction.
Marijuana continues to be the most common drug used by Guyanese. Marijuana is sold and consumed openly in Guyana, despite frequent arrests for possession of small amounts of cannabis. Evidence points to high quality marijuana originating in Jamaica ending up in Guyana. Crack cocaine is becoming more popular, and is quite affordable, costing as little as fifty cents per dose. The prevalence of ecstasy has increased greatly in the past year, although it remains a minor drug. There is also a significant link between the drug problem in Guyana and HIV, with a significant number of addicts testing positive for the disease. The number of addicts has remained steady, but there has been a trend of younger people becoming addicted to drugs.
As a matter of policy, the Government of Guyana does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. News media, however, routinely report on alleged instances of corruption; some reports implicated police personally retaining drugs from seizures while others point to high government officials that are not investigated and thus go unpunished. As mentioned earlier, a GRA employee was convicted in 2010 for crimes under the AMLCFTA in a drug trafficking case. The case was prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), and it saw international cooperation from police officers from Scotland Yard, who were among the nine witnesses that testified at the trial. This case was part of a larger investigation that began in 2006 in the UK and included other countries where the ‘Bling Bling’ gang appeared to operate. Several persons connected to this investigation, many of them Guyanese, were convicted in the UK in 2006.
Guyana is party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (IACAC), but has yet to fully implement its provisions, such as seizure of property obtained through corruption. Guyana is also party to the UN Convention Against Corruption.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
U.S. policy focuses on cooperating with Guyana’s law enforcement agencies, promoting good governance, and facilitating demand reduction programs. The USG continues to encourage Guyanese participation in bilateral and multilateral counternarcotics initiatives, including the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. The government of Guyana has a maritime counter-drug bilateral agreement with the USG.
In 2010, the USCG provided the GDF Coast Guard with training in maritime law enforcement and small boat maintenance, improving their maritime security capabilities. In addition, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, office continued to collaborate with Guyana’s law enforcement agencies in counternarcotics-related activities, and reported a generally favorable and improving working relationship.
The U.S. encourages the Government of Guyana to effectively implement recent legislation and regulations supporting counternarcotics efforts. We look forward to collaborating with Guyanese law enforcement to test the amended extradition law and emphasize the need for vigorous enforcement of laws against money laundering and financial crimes. Meanwhile, recently acquired equipment such as the maritime patrol craft and container scanner by the GRA should be optimized for long term use through development of training, evaluation and maintenance requirements. In addition, the execution of joint operations through task forces to accomplish complex raids and seize record amounts of marijuana signal a stronger commitment to the counternarcotics mission and the rule of law.
Haiti is a major drug transit country for South American cocaine destined for the United States, the Bahamas, and other countries. Flights from South America making airdrops offshore and at clandestine airstrips throughout Haiti remain a primary narcotics shipment threat. Although marijuana grows in certain parts of the country, Haiti is not a major drug producing country nor is there widespread illegal drug use.
Haiti faces challenges in combating the drug trafficking threat. Security and judicial institutions, including the 15-year old national police force, still in the early stages of professional development, were faced with additional setbacks following the January 12, 2010 earthquake. The widespread devastation to Haitian government infrastructure further impacted the Government of Haiti’s (GOH) ability to combat drug trafficking.
Despite these challenges, there was evidence in 2010 of increasing GOH institutional capacity and improving political will to combat the illegal drug trade and address corruption. The presidentially-appointed permanent Commission Against Drug Abuse and Money Laundering (CONALD) continued to oversee the counternarcotics work of Haitian agencies across the Finance, Interior, and Justice ministries and across various Haitian National Police (HNP) directorates. The Justice Minister, who has frequently decried the apparent impunity enjoyed by drug traffickers who are able to bribe police, judges and court officials, held regular meetings with CONALD in order to focus attention on drug trafficking, money laundering and corruption, and to hold agencies accountable for results.
Haiti is a party to the 1988 UN drug convention.
B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends
1. Institutional development
The HNP is the only Haitian government institution charged with investigating individuals or organized networks that engage in narcotics trafficking or benefit from the illicit trade, and arresting suspects. The key offices within the HNP are the 44-person counternarcotics unit, the Bureau de Lutte de Trafique en Stupéfiants (BLTS), the 18-person financial crimes investigative unit, the Bureau des Affaires Financieres et Economiques (BAFE), and the 99-person maritime police unit, the Gardes Cote.
The HNP were able to start the 22nd Promotion in September 2010 with the assistance of the U.S. and the international community. Graduation of the 900-person class in April 2011 will increase HNP ranks by ten percent, add 100 officers to the BLTS and double the size of the Gardes Cote. Even with these long-anticipated increases, HNP units are relatively small, poorly funded and badly equipped. Moreover, the highly centralized HNP structure has been slow to devolve the decision-making authority and the resources to permit units to conduct operations without substantial external support and ongoing technical assistance.
