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

Honduras

A. Introduction

Honduras is a major transit country for cocaine, as well as some chemical precursors, and synthetic drugs. The United States estimated that more than 80 percent of the primary flow of the cocaine trafficked to the United States first transited through the Central American corridor in 2012. The United States also estimated that as much as 87 percent of all cocaine smuggling flights departing South America first land in Honduras. The Northern Atlantic coastal region of Honduras is a primary landing zone for drug-carrying flights. The region is vulnerable to narcotics trafficking due to its remoteness, limited infrastructure, lack of government presence, and weak law enforcement institutions. Transshipment from the North Atlantic coastal region is facilitated by subsequent flights north as well as maritime traffic and land movement on the Pan American Highway.

In addition to violent drug trafficking organizations, gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 18th Street contributed to violence and trafficking in Honduras. They did not appear to be a formal part of the transnational drug logistics chain, but generally participated in drug distribution in local communities. In addition, these gangs conducted other illicit activities such as extortion, kidnapping, and human trafficking. In October, the U.S. Treasury Department designated MS-13 as a transnational criminal organization.

Honduras suffered from violence and a high homicide rate in 2012. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) ranked Honduras as the country with the highest murder rate in the world, with an official murder rate of 82 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011.

In 2012, Honduran institutions worked to thwart violence and narcotics trafficking. Though institutional weaknesses and lack of resources limited the impact of interdiction operations, Honduras seized 22 metric tons (MT) of cocaine and $21 million in drug-related cash and assets with U.S. assistance. Although the government did not dismantle any large drug networks in 2012, authorities arrested 77 people in connection with drug related activities.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

In 2012, the United States and Honduras took several important steps to reduce violence and drug trafficking while building Honduran institutions.

The United States supported the Public Security Reform Commission, which is charged with reforming key laws, police, and justice sector institutions. The United States also assisted the Security Tax Trust, which distributes funds collected by the country’s national security tax to priority citizen security initiatives.

To strengthen investigative institutions, the United States trained 816 Honduran police, prosecutors, and judges on topics including oral advocacy, financial investigation techniques, and crime scene protection. The United States also provided support to the National Police Investigative School, which graduated over 455 students from its Basic Criminal Investigation course.

Honduras implemented measures to improve its financial institutions. Through the Honduran Office for the Management of Seized and Forfeited Assets (OABI), funds are approved for distribution to units involved in the fight against organized crime and the money sent to Honduran agencies is invested to combat against organized crime.

Honduras has counternarcotics agreements with the United States, Belize, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela, and Spain. A United States-Honduras maritime counternarcotics agreement and a bilateral extradition treaty remain in force, and in 2012 the Honduran Congress amended the Constitution to allow extradition of Honduran nationals for narcotics trafficking, organized crime and terrorism offenses. Honduras signed the Caribbean Regional Maritime Counter Drug Agreement, but did not ratify it. A Declaration of Principles between the United States and Honduras for the Container Security Initiative covers the inspection of maritime cargo destined for the United States.

2. Supply Reduction

The Government of Honduras actively engaged in narcotics interdiction operations in 2012 and worked to strengthen institutions responsible for preparing criminal cases, bringing them before a judge, and remanding convicted criminals to prison facilities. The Honduran Navy attended the U.S.-sponsored Multilateral Maritime Counterdrug Summit in March 2012, joining participants from 12 Central and South American Countries to consider improved strategies and cooperation against drug trafficking organizations.

From mid-April until early July, Honduras and the United States conducted Operation Anvil, a joint aerial interdiction operation. Prior to Operation Anvil, drug trafficking organizations operated in northern Honduras largely uncontested. Over the course of Operation Anvil, officials seized approximately 2.25 MT of cocaine, valued at between $45 and $63 million, and disrupted traffickers’ free access to Honduran territory. The Government of Honduras arrested seven drug traffickers.

Honduras also improved its border and land interdiction capabilities. For example, on June 23, the Honduran National Police (HNP) executed search warrants on 10 vehicles located within a warehouse in San Pedro Sula. The police seized $450,000 and 32 kilograms (kg) of cocaine hidden in false compartments. On September 12, the Honduran Frontier Police searched a tractor-trailer near Las Manos border with Nicaragua and seized $349,960 in bulk cash.

Although Honduras is not a major production center for drugs, on August 28, Honduran law enforcement officials discovered a cocaine-processing lab located in a ranch in the Department of Atlantida. Honduran officials seized the ranch, 20 kg of cocaine, cocaine paste and other chemicals used for processing of cocaine. This was the second lab discovered in Central America since March 2011. Honduras also has modest marijuana production for domestic consumption. In November, the Honduran authorities dismantled a criminal network possibly involved in manufacturing synthetic drugs. Press reports indicate that this network was linked to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. As part of this operation, Honduran authorities seized millions of dollars in assets along, with over 12 tons of precursor chemicals used to produce methamphetamine.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

According to a 2011 United Nations Development Program survey, 66 percent of Hondurans identified drug consumption as the primary security problem at the neighborhood level. Alcohol and inhalants remained the most common abused substances, followed by marijuana and cocaine. According to the government-affiliated Honduran Institute for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction and Dependency, drug use is on the rise. A growing percentage of Hondurans between the ages of 15 and 19 have tried illegal drugs, especially cocaine. UNODC reported that 0.9 percent of the Honduran population aged 15-64 have used cocaine.

To increase drug education, 2,500 students participated in the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program, a school-based curricula used widely in the United States. The United States also provided training to 121 Honduran National Police in several specialized courses, including Community Policing Basic Principles; Advanced Community Policing; Intelligence-Led Policing; and Gang Resistance and Education and Anti-Extortion.

4. Corruption

The Government of Honduras 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. However, Honduras continued to struggle with public sector corruption in 2012.

To address the need for immediate results while minimizing corruption, Honduras increased the capacity of their special vetted units and task forces. In general, these units are composed of polygraphed and/or background checked Honduran police and prosecutors. These units normally receive U.S.-supported training and have U.S. or international advisors assigned to the unit. The units typically have a small number of Honduran officers and focus on major crimes. Various U.S. law enforcement agencies provide close support to Honduran police units focusing on counternarcotics, tactical response, customs and borders, and anti-gang enforcement.

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

In 2012, the United States continued to assist Honduras in improving the capacity of its law enforcement and justice sector institutions necessary for improving counternarcotics cooperation and safeguarding citizen security, including through the Central America Regional Security Initiative. The United States focuses its efforts on building partnerships between governments, civil society, the private sector, and the international community.

The United States and Honduras signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on September 13, 2012, to focus joint efforts on citizen security. The MOU identifies five priority lines of action: prevention and interdiction of narcotics entering Honduras; building investigative and prosecutorial capacity; implementing crime prevention programs and restorative justice; improving personnel integrity and internal affairs; and combating financial crimes. The MOU calls for cooperative efforts to implement a joint operational plan to assist Honduras with improving citizen security while respecting the rule of law and human rights.

The United States seeks to counter gangs and drug traffickers through a mix of policy initiatives. In addition to our law enforcement and justice sector efforts, we support municipal crime prevention efforts and community services for youth at risk. For example, U.S. assistance supports 29 outreach centers that provide a safe place to learn, study, and participate in recreational activities for at-risk youth. More than 500 local volunteers mentor 11,000 youth and children at these centers. The United States also supports Municipal Committees for Education in at least 120 high-risk municipalities to strengthen the communities’ capacity to influence education quality. The U.S. government supports the Security Ministry’s Safer Municipalities Initiative and supports four Violence Observatories in high-crime areas to improve efficiency in crime reporting.

D. Conclusion

Honduras remains exposed to the threat of well-armed, well-funded transnational criminal organizations. Honduras made tough decisions to enhance the security of its citizenry, including standing up the Department of Investigation and Evaluation of Career Police, establishing a Reform Commission to provide the government with recommendations on improving police and the justice sector, and updating Honduras’ extradition legislation. The United States encourages Honduras to continue institutional reform and investment in building effective security and justice institutions.

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is neither a major narcotics production center nor a significant illicit drug transshipment point. However, Hong Kong remains an attractive irregular transit point for drugs and for coordinating drug trafficking elsewhere due to its status as a highly efficient financial and transportation hub. The Hong Kong government remains a committed counter-narcotics partner, as evidenced by statements by senior officials, strict legislation, vigorous law enforcement efforts, and a robust prevention and treatment program.

Effective law enforcement capacity and the existence of alternative, and less scrutinized, air and sea ports in the region limits Hong Kong’s attractiveness as a major transshipment point. However, in July 2012, Hong Kong authorities seized a record 649 kilogram cocaine load from a shipping container originating from Ecuador. Additionally in 2012, authorities arrested numerous drug couriers originating from South America. While these successes demonstrate Hong Kong’s enforcement capacity, they also point to a rising demand for drugs, particularly cocaine, in Hong Kong and the region.

The Narcotics Bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force and the Drug Investigation Bureau of the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department are the principal law enforcement agencies charged with suppressing drug trafficking and regulating trade in precursor chemicals. These agencies collaborate closely with U.S. law enforcement personnel. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration specifically works closely with these agencies to combat emerging cocaine networks with links to South America, money laundering activity tied to drug trafficking, and diversion of precursor chemicals worldwide.

In 2012, the Hong Kong government launched the Sixth Three-year Plan on Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Services for the period 2012-2014. It also continued its support for the “Beat Drugs Fund,” a government initiative established in 1996 with a $4.5 million capital base raised to $390 million in 2010 to fund anti-drug community outreach, education, and treatment projects proposed by the public. Dissemination of anti-drug messages by the Hong Kong Security Bureau’s Narcotics Division is augmented through the Jockey Club Charities Trust-funded Drug Information Centre, via electronic media, posters and other printed materials.

Hong Kong routinely extradites individuals to the United States and affords mutual legal assistance to the United States in narcotics cases and other matters.

India

A. Introduction

India’s geographic location makes it an attractive transshipment area for heroin bound for Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, and North America. In addition, India is authorized by the international community to produce licit opium for pharmaceutical uses. Licit opium is grown in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. India is also a major producer of precursor chemicals, including acetic anhydride (AA), ephedrine, and pseudoephedrine.

India is a main source of ketamine, a veterinary anesthesia. Ketamine is not under international control, though some 50 countries have listed it as a controlled substance. The number of significant ketamine seizures at major airports, in sea containers and in parcels continues to increase. India also manufactures organic and synthetic licit opiate/psychotropic pharmaceuticals (LOPPS). Destined for licit sales in markets around the world, these pharmaceutical items and precursor chemicals are vulnerable to diversion, including through illegally operating internet pharmacies. Licit and illicit manufactured opiate/psychotropic pharmaceuticals are often diverted in small quantities to the United States as illegal "personal use" shipments. There is also evidence that opium is grown illicitly in India, especially in the northeastern regions. India also continues to be a main source of illicit synthetic drugs, including amphetamine-type stimulants and methaqualone.

Despite these challenges, India is committed to enhancing its law enforcement capacity through increased training for its national enforcement officers, and is vigorously exploiting opportunities for international cooperation in an effort to improve the effectiveness of both its demand and supply control efforts.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

India’s stringent Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPSA) was last amended in October 2001 and is designed to fulfill India's treaty obligations under the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention. An amendment to India’s NDPSA was introduced to Parliament in September, but has not been passed.

The Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) has a mandate to monitor India's licit opium production and prevent diversion. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is the national drug control agency, established to prevent and combat the abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. While the Government of India continues to tighten licit opium diversion controls and increase training of national enforcement officers, the capacity of India's drug law enforcement personnel to collect and analyze intelligence data and to initiate and conduct complex investigations of criminal drug trafficking and other organized crimes remains limited by insufficient training and modern equipment. In addition, India’s challenging terrain in the northeast and its lack of infrastructure provide exploitable opportunities for illegal cultivation and production.

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

The possibility for diversion exists if licensed and harvested fields yield more opium than the Minimum Qualifying Yield (MQY) set by the CBN and the unreported excess is sold into the illicit market. Cultivators may also falsely claim their licensed fields are not harvestable and then sell their harvests illicitly. While farmers who submit opium above the MQY are paid a premium by the government, sales made on the illicit market often have a much higher profit margin.

India makes a serious effort to control precursor chemicals produced in its large chemical industry. India actively participates in precursor control programs such as Project Cohesion and Project Prism. India issues pre-export notifications for export of precursors using an online system developed by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), and has an elaborate licensing regime to control dual use (licit/illicit) pharmaceutical products.

2. Supply Reduction

Smuggling of heroin into India from Afghanistan and Pakistan continued to increase in 2012. Drug-trafficking organizations in India use human couriers and commercial package services to send illicit drugs overseas, both to Europe and the Americas. India continues to be targeted by traffickers as a primary source for ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Despite government control efforts, India has been identified in some law enforcement cases as a source of such precursors destined for illicit methamphetamine labs in Mexico.

The INCB reports pseudoephedrine from India is formed into tablets in Bangladesh and then sent to countries in Central America and the Caribbean. To circumvent existing diversion control measures, drug trafficking organizations have also begun smuggling uncontrolled pharmaceutical preparations containing those chemicals, instead of the highly controlled basic precursors. There have also been increasing numbers of ketamine seizures, a substance not under international control.

The Government of India estimated in 2009 that half of India’s heroin consumption and all of the country’s opium consumption (70 metric tons, or MT) was met by domestic supply; the government noted that to produce these amounts of heroin and opium in 2009, India would have needed to have a minimum of 7,500 hectares (ha) of illegal opium cultivation. Informed observers of the Indian scene downplay the role of diversion of opium from licit production to the illicit domestic market. The UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2011 report, “The Global Afghan Opium Trade: A Threat Assessment,” states the estimated quantity of licitly produced opium diverted from licit to illicit use is limited. Information provided by the Government of India to UNODC suggests that some 15 MT of heroin – or 3 percent of global supply – are illicitly produced in India. Thus, illicit production in India seems to be the main domestic source of illicit opiates, not diversion from licit production.

The NCB uses satellite imagery and intelligence gathering to track illicit poppy cultivation. The resolution of satellite images is improving, but remains difficult to interpret. The NCB relies on officers to reach the site and provide visual verification, but has only approximately 700 officers to monitor the entire country. Illicit cultivation shifts each year to new districts, and recent media reports indicate that Naxals – insurgent groups that have been fighting with the Indian Government since 1967 – are protecting illicit cultivation in exchange for protection money from traffickers and cultivators. In 2010, the last year for which information is available, the largest tracts of illicit cultivation were found in West Bengal, which shares a porous border of 2,429 miles with Bangladesh, and Arunachal Pradesh which shares a porous 273-mile border with Burma. Media reports allege a comprehensive network of corruption, with bribes paid to rural police stations and panchayats (local governance bodies) for fields under their jurisdiction, that facilitates the illicit cultivation and harvest.

In 2011, the last year for which seizures data is available, Indian authorities seized 438 kg of heroin, down from 550 kg in 2010. Seizures of hashish (2.37 MT) and marijuana (86.4 MT) were also down from 2010 totals (2.99 MT and 144.5 MT, respectively). Raw opium seizures increased, however (1.67 MT from 1.28 MT), and ephedrine seizures remained stable (2.08 MT from 2.1MT).

The Ministry of Home Affairs has not provided updated information on NCB eradication efforts since the release of its 2010-2011 report. Information from 2011 noted the NCB coordinated the activities of various Indian Border Security Forces to destroy 3,396 ha of illicit poppy cultivation in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, and West Bengal. NCB also separately detected and destroyed an additional 308 ha. The most recent available INCB information reports law enforcement eradicated 4,883 ha of illicitly cultivated cannabis plants in 2009, about three times more than in 2008. It should be noted that the amount of drugs destroyed does not accurately reflect the amount of drugs seized in the same time period. India’s legal system is overburdened and understaffed, with tens of millions of court cases pending at any given time.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

India has not conducted a national household survey on substance abuse since 2000-2001; more recent information on the national prevalence of drug abuse is not available. Pilot work on a national survey of drug abuse began in early 2010. Information from the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences indicates drug abuse in India is on the rise.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) has a three-pronged strategy for demand reduction, including drug abuse awareness building and education, counseling and treatment programs, and training volunteers to work in the field of demand reduction. India has a National Consultative Committee on De-addiction (i.e., detoxification) and Rehabilitation, which provides training, research and documentation for use in drug abuse prevention. The MSJE continues to work on a national policy on prevention of substance abuse, which will include: more awareness training in medical colleges and schools; periodic surveys on drug abuse; increased monitoring of pharmacists; drug demand reduction as a public health policy; a shift in treatment from detoxification and rehabilitation to longer-term substitution therapy; and more sensitive treatment of patients in de-addiction centers. Treatment and rehabilitation services from drug abuse are mainly provided by non-governmental organizations, which operate 376 treatment and rehabilitation centers and 68 counseling and awareness-raising centers. The Government of India also runs 100 treatment centers at its hospitals and Primary Health Centers for those who need long-term rehabilitation.

4. Corruption

Neither the Government of India nor any senior government official as a matter of policy encourages or facilitates drug trafficking. Since 1964, India has had an independent statutory body, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), which issues guidelines and conducts inquiries to address government corruption. The CVC reports to the President of India through the parliament.

However, corruption is pervasive across police forces at all levels of government, with officers rarely being held accountable for illegal actions. This undermines the effectiveness of even the most elaborate control regimes for dangerous drugs.

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

Law enforcement agencies in India continue their extensive cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). India has conducted a number of joint operations against illicit internet pharmacies with DEA, and many significant conspiracies were detected and dismantled in recent years.

D. Conclusion

India remains vigilant against the threat of transnational narcotics trade. However, lack of full acknowledgement of the extent of the domestic drug problem limits the ability to effectively address it. The Government of India continues to tighten licit opium diversion controls. However, India's drug law enforcement personnel have limited capacity to collect and analyze intelligence data and to initiate and conduct complex investigations of criminal drug trafficking and other sophisticated/organized crimes. The lack of infrastructure and challenging terrain in the northeast provides exploitable opportunities for illegal cultivation and production. Continued training and the acquisition of modern equipment will help build domestic capacity to counter narcotic cultivation and chemical diversion while increasing India’s ability to investigate and effectively prosecute offenders.

India makes a serious effort to control precursor chemicals produced in its large chemical industry. India actively participates in precursor control arrangements such as Project Cohesion and Project Prism. India issues pre-export notifications for export of precursors using an online system developed by the International Narcotics Control Board, and has an elaborate licensing regime to control dual use (licit/illicit) pharmaceutical products. India is in compliance with international control requirements for these products. Given high demand for precursor chemicals and the need to safe guard licit pharmaceutical production India is likely to continue to face chemical control challenges for the foreseeable future.

Indonesia

A. Introduction

Indonesia remains both a transit and destination for illicit narcotics. Indonesia is one of the world’s largest consumers of marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin. Cannabis is the most widely used drug in Indonesia, followed by methamphetamine. The majority of methamphetamine entering Indonesia originates in Iran, while the majority of heroin originates in the “Golden Crescent” region of Southwest Asia. African, Chinese, and Iranian drug trafficking organizations continue to be a significant concern for Indonesian law enforcement.

Indonesia engaged in significant efforts in 2012 to address cannabis production in the Aceh region of Northern Sumatra and recently began a mapping program. Progress has been made in strengthening the capacity of Indonesia’s counter narcotics agency (BNN) to gather intelligence and interdict drugs at airports, sea ports, and land borders. Nevertheless, Indonesia faces significant challenges due to porous borders and significant corruption.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

BNN’s effectiveness increased in 2012 due to an expansion of its organizational and technical capabilities. Based on significant new powers provided by the 2009 National Narcotics Law and the substantial budget that followed, BNN has put in place stronger policies and procedures, collaborated successfully with other ministries, and formed drug control agreements with other countries. BNN increased staffing from 2,832 in 2011 to 3,350 in 2012.

BNN’s budget fell slightly in 2012, but remained robust compared to 2010, despite significant budget cuts that impacted many government agencies. BNN established four new field offices, one new rehabilitation unit, and 24 of the 68 outstations planned for completion in 2012. Indonesia continues to increase efforts to coordinate with stakeholder countries and with the United States, which has provided technical assistance, equipment, training, and information sharing support. Adding to bilateral agreements already in place, a drug control information sharing agreement with the Peoples Republic of China was signed in 2012. Also, BNN signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indonesian National Police in October, which involves coordination to facilitate Presidential Instruction No. 12 of 2011 to achieve a drug free zone in Indonesia by 2015.

There is currently no mutual legal assistance or extradition treaty between Indonesia and the United States.

2. Supply Reduction

BNN improved its investigative and technical capabilities in 2012, areas where U.S. assistance has been particularly helpful. In May, Indonesian law enforcement officials seized 1.4 million ecstasy tablets at the port in Jakarta and arrested 12 individuals, one of Indonesia’s most significant interdictions to date. Other supply reduction efforts during the year include: placement of additional interdiction personnel at airports, seaports, and land borders; an increase in the number of field offices and outstations throughout the country; apprehension of members of approximately 20 drug syndicates; and the formation of a joint regulation with the Ministry of Transportation on the prevention and combating of trafficking and narcotics abuse.

In 2012, drug trafficking operations by West African and Chinese drug trafficking organizations increased, while Iranian activity decreased. The trafficking of methamphetamine remained relatively constant, while there was an increase in heroin and ecstasy trafficking. While the overall volume of cannabis under cultivation in Indonesia has been on a downward trend for the past few years, significant production remains in Aceh. BNN destroyed many hectares of cannabis during the past year and has begun a cannabis mapping program in Aceh aimed at identifying remote production areas.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

In May, BNN published the results of its National Survey of Narcotics Abuse. The survey indicated an increased number of narcotics users in Indonesia, with an estimated 3.7 to 4.7 million users in 2011. Research indicated that 70 percent of users were workers; students made up 22 percent of users. The typical user was a male between the ages of 20 and 29. The most widely used narcotics were cannabis (64 percent), methamphetamine (38 percent), and ecstasy (18 percent). Cannabis use declined from 71 percent to 64 percent, which was attributed to the reluctance of drug dealers to distribute cannabis due to the small profit margin and relatively high risk of being caught.