Haiti is a party to the 1961 Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and the Inter-American Convention against Trafficking in Illegal Arms. Haiti remains the only member of the Organization of American States (OAS) not a party to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. On September 14, 2009 Haiti ratified the UN Convention against Corruption, and has signed, but not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling. A U.S.-Haiti bilateral letter of agreement signed in October 1997 concerning Cooperation to Suppress Illicit Maritime Drug Traffic allows U.S. law enforcement agencies to enter Haitian territorial waters and airspace when in pursuit of suspect vessels or aircraft, to board and search suspect vessels, and to carry members of the Haitian Garde-Cotes as ship riders. Although there is no Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between Haiti and the United States, the Haitian government has cooperated on many cases within the limits of Haitian law. The bilateral extradition treaty entered into force in 1905 and, although the Haitian Constitution prohibits extradition of Haitian nationals, the GOH has willingly surrendered Haitian nationals under indictment in the United States to U.S. law enforcement agencies. During 2010, there were no extraditions.
2. Supply Reduction
In 2010, there were a total of nine suspect drug flights into Haiti, as compared to 17 recorded in 2009. Go-fast boats also transport cocaine to locations on Haiti’s southern coast for shipment to the United States or to the Bahamas and other Caribbean markets. Cocaine may also be entering via containers and across Haiti’s land border with the Dominican Republic.
The HNP continued to make progress on the counternarcotics front in 2010, conducting investigations, arresting suspects, and seizing drugs and trafficking-related assets. In 2010, the BAFE seized 19 real estate properties valued at over $10 million. These properties were seized from traffickers convicted in the United States on criminal charges related to drug trafficking or corruption. Some of the properties will be renovated for use as office space for the BLTS, the BAFE, and other GOH financial investigation units. Haitian airport authorities seized $15,262 in cash at the Port-au-Prince Airport this year. Cocaine seizures in 2010 slightly outpaced 2009’s six HNP cocaine seizures, which totaled 19.54 kilograms (kg). In late November, the BLTS seized two kg of cocaine from the suitcase of a traveler attempting to board a Port-au-Prince to New York flight, and arrested her and the companion who had taken her to the airport.
In September 2010, officers from the HNP station in the notoriously gang-infested Cite Soleil neighborhood seized a suitcase containing 19.8 kg of cocaine. It is the first such seizure ever recorded by officers from the Cite Soleil neighborhood and was the largest Haitian cocaine seizure of 2010.
The HNP seized 262 kg of bulk marijuana in 2010, and eradicated some 27,000 marijuana plants in the Artibonite region, respectively, both down from 2009 seizures of 704.95 kg of bulk marijuana and eradication of 12,000 marijuana plants.
3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment
There are no Haitian Government-sponsored drug demand reduction and treatment programs, nor are we aware of non-government organizations (NGO) providing such services. The extreme poverty of the population – the country is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere – leaves little discretionary income, and the daily preoccupation with finding adequate food, water, and shelter for survival thus far has mitigated against a widespread drug abuse problem.
As a matter of policy, the GOH does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. A close associate of President Préval appointed to head the Haitian Justice Ministry in November 2009, Paul Denis, has been a forceful anti-corruption advocate. He made combating corruption one of his top three priorities; the two other priorities being pre-trial detention and improving the functioning of the courts. He has often spoken out publically against corruption and in favor of improving the functionality of the justice sector.
The Justice Minister’s articulate observations about corruption problems have not, however, translated into substantive operational or structural changes. Moreover, the United States government (USG) continues to receive reports of actively serving HNP officers providing security for drug traffickers using clandestine landing strips or for transporting cocaine from one location to another. This pervasive corruption is a serious impediment to conducting effective counternarcotics operations in Haiti.
The HNP themselves arrested police officers reportedly involved in drug trafficking and kidnapping gangs. In a highly publicized case reported in September 2010, the Director of the Central Judicial Police, which oversees all HNP investigative units, announced the arrest of seven officers – most of them traffic police from the Brigade d’Intervention Motorisée (BIM) – accused of aiding drug traffickers and kidnappers. Haitian officials characterized the arrests as part of a general housecleaning within the police force.
C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives
President Préval continued to urge decisive action against drug trafficking and money laundering in Haiti. He has reiterated calls for an augmentation of the U.S. counternarcotics presence in Haiti, and encouraged the DEA and other USG agencies to work even more closely with Haitian authorities to arrest and extradite drug trafficking suspects.