The 2009 National Narcotics Law enabled BNN to hire qualified medical staff to advise on drug treatment and prevention programs; establish BNN-run rehabilitation units, which are comprised of community-based units and outreach centers throughout the country; engage in outreach campaigns highlighting the dangers of drug addiction; and work with the Ministry of Education to raise awareness among youth. In 2012, BNN’s drug treatment facility cooperated with several hospitals to leverage medical and professional counseling resources. BNN collaborated with a group of non-governmental organizations in an effort to reduce demand by raising awareness, synchronizing programming to avoid overlap. BNN also sent personnel to run Therapeutic Communities (TC) at two prisons and engaged in TC socialization for officers in sixteen separate detention and correctional facilities.

4. Corruption

As a matter of public policy, Indonesia does not encourage or facilitate illegal activity related to drug trafficking, and no senior government officials are known to be engaged in such activity. However, corruption at all levels of government and society is pervasive, and this poses a significant threat to the country’s counternarcotics strategy. Indonesia has made some progress in combating official corruption, primarily through a growing body of laws and the efforts of its Corruption Eradication Commission. This remains a work in progress, however. Lower level Indonesian officials in particular remain susceptible to corruption, due partly to low wages. Even when narcotics offenders receive stringent prison sentences, corruption within the prison sector facilitates the ongoing use, distribution, and trafficking of illicit substances.

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

BNN co-hosted the 2012 International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) in Bali, the first Asian country to host the event. IDEC is the world’s largest international drug enforcement meeting. Law enforcement officials from more than 50 participating countries and more than 20 observer countries were represented at the conference.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) opened the Jakarta Country Office in 2011, which included a Country Attaché and Deputy Attaché. The United States has provided wide-ranging support that includes training, technical assistance, equipment, and infrastructure. In 2012, the United States funded the construction of administrative offices, classrooms, and barracks for training counter narcotics officers as well as infrastructure support for the establishment of a command center at BNN’s headquarters. The U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Interagency Task Force West and DEA also collaborated on a Cannabis Eradication Course in North Sumatra in 2012. The United States also provided maritime law enforcement training and technical assistance to Indonesian maritime authorities.

D. Conclusion

The Government of Indonesia’s commitment to strong drug-control institutions is evidenced by its continuing efforts to implement the 2009 National Narcotics Law. BNN’s administrative capability, budgetary resources, and collaboration with other ministries are positive indicators. Indonesia’s focus on improving information systems, especially the linking of its headquarters in Jakarta with outstations throughout the country, is noteworthy. BNN’s continued expansion and the placement of interdiction personnel at airports, seaports, and land borders are expected to increase interdictions. While BNN and the Ministry of Law and Human Rights established a joint regulation in 2011 to prevent and combat trafficking and narcotics abuse in detention and correctional facilities, efforts to combat drug-related corruption, particularly in prisons, remains an area for improvement.

Iran

Iran remains a significant transit and consumer country for opiates and hashish originating in Afghanistan, as well as a growing source of methamphetamine for both domestic and international markets. According to Iran’s own statistics provided to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the country led the world in opium seizures in 2011, the last year for which statistics are available. In 2012, media reports indicate that Iran’s Law Enforcement Police seized approximately 430 tons of illicit drugs between March 2011 and March 2012 (the Iranian calendar year), with approximately 70 percent of these seizures occurring along the country’s 1,147-mile eastern border with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Opium and heroin seizures appear to be remaining stable or declining, while seizures of methamphetamine appear to be increasing dramatically (over 11-fold between 2008 and 2011).

Iran devotes considerable resources to confronting the illegal drug trade, approximately $1 billion annually according to official government estimates. Iranian enforcement strategies rely heavily on border interdiction, and include the construction of moats, barriers and watchtowers along the country's eastern borders. Some reporting indicates that these border deterrents have caused trafficking networks to shift increasingly to maritime routes, including the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Iranian-based methamphetamine trafficking networks have become leading suppliers to markets within the country and across the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region. Drug-related corruption appears to be a significant problem, though there is no evidence that senior level officials condone drug trafficking.

Addiction rates within Iran are among the highest in the world. The Iranian government officially cites 1.2 million registered addicts and 800,000 casual users; other informed estimates are higher. Iran’s demand reduction and treatment programs are among the most visible and comprehensive in the region. Addicts are treated as patients and treatment services include several hundred detoxification centers and methadone substitution clinics. According to Iran’s Ministry of Health, Treatment and Medical Education, intravenous drug use has accounted for the transmission of approximately 70 percent of HIV cases in the country since 1986.

UNODC has maintained a country office in Iran since 1999, and provides a range of technical assistance activities intended to enhance border interdiction, demand reduction, and greater law enforcement cooperation with neighboring states. Donor states in Europe and Japan have pledged approximately $13 million to support UNODC activities between 2011 and 2015. The United States has no bilateral engagement with Iran on drug control issues, but encourages regional cooperation between Iran and its neighbors, such as cooperation facilitated by UNODC.

Iraq

A. Introduction

Iraq is a transit country for illegal drugs destined for international markets. While domestic drug abuse largely involves licit pharmaceuticals, overall demand for illegal drugs is increasing. Government of Iraq efforts to address trafficking and drug consumption are limited and secondary to its focus on internal security and public order.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

The Government of Iraq generally maintains that the country does not have a significant drug abuse or internal trafficking problem. However, some elements of the government increasingly acknowledge expanded activity in both areas. The Ministry of Interior’s (MOI) Port of Entry Directorate and Directorate of Border Enforcement and the Ministry of Finance’s (MOF) General Directorate of Customs share responsibility for deterring and interdicting contraband across Iraq’s borders. The MOF Civil Customs Officers and MOI Customs Police search vehicles crossing into Iraq. However, this focus on seizing drug shipments at the borders has rarely been accompanied by further investigation into the sources of the narcotics or by arrests and prosecutions of top leaders of drug trafficking enterprises. The Iraqi Federal Police do not devote significant resources to drug cases.

Iraq’s drug laws are in need of reform, as the vast majority of laws date from the 1960s and do not reflect advances in law enforcement or treatment. Personal use can carry sentences from three- to 15-years incarceration and trafficking can draw a life sentence or the death penalty. Convicted drug users can request treatment in lieu of incarceration, but treatment capacities would be grossly inadequate if this option were routinely implemented. Extradition between the United States and Iraq is governed in principle by the 1934 U.S.-Iraq Extradition Treaty. There is no mutual legal assistance treaty in force between the United States and Iraq, though mutual legal assistance is provided on a reciprocal basis through letters of request.

2. Supply Reduction

Iraq’s relatively porous post-conflict borders are poor deterrents to increasing volumes of narcotics trafficking. Methamphetamine and hashish from Iran and fenethylline pills (an amphetamine-type stimulant, or ATS) from Syria are trafficked into Iraq for transshipment to other Middle Eastern countries and for domestic consumption. Heroin and opium originating in Afghanistan are trafficked into the country via Iran, and then onward to international markets through neighboring countries, especially Syria and Turkey.

Iraq does not have interdiction programs specifically targeting drugs. Rather, interdiction efforts are included in routine border control duties. Traffickers have adapted more sophisticated concealment methods in response to more frequent searches of vehicles by border authorities. The government first seized fenethylline pills in 2009, and seizures have increased substantially each year since. At the beginning of 2012, Iraqi border authorities seized several shipments of heroin exceeding 50 kilograms before they could enter Syria. Law enforcement officials in Basrah contend that the city has become a central entry point and a major distribution center for drugs in Iraq. Border authorities are seeing an increase in drug seizures, and have some concern terrorists could be turning to increasingly lucrative narcotics trafficking as a revenue stream.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Abuse of illegal narcotics is growing in Iraq, and two forms of ATS – fenethylline pills and methamphetamine – have emerged as new favorites. Iraqis also abuse more traditional opiate products and hashish. Abuse of pharmaceuticals, most of which are available over-the-counter at Iraqi pharmacies, is a significant problem. Substances like trihexyphenidyl (also known as benzhexol), diazepam, clonazepam, and tramadol (an opioid analgesic) have a large and growing user base. In one recent three-month period, more than one million injections of tramadol were provided over-the-counter by Iraqi pharmacies.

The Ministry of Health attributes substance abuse to low employment, poor living conditions, and violence. Drug abuse prevention efforts in Iraq are still in their infancy. The stigma surrounding drug use is substantial, which deters those with substance abuse problems from seeking treatment. Mosques and churches throughout Iraq attempt to prevent drug abuse by talking about the consequences and the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices. The Ministry of Health has announced plans to establish treatment units in hospitals and outpatient facilities throughout Iraq, as well as training programs for paramedical professionals, physicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists. The Ministry of Health has plans to develop proposed best practices for the safe storage of drugs (i.e., at pharmacies), and promotes prevention through youth-oriented media campaigns and brochures for various age groups.

4. Corruption

As a matter of government policy, Iraq does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The growing volume of domestic and international drug trafficking raises the potential for increased corruption. A September 2012 drug seizure by Iraqi border officials at the Safwan Port of Departure in Southern Iraq ultimately led to the arrest of a government employee working at the port of entry. While this shows some drug-related corruption exists, it also demonstrates the commitment of other law enforcement officials who investigated and ultimately arrested that employee for his alleged involvement in the drug smuggling.

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

Pursuant to the 2008 U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement, the United States continues to fund counternarcotics assistance programs. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection officers work with the Iraqi Directorate of Border Enforcement to improve border control. In 2012, CBP officers trained passport police officers on techniques for detecting suspicious behavior, narcotics identification, and luggage examination. Iraqi Civil Customs and Customs Police repeatedly request further counternarcotics training. At the request of the Iraqi Federal Police, U.S. advisors provided drug identification materials to assist police at checkpoints with identifying bulk shipments.

The United States also funds the Iraq Drug Demand Reduction initiative. Working with the Iraqi Ministry of Health, that initiative led to development of a national substance abuse training, research, and treatment center in Baghdad to integrate substance abuse intervention and treatment services into the Iraqi primary health care system. This initiative also helped form the Iraq Community Epidemiology Working Group, which produced the first comprehensive profile on the nature and extent of drug abuse in Iraq. This report was submitted to the Iraqi Council of Ministers in May, and details a dramatic increase in the use of licit pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs.

D. Conclusion

Iraq’s law enforcement agencies are gaining technical expertise in drug interdiction, but Iraq’s political leadership has not yet acknowledged the country’s growing role as a transit and consumer country for illegal drugs. Iraq needs to provide adequate resources to counter drug trafficking and reduce domestic demand. The Iraqi government should also modernize outdated drug control laws to improve law enforcement, drug abuse prevention, and treatment. The United States will continue to work with the Government of Iraq to confront these challenges.

Israel

Israel is not a major narcotics producing or trafficking country, but has a significant domestic market for illegal drugs. The Israel Anti-Drug Authority, which falls under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office, but under administrative control of the Ministry of Public Security, states that demand for conventional drugs (cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, etc.) remained steady in 2012. Use of cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids, however, is on the rise. The Anti-Drug Authority regularly adds new synthetic drugs to Israel’s Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, which provides the legislative basis for drug definition, penalties, and related enforcement authorities.

Law enforcement continues to link drug offenses to a number of other crimes, including human trafficking, illegal labor, and money laundering. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has seen an increase in drug-related money laundering cases involving Israelis working in both the United States and Israel. The majority of drugs enter Israel via its borders with Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt, as well as by sea shipment and through the mail.

Excellent bilateral cooperation on illicit drug enforcement and interdiction continues between U.S. and Israeli authorities, with efforts shared between the DEA country office in Cyprus and the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement office (DHS/ICE) in Tel Aviv. Recent joint U.S. and Israeli actions have included joint investigation of drug couriers on flights from South America into Ben Gurion airport, investigations of trafficking of mephedrone from Israel to the United States, and the May 2012 conviction of a prominent Israeli drug trafficker and organized crime leader in Los Angeles. DHS/ICE cooperated with the Israel Tax Authority and Israel National Police to investigate counterfeit pharmaceutical distribution operations based in Israel, which led to guilty pleas for two Israelis in a U.S. district court in April 2012. DEA Cyprus continues to work closely with the Israeli Ministry of Health’s Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit on a wide range of issues pertaining to drug identification as well as the identification of new trends in drug production. Multiple bilateral projects, training programs, and joint investigations are currently in various planning stages.

Italy

Italy remains a significant European transit and consumer point for illegal drugs. Southwest Asian heroin arrives from transit routes in the Middle East and the Balkans, while cocaine enters Italy directly from South America or through the Iberian Peninsula en route to the rest of Europe. In addition to heroin and cocaine, synthetic drugs, hashish, and marijuana are also illicit drugs of domestic concern. Almost all cocaine found in Italy originates from Colombia and is managed in Italy by criminal organizations based in Calabria and Campania. Drug trafficking organizations in the Americas use Italy as a transit and consolidation point for the repatriation of drug proceeds via bulk currency shipments back to Colombia and Mexico and for wire transfers throughout the world.

In 2011 (the most recent year for which information is available), Italian authorities seized 6.35 metric tons (MT) of cocaine; 811 kilograms (kg) of heroin; 20.3 MT of hashish; 10.9 MT of marijuana; and 16,573 doses of synthetic drugs. The largest drug seizures during this period were: 1.02 MT of cocaine in Livorno; 131 kg of heroin in Verona; 2.63 MT of hashish in Rome; 754 kg of marijuana in Bari; and 10,000 tablets of ecstasy in Como. Also during this period, 39,796 individuals were arrested in Italy on drug-related charges.

In 2011, the Italian Carabinieri (national military police), with cooperation from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), concluded a three year multilateral investigation of a drug trafficking cell of the 'Ndrangheta transnational criminal organization. Two of Italy’s most-wanted fugitives were apprehended as well as 61 other defendants in New York and Italy, with additional arrests in Holland, Spain, and elsewhere in the United States. Approximately 850 kg of cocaine, numerous firearms, and nearly $20,700,000 in assets were seized. In another important case also involving DEA cooperation, the Italian Guardia di Finanza (GdF) and Carabinieri dismantled a significant ‘Ndrangheta group in Catanzaro, Calabria, seizing approximately 56 kg of cocaine, more than $98,275,269 in assets, and arresting 77 individuals.

The United States and Italy enjoy outstanding counternarcotics cooperation, sharing intelligence and coordinating joint criminal investigations on a daily basis. Italy’s law enforcement community promotes investigative cooperation and intelligence-sharing initiatives with the United States and other international counterparts.

Jamaica

A. Introduction

Jamaica remains the largest Caribbean supplier of marijuana to the United States. Although cocaine and synthetic drugs are not produced locally, Jamaica is a transit point for drugs trafficked from South America to North America and other international markets. In 2012, drug production and trafficking were both enabled and accompanied by organized crime, domestic and international gang activity, and police and government corruption. The gun trade for illicit drugs exacerbated the problem as handguns moved into the country in exchange for drugs.

Drugs flow into, through and from Jamaica by maritime conveyance and human couriers, and to a limited degree by private aircraft. Most drugs leaving Jamaica are bound for the United States and Canada. However, some amounts of marijuana and cocaine are smuggled from Jamaica into the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Countries in South and Central America are also destinations of Jamaican marijuana, which is transported in vessels and sometimes exchanged for cocaine. Marijuana is increasingly being trafficked to Caribbean nations as well, and some Central American drug trafficking organizations exchange Jamaican marijuana for cocaine. Recent information suggests that Jamaica is emerging as a transit point for cocaine transiting Central America and destined for the United States.

Factors that contribute to drug trafficking include the country’s convenient position as a waypoint for narcotics being trafficked from Latin America; its lengthy, rugged and difficult-to-patrol coastline; a high volume of tourist travel; its status as a major transshipment hub for containerized cargo; inadequate educational and employment opportunities for at-risk youth who engage in crime; and a struggling economy that encourages marijuana cultivation.

The government and law enforcement authorities are committed to combating narcotics and illicit trafficking. However, despite competent leadership and political will, their efforts were only moderately effective in 2012 because of a lack of sufficient resources, corruption, and an inefficient criminal justice system.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Cooperation against narcotics and related transnational crime remained strong over the course of the year between the Governments of Jamaica and the United States. The United States’ primary partners are the Jamaica Constabulary Force (police), the Jamaica Defence Force (military), Jamaica Customs, and the Ministry of Finance’s Financial Investigation Division.

The Jamaican government and the United States have a mutual legal assistance treaty that assists in evidence sharing. Both governments have a reciprocal agreement for the sharing of forfeited criminal assets and a bilateral law enforcement agreement that governs cooperation in the interdiction of the maritime flow of illegal drugs.

The extradition treaty between the United States and Jamaica was actively and successfully used by both countries in 2012.

Realizing that gangs, drugs, and corruption begin at the community level, the police implemented community-based policing (CBP) efforts with U.S. support. The CBP program spread from three pilot communities in 2008 to 360 communities in 2011. Of Jamaica’s 11,200 police officers, 9,000 have received training in CBP practices. Civilian acceptance of CBP was facilitated through programs such as a safe schools program and youth civic engagement.

The Commissioner of Police, with support from the Minister of National Security, took a strong public stance against police corruption and continued to make steady progress toward reform of the institution, which has suffered from decades of endemic corruption.

Progress in combating narcotics, illicit trafficking and corruption was also hobbled by an underfunded, overburdened and sluggish criminal justice system with limited effectiveness in obtaining criminal convictions. The conviction rate for murder was five percent, and the courts continue to be plagued with a culture of trial postponements and delay. This lack of efficacy contributes to impunity for many of the worst criminal offenders and gangs, an abnormally high rate of violent crimes, lack of cooperation by witnesses and jurors, frustration among police officers and the public, a significant social cost and drain on the economy, and a disincentive for international investment.

2. Supply Reduction

An estimated 15,000 hectares (ha) of marijuana is grown in all 14 parishes of Jamaica, generally in areas inaccessible to vehicular traffic on small plots in mountainous areas and along the tributaries of the Black River in Saint Elizabeth parish. The police and military, supported by the United States, employed teams of civilian cutters to cut growing plants, seize seedlings and cured marijuana, and burn them in the field. Because Jamaican law prohibits the use of herbicides, only manual eradication was conducted in 2012.

Eradication of marijuana increased from 2011: 710.51 ha of cannabis were eradicated; 2,483,710 seedlings destroyed and 785.33 kg of seeds destroyed in 2012 compared to 707 ha, 1,900,630 seedlings and 480 kg of seeds in 2011.

Jamaica prohibits the manufacture, sale, transport, and possession of ecstasy and methamphetamine, and regulates the precursor chemicals used to produce them. Jamaica does not produce precursor chemicals or other chemical substances and, relies on countries exporting goods to conform to international standards governing export verification. The importation and sale of pharmaceutical products and chemical substances are regulated and reinforced with fines or imprisonment. Other controls monitor the usage of pharmaceutical products and chemical substances including register controls, inspections, and audits. In 2012, there was an increased movement of quantities of precursor chemicals through Jamaica to Central America. The precursors were concealed in shipping containers that passed through the Port of Kingston, and included methylamine hydrochloride and monomethylamine, both of which are utilized in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Smugglers continued to use maritime shipping containers, ships, small boats, aircraft and couriers to move drugs into, from and through Jamaica to the United States. In 2012, authorities seized 66.8 metric tons (MT) of cannabis, 42.2 kg of hash oil and 2.99 kg of hashish, compared to 47.7 MT of cannabis, 170 kg of hash oil and nine kg of hashish in 2011. Seizures of cocaine decreased to 338.28 kg in 2012 from 552 kg in 2011, and crack cocaine increased slightly to 1.37 kg in 2012 from 1.3 kg in 2011.

High-profile organized crime gangs continued to successfully operate within Jamaica. Gangs are sometimes afforded community tolerance or protection and, in some cases, support through police corruption. Nevertheless, drug-related arrests decreased to 17,481 in 2012, compared to 20,216 in 2011.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

Marijuana was used by nine percent of the population in 2012, making it the most-abused illicit drug among Jamaicans, while cocaine abuse remained less than 0.1 percent of the population over the last 10 years.

The Ministry of Health’s National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), working through the primary care system and mental health clinics, provides assessment, counseling and treatment services for substance abusers. With funding from the Jamaican government’s National Health Fund, NCDA also supported 18 community medical clinics across the island in 2012, primarily through faith-based institutions, that provided drug-related primary treatment services with referrals, counseling and trauma services.

The Jamaican government operates one detoxification center located at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in Kingston, and offers services for dual diagnosis clients through UHWI and Kingston’s Bellevue Hospital (a mental health institution). In collaboration with the Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, Jamaica offers a university-level certificate program for drug professionals in drug addiction and drug prevention. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime works directly with the Jamaican government and non-governmental organizations on demand reduction.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) regulates precursor pharmaceuticals, including the importation of pseudoephedrine, both in powder and final product forms. The NCDA, the Pharmacy Council, and the MOH work to expand awareness among health professionals on the potential danger of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine when they are diverted to produce methamphetamine.

4. Corruption

As a matter of policy, the Jamaican government does not encourage or facilitate illegal activity associated with drug trafficking; nor are any senior Jamaican officials known to engage in such activity. The law penalizes official corruption; however, corruption remains entrenched, widespread, and compounded by a judicial system that is poorly equipped to handle complex criminal prosecutions in a timely manner.

In 2012, an improved anti-corruption stance within the police, Jamaica Customs, Tax Administration, and the Office of the Contractor General showed encouraging signs. Additionally, the U.S.-supported National Integrity Action helped focus increased public and government attention on the need for continued anti-corruption reforms.

The police Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) showed success in identifying and removing officers engaged in corrupt and unethical behavior. Since the ACB’s reorganization with international support in 2007, 454 police personnel have resigned or been dismissed for corruption of ethical violations, with 51 of those removed in 2012. Another 43 officers faced criminal corruption charges during the year. Police success was due partly to mechanisms that allowed it to dismiss corrupt or unethical officers when evidence was insufficient to justify criminal prosecution. For example, the police required high level officers to sign employment contracts that improved accountability and facilitate speedy dismissal for corrupt or unethical behavior. Vetting and a polygraph examination were also required for promotions into key positions. The ACB expanded its physical presence in 2012 by opening a branch office in Montego Bay, funded by the United States.

Proposed legislation to create an anti-corruption special prosecutor has been pending before parliament since 2008. Efforts by legislators from both political parties have stalled the proposal. The Minister of Justice, appointed by the government elected in January, worked to organize legislative support and move the bill, but no action occurred during the year. There has been no legislative action to create a National Anti-Corruption Agency, which is required by the Inter-American Convention against Corruption to which Jamaica is a signatory.