This year, the HNP arrested 18 defendants in cases investigated jointly by the DEA and the BLTS. Three of those defendants were transferred to DEA custody and subsequently removed to the United States for prosecution. The GOH also authorized a DEA undercover investigation that resulted in the acquisition of 16 kg of cocaine and a controlled delivery to U.S. targets. One defendant was arrested in the United States and a second was arrested in Haiti by the BLTS and turned over to DEA for removal to the United States for prosecution. DEA also seized $40,000 in cash from the targets during the course of the investigation.
The USG maintains a priority focus on building the capacity of Haitian institutions to provide policing and security for Haitian citizens and to address drug trafficking and money laundering threats. In response to Haiti’s vast rebuilding needs, the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) expanded its Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) to include a counternarcotics advisor, corrections advisor, police advisor and a management officer. INL also received FY 2010 supplemental funding of nearly $148 million that will be used to support GOH efforts to rebuild its security and criminal justice sectors, as well as enhance the ability of the GOH to prevent political instability in Haiti. The supplemental funds will support judicial sector projects, including repair or reconstruction of select damaged facilities; renovation or rebuilding of damaged prison facilities. The funds will also support an increase in the U.S. contribution of police and correctional advisors to MINUSTAH; an increase in the number of Haitian National Police (HNP); reconstruction of damaged portions of the HNP police training facility; provide assistance for training new police recruits; and provide technical assistance and training and logistics support for counternarcotics efforts, among other things.
In 2010, NAS Port-au-Prince, working with NAS Bogota, funded a month-long training course featuring both counternarcotics and anti-kidnapping elements in the curriculum. The course, held in Colombia at the Junglas Training Center trained 24 HNP officers from the BLTS and the anti-kidnapping unit.
NAS worked with DEA to support BLTS operations with per diem, travel costs, rent for the BLTS Special Investigations Unit and equipment. NAS also supported the relocation of the unit following the earthquake to a more secure, upgraded compound which will have all necessary equipment for the BLTS agents to perform their duties without compromising their investigative and police activities.
The Embassy’s Military Liaison Office (MLO) is drawing on Department of Defense Foreign Military Funding for an equipment and training package to support three new vessels purchased for the Haitian Gardes Cote unit by the Government of Canada. That project also will outfit the Canadian built Coast Guard base in Les Cayes to provide a badly-needed operating base for the Haitian Coast Guard on the south coast. NAS provided on-going support to feed the small Gardes Cote unit located on the North Coast at Cap Haitien, and also funded fuel deliveries to run equipment and generators at the central Gardes Cote base at Killick. The Military Liaison Office and NAS are elaborating a strategic plan to rebuild the Killick base, including infrastructure, communications equipment linked to the HNP upgrade package, and training programs to build Gardes Cote capacity.
In 2010, the Haiti Stabilization Initiative (HSI) began its second phase to implement security assistance program in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Martissant. The program, which will run through 2011, adds to the completed efforts in Cite Soleil and targets an area known for the presence of criminal gangs reportedly linked to kidnapping and drug trafficking groups. This phase of the HSI will refurbish or build four police commissariats or sub-commissariats in Martissant and provide non-lethal protective equipment, communications gear, training and mentoring in community-oriented policing for existing police officers and those to be assigned to the impact area. This project not only rebuilds quake-damaged police stations in order to permit a return to normal police operations, it also facilitates an effective police presence in one of the capital city’s most marginalized and destabilizing neighborhoods.
In 2010, NAS developed plans to continue training and mentoring projects for the Haitian National Police including the BLTS counternarcotics unit in 2011 and is working with DEA and the BLTS to design and establish a computerized database of narcotics traffickers and trafficking networks for Haiti, which will enable the BLTS and the HNP in general to share pertinent information with DEA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and with their Caribbean and Latin-American counterparts.
Infrastructure and resources, including personnel resources, are the top priorities articulated by the Haitian National Police Director General. To those ends, the United States and international donors are focused on assistance aimed at rebuilding the infrastructure damaged in the January earthquake and helping improve the operational capacity of the HNP as a whole, to include the counternarcotics and financial units. Leadership within the HNP has shown a willingness to tackle the counternarcotics issues in Haiti with a promise to increase the number of officers dedicated to the units with responsibility in these areas, a willingness to participate in specialized training efforts, and a desire to see these units better equipped. The Untied States will continue to support these efforts, working towards the goal of a self-sustaining, fully operational unit capable of fighting counternarcotics on land and water. However, it will be critical for Haiti’s leadership to demonstrate the political will to address corruption and other serious issues, as well as provide sufficient resources for the HNP.
In 2011, it will be important to have a peaceful transfer of power as a new President is elected and begin to focus on the way forward in Haiti. While the United States and international community can train and equip officers, the GOH still has to ensure laws are updated to accommodate the growing criminal demands on the country. The HNP needs to be better equipped to arrest offenders, investigate criminal activity, prosecute offenders, and incarcerate guilty parties. This will not be possible without an updated criminal code and criminal procedural code.