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

Supporting Jamaica’s transformation into a more secure, democratic, and prosperous partner is a major U.S. policy goal. Narcotics trafficking, corruption, and related crime undermine the rule of law, democratic governance, economic growth, and the quality of life for all Jamaicans. Success in combating crime depends on a comprehensive approach that recognizes the link between drugs, gangs, organized crime, poverty, unemployment, lack of educational opportunities, and government corruption.

U.S. support to Jamaica includes training, equipment and logistical assistance for marijuana eradication and narcotics interdiction operations, and strengthening border security at air and sea ports. The United States provides training in maritime law enforcement, port security, and professional development for the Jamaican Defence Force Coast Guard. In addition, the United States supports the development of police capacity to interrupt gang operations, investigate financial and cyber crimes, seize criminal assets, and reduce violent crimes. The United States also funds projects to improve the effectiveness of the courts, of vetted police units that target narcotics and lottery scams, of crime scene investigators and forensic analysts, and of prosecutors involved in prosecuting narcotics, corruption and financial crimes. Indirect support for counternarcotics efforts is furnished through projects to develop effective community-police relations, improve police training facilities, enhance police anti-corruption efforts, and implement education and workforce development programs targeting at-risk youth who are susceptible to narcotics and gang influence. The primary source of U.S. funding in support of law enforcement and justice reform is through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.

D. Conclusion

Through strong leadership, democratic institutions, and support from the United States and other international partners, Jamaica continued to make slow but steady progress in combating narcotics trafficking, corruption and organized crime in 2012.

There were success stories in the police anti-corruption program, the police forensic laboratory, the community-based policing initiative, and the vetted police units attacking narcotics and lottery scams. There were also successes within the offices of the Independent Commission of Investigations, the Financial Investigation Division and the Contractor General, which struggled with limited resources to reduce civilian deaths resulting from police actions, financial crime, and corruption in government contracting, respectively.

The momentum of progress gained within Jamaica’s law enforcement agencies, however, is being obstructed by the inability of prosecutors and the courts to secure prompt convictions. The United States will continue to support efforts to reform and strengthen the judicial system.

Japan

Drug control in Japan is primarily a problem of domestic drug consumption. Illicit narcotics generally do not transit Japan, nor are they generally manufactured in Japan for markets abroad. In 2012, over 80 percent of all drug arrests in Japan involved methamphetamine or amphetamine-type stimulants, the most widely-abused illegal drugs. Marijuana also continues to be popular and accounted for 12 percent of drug cases.

Japan is one of the largest and most lucrative markets in Asia for methamphetamine. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration notes a marked increase of methamphetamine originating from Mexico and the emergence of potential cooperation between Japanese organized crime and Mexican and other transnational criminal organizations. There is growing evidence that liquid methamphetamine is entering the country for conversion and refinement, though laboratories have not yet been discovered. There were several mail parcel seizures of liquid methamphetamine at Kansai International Airport in 2012, and also corroborated evidence of multiple successful imported shipments that evaded seizure.

Between January and June 2012, Japanese law enforcement agencies seized 146.8 kilograms (kg) of methamphetamine; 51.6 kg of marijuana; 1.9 kg of cocaine; 1 kg of heroin and 662 dosage units of MDMA (ecstasy).

While law enforcement officers in Japan are well trained and skilled at conducting reactive investigations, proactive law enforcement efforts are at times hindered by the limited investigative techniques authorized under Japanese law.

A few Japanese law enforcement agencies made notable achievements combating drug trafficking in 2012. Japan Customs has been effective in indentifying inbound drug shipments and made numerous significant seizures at international airports. Japanese authorities have recently coordinated enforcement operations on several investigations resulting in large methamphetamine seizures. The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) embedded an officer aboard a U.S. Coast Guard vessel for several weeks as an observer during a drug interdiction patrol. This officer also attended the Joint-Interagency Task Force-South as an observer. This level of coordination and cooperation is an emerging positive trend.

There were no reported cases of Japanese officials being involved in drug-related corruption in Japan in 2012. The government does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of illicit proceeds.

Jordan

Jordan is a transit country for opiates, cannabis, and synthetic drugs destined for markets in the Gulf states and Israel. There is no evidence that illicit drugs are produced within Jordan, and the country’s domestic market for illegal drugs appears to be insignificant.

The Jordan Anti-Narcotics Department (JAND), which falls under the authority of the Public Security Directorate, is the country’s primary counternarcotics enforcement agency. JAND officials maintain that internal drug distribution within Jordan is insignificant, and estimate that 85 percent of drugs entering the country are bound for further international markets. Heroin of Afghan origin enters Jordan from Syria on its way to markets in Israel. Cannabis originating from either Afghanistan or Lebanon enters the country from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Fenethylline (an amphetamine-type stimulant) enters from Syria for transshipment to Gulf states.

According to JAND, the number of people involved in drug cases fell by almost four percent between 2011 and 2012. In 2012, 4,713 people were arrested for drug possession and 732 were arrested for drug dealing. The majority of those arrested for drug-related crimes are foreign nationals.

As a result of more effective border interdiction operations, improved intelligence gathering, and stronger cooperation between Jordan and neighboring countries, the amount of opium and methamphetamine seized by JAND increased in 2012 from 2011. However, seizures decreased for hashish, marijuana, fenethylline, heroin, and cocaine. The majority of Jordan’s drug seizures take place along the country’s northern border with Syria. Airport seizures were rare in 2012; improved screening capabilities at Jordan’s airports also appear to have deterred traffickers from attempting to smuggle drugs by air.

Cooperation between Jordan and neighboring countries has been critical to the success of Jordanian law enforcement operations. Jordan is one of the only countries in its region to have excellent working relations with all of its neighbors on counternarcotics, including Israel, as well as the United States. In 2012, Jordan and Israel conducted a large joint exercise targeting drug smuggling, and Jordan also partnered with Lebanon to conduct a controlled delivery exercise. JAND and the Public Security Directorate work closely with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Regional Security Office in U.S. Embassy Amman, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In 2012, JAND officials took part in a Regional Targeting Conference to coordinate common action against top drug trafficking threats in the region and a seminar, organized by U.S. authorities, on the use of technical equipment to enhance and expand drug investigations.

Kazakhstan

A. Introduction

Kazakhstan lies along the major drug trafficking route from Afghanistan to Russia and is primarily a transit country for Afghan heroin and opiates. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that less than one percent of the 70 to 75 tons of heroin trafficked through Kazakhstan annually is interdicted. Cannabis grows wild in parts of southern Kazakhstan, and the production and trafficking of cannabis-related narcotics appear to be increasing.

The overall volume of drug-related crimes and seizures declined over the first nine months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. However, there was a major increase of such crimes in the western part of the country, as traffickers increasingly used routes through Western Kazakhstan via Uzbekistan in response to strengthened enforcement on the Kyrgyz border.

The reduced number of recorded drug crimes and seizures may have been due to reduced enforcement pressure. In April, President Nazarbayev ordered competency testing of officers from most law enforcement agencies (excluding the Border Guard Service) in an exercise known as the “Law Enforcement Attestation Process.” This exercise diverted the attention of many officers from their regular duties and led to the dismissal or transfer of thousands of officers.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

On April 12, the Government of Kazakhstan adopted the Program on Combating Drug Addiction and Drug Business for 2012-2016 with a total budget of $41 million. The Program supplements traditional counternarcotics enforcement efforts through promoting demand reduction efforts, treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts, and strengthening border control measures. The Border Guard Service is equipping the southern border with enhanced infrastructure to interdict smugglers, and construction began on 10 new border posts: four in Zhambyl oblast, four in Almaty oblast, and two in the South Kazakhstan oblast.

Kazakhstan hosts the Almaty-based Central Asia Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC), which in 2012 granted observer status to China, Romania, and Ukraine. Azerbaijan, Russia and the five Central Asian countries are full members.

Kazakhstan cooperates with a number of countries on a bilateral basis, and also participates in counternarcotics activities as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Kazakhstan's special divisions, internal troops and police participated in the anti-drug drill "Grom-2012" (Thunder-2012), a joint exercise for CSTO member countries. On April 11, the CSTO's Coordination Council of Counternarcotics Agencies' Activities established a working group for interagency cooperation in drug demand reduction and agreed to discuss a draft Protocol on Interaction between CSTO and CARICC.

In July 2012, Kazakhstan's Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) proposed a bilateral agreement with the United States on mutual legal assistance. In September 2012, the United States signed its tenth amended letter of agreement with the Ministry of Interior (MVD). The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is also negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the MVD on counternarcotics cooperation.

2. Supply Reduction

According to PGOs' Legal Statistics Committee, during the first nine months of 2012, law enforcement agencies in Kazakhstan seized approximately 27 metric tons (MT) of drugs (compared to 32.8 MT in the same period in 2011). These seizures included: 208.1 kilograms (kg) of heroin (265 kg in 2011); 26.3 MT of marijuana (26.4 MT in 2011); 183 kg of opium (9.6 kg in 2011); and 181 kg of hashish (314.5 kg in 2011). The number of registered drug-related crimes decreased from 3,561 to 3,098, including 1,830 drug sales and 176 contraband cases. 2012 revisions to the criminal code converted certain drug-related offenses from criminal to administrative violations.

The Ministry of Interior reportedly dismantled nine organized drug trafficking groups in 2012. From June 1 to October 31, Kazakhstani law enforcement agencies conducted the annual Operation "Kendir" (Poppy) to interdict and eradicate marijuana growing wild in the Chu Valley.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

In 2012 registered drug addicts in Kazakhstan decreased 13 percent to 41,614, although unofficial estimates put the total as much as four times higher. Among those officially registered, 3,232 were women (down 14 percent), and 2,202 adolescents (down 17 percent). The most widely consumed drugs are from the opioid group (heroin and opium), with 21,325 users; followed by cannabinoids (hashish, marijuana) with 10,126 users; and psychotropic substances, with 4,533 users.

State agencies have implemented a number of activities aimed at reducing demand, including the State Program for Development of Healthcare (2011-2015) and "Healthy Lifestyles" (2008-2016). The MVD Counternarcotics Committee coordinates these activities with other agencies.

The Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Interior began implementation of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program with United States assistance in 2011. A pilot program was introduced in May 2012 in several Astana schools, and the Ministry of Interior is working to include the DARE program in the 2013 education plan.

The Ministry of Health is responsible for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals addicted to drugs and psychotropic substances, and operates drug demand reduction programs. The Ministry promotes improved treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts, including development of new standards for narcological assistance, protocols of treatment, rehabilitation of imprisoned drug addicts, and tertiary prevention (harm reduction) programs. In October 2012, the Ministry of Health issued a decree on the expansion of methadone therapy in Kazakhstan to cover HIV-infected opium and heroin users in seven cities. Also, the National Center for Applied Research on Drug Addiction in Kazakhstan implements the Treatment Training Package, the central goal of which is to increase knowledge among health care workers, educators, and prison staff about drug abuse and treatment. The Ministry of Education and Science works to counter the spread of drug addiction and associated HIV/AIDS and provides rehabilitation programs for children, minors and youth in the educational system. The Ministry of Communications and Information organizes media campaigns to discourage drug consumption.

The MVD Counternarcotics Committee (CN Committee) and its field divisions work with representatives of non-governmental organizations and youth associations to prevent drug addiction among children and youth as part of the Program on Combating Drug Addiction and Drug Trafficking. Its website (www.narcopost.kz) provides updates on demand reduction activities, and success stories in the battle against drug trafficking. The Commission on Coordinating Demand Reduction Activities and Combat Against Drug Trafficking, established in 2003, monitors the work of all relevant agencies and provides recommendations for further activity. The MVD also publishes the magazines Narcopost and Future without Drugs.

4. Corruption

As a matter of government policy, the Government of Kazakhstan does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. A major stated goal of the Law Enforcement Attestation process was to reduce police corruption. Kazakhstan law enforcement agencies do not report corruption statistics, though press reports occasionally disclose corruption or illegal activity by police officers, including drug possession. In August, the Government of Kazakhstan approved incentives to encourage citizens to report cases of police corruption. Rewards may range from $300 to $750 for information. In April, special interagency groups began monitoring crossing points along the China-Kazakhstan border in an effort to eliminate corruption and increase the flow of cargo.

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

The United States provides assistance to develop counternarcotics capacity in Kazakhstan. In 2012, the United States organized six interagency workshops for counternarcotics officers on drug-related and money laundering investigations, all taught by DEA's Central Asia Regional Training Team. The United States also continued its program to train dogs to search for drugs – with participants from all of Kazakhstan's law enforcement agencies – while OMC provided funding to develop canine facilities.

D. Conclusion

The drug situation in Kazakhstan remains relatively stable, though there is concern that the 2014 transition to Afghan lead and withdrawal of coalition forces will worsen the drug trafficking problem. While Kazakhstan's governmental agencies still need to strengthen their capacity to combat drug trafficking and promote demand reduction, the government clearly recognizes the public health and national security threats posed by drug trafficking and addiction. While law enforcement agencies remain constrained by a segregation of responsibilities, they have shown increased willingness to cooperate with each other to investigate drug crimes and money laundering offenses.

Kosovo

Kosovo remains a transit country for drugs destined for Europe, but is not a significant narcotics producer. Kosovo coordinates its multi-agency inter-ministerial efforts to combat narcotics trafficking through the National Coordinator for Anti-Drug Strategy. The Kosovo Police Narcotics Trafficking Investigation Directorate is primarily tasked with implementing Kosovo’s National Anti-Drug Strategy and Action Plan and is responsible for narcotics-related investigations, seizures, and arrests. The directorate reported a significant increase in staffing and technical support in 2012, attributing its improved counternarcotics performance during the year to this factor.

Over the first nine months of 2012, marijuana constituted the bulk of seizures (1,091.4 kilograms, or kg), followed by heroin (51.5 kg) and cocaine (7.2 kg), a significant increase from 2011. Police also seized cannabis seeds and plants, as well as 153 ecstasy tablets. Factors adversely impacting Kosovo’s efforts to combat narcotics trafficking include its geographic location, lack of control over northern municipalities, poor economy, and an ineffective border management system.

There are no comprehensive assessments of drug use in Kosovo. Based on available information, the vast majority of offenders are men ages 18-35, and marijuana is their drug of choice. The Ministries of Health and Education conduct drug education programs; community police officers educate students about risks of drug use, and non-governmental organizations such as Labyrinth assist with anti-drug education and drug treatment.

Estimating the extent to which corruption influences drug trafficking in Kosovo is difficult. While laws prohibit narcotics-related corruption, allegations persist that narcotics move across Kosovo’s borders by truck, bus, and private vehicle, sometimes aided by customs officers who accept bribes.

Kosovo adopted its first counternarcotics strategy in 2009 and is drafting a successor strategy. Because Kosovo is not yet a United Nations member state, it is party to relatively few international conventions and protocols or bilateral agreements relating to counternarcotics. Kosovo cooperates and exchanges information with neighbors through informal bilateral and multilateral meetings. U.S. law enforcement agencies continue to coordinate and share information with Kosovar authorities to develop investigations. Kosovo also cooperates with the United States on counternarcotics issues and receives technical assistance and training from U.S. assistance programs.

Kyrgyzstan

A. Introduction

Kyrgyzstan is a major transit country for illicit drugs, primarily heroin, from Afghanistan to Europe and Russia. The country’s geographical location, limited resources, weak law enforcement institutions, and politicized judiciary leave it vulnerable to exploitation by transnational drug trafficking networks. Illicit drugs often arrive in Kyrgyzstan via dangerous mountainous passes bordering Tajikistan. In 2012, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated that 75 to 80 metric tons (MT) of heroin and 18 to 20 MT of opium were trafficked through Tajikistan. According to local government statistics, upwards of 20 metric tons of illegal narcotics move through Kyrgyzstan each year. Kyrgyzstan is also beginning to experience a rise in local consumption of drugs, especially heroin and cannabis. There were no significant changes in domestic law enforcement and judiciary capabilities in 2012. Endemic corruption at all levels of government and society hinders efforts to successfully combat narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and other crimes.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

When he assumed office in 2011, President Almazbek Atambayev announced his intent to increase the effectiveness and capacity of all agencies devoted to counternarcotics efforts, especially the State Drug Control Service (SDCS). Although this goal remains in place, the SDCS has struggled to find competent leadership and increase its effectiveness. Between July and September of 2012, four chairmen were named to lead the SDCS in quick succession. The current incumbent, Alymbay Sultanov, previously served as Chairman of the Kyrgyz Drug Control Agency, a predecessor agency to the SDCS. There has been a slight uptick in drug seizures since Sultanov’s appointment, although net seizures remain low.

2. Supply Reduction

Kyrgyzstan partners with United States to train and equip law enforcement bodies including the State Drug Control Service (SDCS). The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) opened its first field office in Kyrgyzstan in 2012. DEA worked closely with local law enforcement to conduct international narcotics investigations and to evaluate emerging trends. DEA also partnered with other offices in the region to coordinate and establish strong working relationships. In addition, Kyrgyzstan is also a member of Central Asian Regional Integration and Coordination Centre (CARICC), which promotes regional coordination and cooperation among participating states to stop drug trafficking.

In the first nine months of 2012, the Ministry of Interior (MVD) reportedly initiated 1,352 of the 1,530 current total drug cases in the Kyrgyz Republic. According to official government of Kyrgyzstan statistics, law enforcement bodies seized between three to seven MT of narcotics in 2011. These statistics are questionable, however, as the technology and techniques used to identify and weigh narcotics are rudimentary.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The Government of Kyrgyzstan seeks to reduce domestic demand for illicit drugs through working with international partners such as UNODC and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). Programs administered by these international organizations focus on both improving the capacity of law enforcement and educating youth. According to UNODC, Kyrgyzstan has rising rates of both intravenous drug use and HIV. This trend is most evident in the south where drugs are heavily trafficked and where prostitution and poverty loom large. Local experts believe that there are between 20,000 and 50,000 drug users in Kyrgyzstan. Several treatment, detoxification, and methadone clinics exist in Kyrgyzstan but they are often poorly staffed and equipped. Methadone clinics came under fire in early 2011 after the release of the film, “The Trap,” which presented a negative view of methadone treatment. Several parliamentarians called for the closure of methadone clinics at the time of the film’s release, but none have been closed to date.

4. Corruption

As a matter of government policy, the Government of Kyrgyzstan does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, corruption, judicial inefficiency, and organized crime remain ongoing problems for the Government of Kyrgyzstan. The government failed to implement effective civil service, tax, and law enforcement reforms which would reduce corruption. Widespread public perception is that government workers pay for their positions in order to gain direct access to bribes and the lucrative narcotics trade. A prime example of such abuse would be within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It is not uncommon for traffic police to stop local drivers and demand bribes in exchange for making purported infractions disappear. Many high-ranking government officials are also suspected of supporting and profiting from narcotics trafficking. Several towns in the south are major distribution and trafficking hubs that appear to be controlled by local leaders and mayors’ offices.

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

The Government of Kyrgyzstan recognizes the challenges posed by drug trafficking but has not generated a unified, government-wide approach to reduce supply or demand. Kyrgyzstan is developing an integrated national strategy, which it expects to release in early 2013. The United States supports the development of the national strategy through joint consultations facilitated by the UNODC in Bishkek.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Kyrgyz national Kamychbek Kolbayev as part of the Brothers’ Circle Transnational Organized Crime group on February 23, 2012. Kolbayev had previously been designated under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act on June 1, 2011. Kolbayev was in custody in Kyrgyzstan as of December 31, 2012. The Treasury Department designated Zakhary Kalashov, Almanbet Anapiyaev, and Adilet Kasenov all also associated with the Brothers’ Circle on December 20, 2012. Kasenov, a Kyrgyz national, is in custody in Kyrgyzstan as of December 31, 2012. These designations were made pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, which targets entities or individuals determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to be significant transnational criminal organizations or to have links to such organizations.

The United States’ policy objectives in Kyrgyzstan are to enhance the existing capacity of law enforcement agencies, help the Government of Kyrgyzstan expand its ability to investigate and prosecute criminal cases, and to improve overall security in the country. In 2012, the United States provided an estimated $3 million in counternarcotics support to Kyrgyzstan by means of training and technical assistance. In particular, U.S. assistance helped to facilitate the professionalization of the police by promoting information sharing with their counterparts in neighboring countries such as Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. The U.S. supported a multi-year communication program to improve the interdiction capacities of border troops. In addition, DEA established a satellite office inside the SDCS headquarters and provided training programs and operational support to increase the size and scope of drug investigations. SDCS and DEA cooperate under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2011 that allows for the sharing of drug intelligence and promotes closer cooperation on international investigations. The United States also provided technical assistance such as radios and funded the building of border outposts in remote areas of Kyrgyzstan.

D. Conclusion

The Government of Kyrgyzstan faces many challenges in effectively enforcing the drug laws of the Kyrgyz Republic and to eradicate narcotics trafficking and drug abuse within its borders. Over the course of 2013, the United States will continue to support the development of capacity building of law enforcement agencies and legislation which supports counternarcotics efforts. The United States will also encourage better coordination among the various law enforcement agencies that play a role in counternarcotics.

Laos

A. Introduction

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is a major transit country for opium, heroin and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and is a major producer of opium. Laos sits at the heart of the regional drug trade in mainland Southeast Asia, sharing remote and poorly-controlled borders with Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China. Economic development and the improvement of Laos’ road, bridge and communications networks have created opportunities for the illicit drug trade to grow.

The Lao government recognizes the threat posed by illegal narcotics production and trafficking and has taken some actions to address it, especially in the areas of demand reduction and alternative development. However, the Lao government possesses little ability to act independently of international donor support, since a high percentage of the government’s budget comes from donor aid. Lao law enforcement suffers from a lack of training and resources to combat internal drug crime. Additionally, Lao law enforcement must monitor 3,000 miles of mountainous and Mekong River border regions used by drug traffickers to smuggle contraband into and out of the country.

From 1998 to 2007, opium cultivation decreased by 95 percent due to aggressive government action and international cooperation. Since then, however, cultivation has rebounded, rising from 1,500 hectares (ha) in 2007 to 6,800 ha in 2012, as estimated by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Although reporting does not indicate that ATS tablets are being produced in Laos, drug seizures indicate that they are moving through Laos in increasing quantities.

Intravenous drug use is a contributing factor to HIV transmission. A recent estimate puts the number of intravenous drug users (IDUs) in the country at 1,500.

In April 2012, Lao police arrested Naw Kham, a major Burmese trafficker and source of violence in the Golden Triangle region. Quickly sent to China, Kham and five accomplices were convicted in October of having attacked a Chinese commercial vessel on the Mekong River and killing 13 of its crew members.

B. Drug Control Accomplishment, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

The National Drug Control Master Plan, 2009-2013, written with international assistance, remains the guiding document for the Lao government’s drug control strategy. The Comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy for the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision (LCDC) includes nine elements covering:

  • Trend analysis and risk assessment
  • Alternative development and poverty reduction
  • Drug demand reduction and HIV/AIDS prevention
  • Civic awareness and community mobilization
  • Law enforcement
  • Criminal justice and the rule of law
  • Chemical precursor control and forensics capacity
  • International and national cooperation
  • Institutional capacity-building

This national strategy calls for a budget of $72 million for the LCDC over the course of the plan, largely funded by international donors and UNODC. As of November 2012, $15 million had been funded.

Since 1998, the United States has provided Laos with $33.7 million in narcotics-related assistance. Cooperation through crop substitution programs helped to significantly reduce opium cultivation from 27,000 ha in 1998 to 1,500 ha in 2007. Since 2007, however, cultivation has been slowly increasing.

The LCDC is responsible for managing efforts to combat the trafficking and abuse of illegal drugs via demand reduction, crop control, and law enforcement. The top policy-making body for counternarcotics is the National Steering Committee to Combat Drugs (NSCCD), chaired by the Prime Minister. The head of LCDC and the Minister of Public Security (MOPS) are co-chairs. The NSCCD helps integrate the domestic law-enforcement activities of MOPS with the broader coordinating functions of LCDC.

Lao drug police are organized into 17 provincial Counter Narcotics Units (CNUs). Although the Lao government participates in regional conferences on counternarcotics cooperation, it rarely shares operational information.

Laos has no bilateral extradition or mutual legal assistance agreements with the United States.

2. Supply Reduction

Between January and June 2012, the Lao government reportedly seized 29 kg of heroin (almost twice as much as in same period of previous year), 15.1 kg of opium (slightly less than previous year), 2.26 metric tons of marijuana (up by more than half), and 8,714,205 methamphetamine tablets (a 6-fold increase, mostly due to seizures of 7.2 million tablets in May).

Most drug-related arrests in Laos in 2012 were for methamphetamine trafficking and use. Methamphetamine is the cheapest and most common illegal drug in Laos. Profit margins for traffickers are higher than for any other illegal drug due to high volume and low production expenses. There has been an increase in the availability of other synthetic drugs. MDMA (ecstasy) and crystal methamphetamine are available in Vientiane and major tourist destinations. Most synthetic drugs come from Burma. Lao authorities moved decisively in the fall of 2012 to close down drug-selling establishments in Vang Vieng (nearly 100 miles north of Vientiane), which had been a haven for young foreign travelers seeking cheap drugs.

Laos continues to struggle against an upward trend in the supply of opium. Opium cultivation was banned in 1972; however, hectares planted or harvested remains over 1,000 (the U.S. “Majors List” criterion) and is unlikely to fall below that milestone in the near future. The demand for opium continues in the remote highlands of Laos, as well as in China and Thailand. Opium cultivation occurs in areas bordering China, Vietnam, and Burma. Most poppy is grown in areas that have received little or no development assistance. Heroin is trafficked from Burma through Laos to markets in China and Vietnam.

Marijuana is also produced in Laos. Commercial quantities for regional export are grown in large plantation-type plots, sometimes financed by foreign customers, primarily in Thailand.

The Lao government seeks international support for supply reduction. A three-year UNODC project to upgrade Laos’ law enforcement capacity, at the cost of almost $900,000, ended in 2012.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The LCDC’s budget for demand reduction in 2011 included approximately $200,000 for drug-treatment centers. UNODC implemented projects to promote the production of licit crops, alternative livelihoods, and efforts to prevent HIV among injecting drug users.

Out of a Lao population of 6.5 million (2005), the LCDC estimates 40,000 are methamphetamine users, and the UNODC annual report of its 2012 opium survey for Laos estimates 10,776 opium users. Many observers believe that consumption has increased significantly for synthetic drugs. Methamphetamine addicts frequently turn to crime to support their addiction. Drug addiction treatment facilities remain deficient in human resources and post-discharge follow-up. The United States funds the two principal treatment facilities, one near Vientiane and one in Savannakhet.

U.S.-funded UNODC programs in northern Laos remain the only treatment and rehabilitation activities there for opium addicts. A new U.S.-funded pilot project promotes community-based treatment in Vientiane.

4. Corruption

As a matter of government policy, the Lao government does not encourage the illicit production or distribution of narcotic drugs, psychotropic or other controlled substances, or the laundering of the proceeds of illegal drug transactions. The State Inspection Authority is the Lao government organization charged with fighting corruption. Salaries for police, military and civil servants are low, and corruption in Laos continues to plague law enforcement and government. Lao law explicitly prohibits official corruption, and there have been no reported arrests, prosecutions or convictions of officials for drug-related corruption. However, it is likely that corruption in the security forces and government plays a role in narcotics trafficking in Laos.

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

The United States signed initial agreements with Laos to provide international narcotics control assistance in 1989 and has since signed additional letters of agreement with amendments to provide additional assistance for crop control, drug demand reduction, and law enforcement cooperation annually. The United States continues to implement agreements signed in 2011 to assist Lao Customs with training and equipment and with UNODC to promote legal sector reform in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice. In 2012, the United States funded a UNODC effort to assist the Office of the Supreme Public Prosecutor to increase the use of evidence in criminal trials.

Most U.S. counternarcotics assistance to Laos has supported the effort to reduce poppy cultivation and, more recently, to bring about demand reduction. In 2012, U.S. crop control assistance continued winding down in favor of justice-sector and law-enforcement reform, consistent with U.S. priorities. Law enforcement assistance continues to support operations, training and equipment for the Drug Control Division of MOPS, provincial CNUs, and Lao Customs. The Law Enforcement and Narcotics Section of the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane and UNODC continued efforts to raise the profile of money laundering and terrorist financing in Laos in 2012. Laos is currently receiving assistance from the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) to improve its weak anti-money laundering (AML) regime. In July, the APG found the Lao AML framework seriously deficient. In November, Luxembourg and Mongolia experts visited Vientiane as part of an UNCAC peer review.

In 2012, with funding from the United States, 33 Lao officials participated in regional training at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok.

D. Conclusion

Counternarcotics cooperation between Laos and the United States continues to evolve, but the significant gains in poppy eradication and crop substitution of the 1990s and 2000s are increasingly at risk due to factors that include high opium prices and a dearth of funding for crop-substitution programs. Even more troublesome is the increase in ATS trafficking and usage in Laos. The effort to treat ATS addiction is straining Laos’ limited treatment resources. ATS also figures prominently in the rise in violence along Laos’ borders with Burma, Thailand and China in the Golden Triangle area.

Laos’ justice, law enforcement and security systems lack the resources necessary to counter the rise in narcotics-related crime that has accompanied the country’s increasing economic development. Institution building within the Lao government and basic law enforcement training are needed, emphasizing interdiction, investigation, prosecution and, for the guilty, incarceration. Regional law enforcement cooperation among Vietnam, China, Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia is also vital to Laos’ fight against drug trafficking. The United States will continue to work on improving cooperation with Laos as it seeks to address these problems.

Lebanon

A. Introduction

Lebanon is a transit country for cocaine and heroin. Criminal networks based in West Africa, Panama, and Colombia, including some with ties to known weapons smuggling and terrorist networks, work with Lebanese networks to traffic drugs to markets in Europe and the Gulf States. Additionally, minor quantities of heroin may be processed in remote side valleys of the Bekaa Valley which are difficult for Lebanese security forces to control. Despite a robust eradication program, the stagnant economic situation in rural Lebanon makes illicit crop cultivation appealing to local farmers in the Bekaa Valley, a condition recently exacerbated by the worsening security situation in Syria that has interrupted legitimate export opportunities.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policy, and Trends

1. Institutional Development and Supply Reduction

The Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) Counter Narcotics Units are well led, equipped, and disciplined. The ISF estimates that yearly illicit drug production continues to decline from its peak in 2002, due in large part to regular, high-profile eradication campaigns. The ISF Counter Narcotics Units’ eradication program came to a halt between August 15 and mid-September due to the redeployment of security forces to other parts of the country to respond to an outbreak of sectarian instability. This redeployment led to the cultivation and some harvesting of marijuana and hashish. Despite the temporary halt to the program, the ISF Counter Narcotics Units estimates that 75 percent of the cultivation was eradicated before it could be harvested.

Different types of drugs transit through and are available in Lebanon, including: marijuana, hashish, heroin, cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), and other synthetics such as MDMA (ecstasy). There has been a rise in synthetic drugs, particularly fenethylline, due to local law enforcement’s lack of familiarity with identifying these types of drugs and the lack of import restrictions on precursor chemicals. While some synthetic drugs are manufactured in Lebanon, they are primarily smuggled into the country from Eastern Europe both for sale to high-income recreational users in Lebanon and for transit to the Gulf States.

As of October 2012, the ISF reported 2,198 drug related arrests since the beginning of the year, which is up slightly over the same time period in 2011. The ISF arrested 284 heroin users, 394 cocaine users, 773 hashish users, and 133 drug users of various synthetics. Between January and the end of September, Lebanese authorities seized 69 kilograms (kg) of cannabis, 5 kg of cocaine, and 188 kg of hashish. Authorities also seized 206,000 fenethylline pills, 6 kg of ephedrine powder and 13 liters of ATS. Tourists and international visitors traffic in small quantities of illegal drugs, mostly for personal use, although the extent of this problem remains unknown. The Ministry of Interior conducts thorough entry inspections using recently trained counternarcotics detection canines at Beirut airport.

2. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

There are no reliable estimates of the number of drug users in Lebanon. There are several detoxification and rehabilitation programs, some of which receive support from the Ministries of Social Affairs and Public Health and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime.

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

The Lebanese Government has pledged to work with local farmers affected by eradication programs on a crop substitution program, but it has not finalized the details of remuneration or the substitution of crops.

The United States donated significant resources to ISF Counter Narcotics Units in 2012 including vehicles; communications and tactical gear; patrol boats; and spray trucks to assist in the narcotics eradication program.

The U.S. government has increased cooperation with the Government of Lebanon to combat money laundering and its connections to the international drug trade. Lebanon continues to be a hub for drug money laundering as evidenced by the 2011 designation of Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB) as a financial institution of primary money laundering concern. The LCB facilitated money laundering activities of an international narcotics trafficking and money laundering network.

There is an ongoing investigation into this network, which moved illegal drugs from South America to Europe and the Middle East via West Africa and laundered hundreds of millions of dollars monthly through accounts held at LCB. This network also used trade-based money laundering tactics involving consumer goods throughout the world, including used-car dealerships in the United States. The terrorist organization Hizballah received financial support from the criminal activities of this network. DEA continues to investigate ongoing money laundering drug trafficking organizations within Lebanon.

D. Conclusion

Lebanon is working to confront drug trafficking networks operating on its territory, despite considerable challenges. Lebanon has a nascent but functioning judicial system that is slowly recovering from the effects of civil war and Syrian occupation, and the number of arrests and convictions for drug trafficking rose in 2012. The United States will continue to support improvements to Lebanon’s enforcement institutions to suppress narcotics trafficking and its associated financial crimes.

Liberia

A. Introduction

Liberia is not a significant transit country for illicit narcotics, but the country’s weak law enforcement capacity, porous border controls, and proximity to major drug transit routes leave it vulnerable to becoming one. While Liberia is not a significant producer of illicit narcotics, local drug use, particularly of marijuana, is common. Other drug usage includes heroin (mostly smoked) and cocaine (snorted). Local authorities have reported increasing prevalence of amphetamines. However, reliable data on consumption of narcotics or overall drug trends are not readily available. Locally consumed drugs enter Liberia via commercial aircraft and maritime vessels.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Given its long coastline, uncontrolled territorial waters, predominantly open land borders, and years of internal strife, Liberia remains vulnerable to narcotics trafficking networks. Local authorities are aware of the threat and are working with the United States and other donors to prevent illicit criminal networks from gaining a strong foothold in the country. Several local law enforcement agencies work in concert to fight narcotics trafficking in Liberia, including the Liberian National Police, the Coast Guard, the National Security Agency, and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

In 2010 Liberia signed the "West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI) Freetown Commitment," a UN initiative to address the growing problem of illicit drug trafficking, organized crime, and drug abuse throughout the sub-region. A cornerstone of the WACI was the establishment of a Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) in post-conflict states (including Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra-Leone) with the intent of preventing organized crime networks from working with weapons dealers. Although Liberia’s TCU is not yet fully operational, it should provide a coordination mechanism for counternarcotics efforts in Liberia. The Ministry of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency, with support from the United States and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), continue to review the draft of new legislation related to drugs and organized crime in Liberia, which, if enacted, should create a stronger foundation for more effective law enforcement activities. Under Liberia’s existing legislation, defendants can only be charged under public health laws.

The Liberian Drug Enforcement Agency benefited from new leadership in 2012 and, in recognition of its growing effectiveness, began to receive international donor assistance for the first time.

The U.S.-Liberia extradition treaty dates to 1939 and is in effect.

2. Supply Reduction

Local production of marijuana is not prioritized as a major concern by most of the public; however, local law enforcement authorities occasionally conduct eradication operations. These sporadic efforts have not included provision for alternative livelihoods and have been largely ineffective. Little information exists regarding the extent of local cannabis cultivation, or the networks responsible for local sales, but marijuana is clearly the most widely available drug in the country.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

UNODC’s 2011 report notes that overall consumption of cannabis is high, including cannabis combined with other illicit drugs. Occasionally, marijuana is mixed with cocaine, heroin, or pharmaceutical products. Psychotropic drugs are not common in Liberia, since the local population lacks the disposable income to buy them. Low average incomes and high unemployment rates continue to plague Liberia, leaving many without the income to purchase illicit drugs. However, drug use is increasing in the emerging middle class and is likely to grow as the economy continues to recover from years of conflict. Use of other illicit drugs, independent of cannabis, is low to moderate. However, statistical tracking mechanisms are nascent and reliable data are not yet available. Historically, drug abuse was strongly linked to Liberia’s civil conflict from 1989-2003, which left behind more than 100,000 ex-combatants. Many of the combatants used drugs during the war and remain users. The government has conducted very little drug rehabilitation and treatment since the pre-war era. Health professionals refer addicts to a psychiatric ward or to one of the few NGOs working in the field. Liberia’s unemployment rate also plays a role in its drug abuse problem, with only 15 to 20 percent of the workforce employed in the formal sector.

Liberians United Against Drug Abuse, an NGO founded in 1993, provides limited drug awareness education through workshops and radio announcements. Another local NGO, Teen Challenge, offers drug rehabilitation to a limited number of men each year. Christian Children’s Fund lists 40 active NGO youth organizations, with more than one fourth dealing with HIV/AIDS prevention/treatment and general health awareness training, but only three of these NGOs specifically target drug abuse issues.

4. Corruption

The Government of Liberia neither encourages nor facilitates the production or distribution of illicit drugs, nor the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The United States has no information of senior government officials engaging in such activity.

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

In cooperation with other donor countries and organizations, the United States is working with the Government of Liberia to fight international narcotics trafficking and reduce local demand. In late 2011, the United States funded UNODC’s assessment of drug use, treatment, prevention, and needs in Liberia. In 2012, the United States supported UNODC’s special assessment of the Liberian Drug Enforcement Agency. In 2013, the United States plans to introduce new demand reduction assistance, which will support the integration of preventive drug education into school curriculums, the creation of outreach centers for drug addicts, the professional training of addiction treatment providers, and the increased capacity of governmental service-providers and NGOs to focus their demand reduction efforts on at-risk children and adolescents. In 2013, the United States will also provide an advisor to the Liberian Drug Enforcement Agency.

The United States launched the West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative (WACSI) in 2011, a five-year initiative to increase global security by addressing transnational organized crime, particularly drug trafficking, in West Africa. Under WACSI, U.S. assistance to Liberia will focus on establishing functional and accountable institutions and building basic operational capacity

D. Conclusion

The Government of Liberia is committed to preventing transnational criminal organizations from gaining a foothold in its territory, but currently lacks the resources to respond adequately to this challenge. The Liberian government requires additional training and assistance to be able to successfully investigate and prosecute counternarcotics and financial crimes. The United States will continue to cooperate with international donors to support Liberia’s efforts and assist its efforts to fulfill its international drug control commitments.

Malaysia

Malaysia is neither a significant source country nor a major transit point for U.S.-bound illegal drugs. However, regional and domestic drug-trafficking remains a problem. International drug syndicates are increasingly turning to Malaysia as a production site for crystal methamphetamine (“ice”) and ecstasy (MDMA). Drugs smuggled into Malaysia include heroin and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) from the Golden Triangle (Thailand, Burma, Laos), and ecstasy, cocaine, erimin-5 (nimetazepam), and methamphetamine from several countries, particularly Iran. Nigerian and Iranian drug trafficking organizations use Kuala Lumpur as a hub for illegal trafficking to markets across Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific region. Drugs transiting Malaysia do not have a significant impact on the U.S. market. Nigerian-based trafficking organizations mail cocaine to Kuala Lumpur for further distribution. There is no significant cultivation of illicit drug crops in Malaysia. While local consumption of drugs is limited in Malaysia, police are concerned about increased use of methamphetamine. Ketamine and erimin-5 remain popular drugs on the local market.

The Malaysian government promotes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) “Drug-Free by 2015” policy. Malaysian officials made 90,429 drug-related arrests between January and September 2012. Malaysia's counter-narcotics officials have the support of senior officials, but problems with the legal system hinder enforcement and interdiction efforts. Malaysian law currently stipulates a mandatory death penalty if convicted of “trafficking,” with harsh sentences for possession of smaller quantities. In practice, minor offenders generally are placed into treatment programs instead of prison. When major traffickers are arrested, they are often detained without trial or charged under the Dangerous Drugs Act. Often, charges are reduced, or, if convicted of drug trafficking, the sentence is sometimes commuted upon appeal.

Over the last three years, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has deepened its cooperation with Malaysian counterparts on drug investigations. The U.S. Coast Guard continued its maritime law enforcement training program with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) by conducting Joint Boarding Officer and curriculum development courses to further develop the MMEA’s instructional capabilities. U.S. and Malaysian law enforcement authorities cooperate on extradition and mutual legal assistance through treaties in force since 1997 and 2009, respectively.

In 2013, the United States will strengthen coordination and communication with Malaysian law enforcement authorities in counternarcotics efforts, including by assisting interdiction efforts, sharing intelligence, funding counternarcotics training for Malaysian law enforcement officers, and working to improve Malaysia's investigative and prosecutorial processes.

Mexico

A. Introduction

Mexico remains a major transit and source country for illicit drugs destined for the United States (including cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine), and a center for money laundering. Although narcotics trafficking and related violence in Mexico remain significant problems, signs of improvement regarding violence emerged in 2012. According to a major Mexican newspaper, the annual number of organized crime-related homicides through November 2012 declined by an estimated 19 percent from 2011. This overall decline was led by abatement of violence in Chihuahua and several other states. Shifting patterns of violence, however, led to higher homicide rates elsewhere.

Mexico aggressively combats drug trafficking, and U.S.-Mexico cooperation in this area is unprecedented. The bilateral Merida Initiative is a major component of these efforts; since 2008, it has provided some $1.1 billion in training, equipment, and technical assistance to help transform Mexico’s judicial and security institutions. Such cooperation has boosted Mexican efforts to bring to justice leaders of transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). That success, however, has also resulted in smaller, fractured organizations that have violently attempted to consolidate their power. Also, as narcotics-driven profits fall, TCOs have increasingly turned to domestic criminal activities such as kidnapping, extortion, human trafficking, and retail drug sales.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Mexico has strengthened its institutional capacity to confront TCOs. The Secretariat of Public Security has restructured and tripled the size of its Federal Police, from 11,000 officers in 2006 to nearly 40,000 by the end of 2012. To fight TCOs at the state level, the Federal District and 29 of 31 states (except Yucatan and Tabasco) are creating Accredited State Police (PEA) units (formerly called Model Police Units) that are composed of specially-trained and vetted investigators, analysts, and operations personnel. To date, over 10,000 PEA officers have received training from the Mexican government.

Similarly, the Mexican customs service has expanded its traditional focus on revenue collection to include enforcing contraband and intellectual property violations. The Office of the Attorney General (PGR) has restructured key divisions, dismissed employees who failed internal vetting, and continued efforts to increase prosecution rates. Additionally, many states are rebuilding their police forces to reduce corruption.

Mexico’s 2013 budget for all security-related functions is approximately $ 9.4 billion, an increase of 3.7 percent from 2012 budget levels. Funding is used to combat organized crime, expand crime prevention programs, improve interagency coordination, consolidate police forces, support justice reforms, and encourage citizen participation in crime control.

Justice sector reforms remain uneven. Twenty-two of 31 states have adopted new criminal procedure codes, in compliance with a 2008 federal constitutional reform requiring such legislation by 2016. The Calderon administration presented a new federal code of criminal procedure to Congress in 2011. The Congress did not bring the legislation to the floor, and will thus be taken up by the newly elected body.

A long-awaited anti-money laundering law was approved in October 2012 that aims to: (1) impose harsher sanctions; (2) create a specialized PGR unit for investigations and prosecutions; and (3) restrict the amount of U.S. banknotes and coins that Mexican banks may receive. It will take effect nine months after its passage.

The current U.S.-Mexico bilateral extradition treaty has been in force since 1980. A 2001 Protocol to that instrument allows for temporary surrender for trial of fugitives serving a sentence in one country but wanted on criminal charges in another. A bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty fosters cooperation in judicial assistance matters.

Multilaterally, Mexico is a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, and subscribes to the 1996 Anti-Drug Strategy in the Hemisphere and the 1990 Declaration of Ixtapa. It participates, along with the United States and Colombia, in a tripartite group that meets semi-annually to discuss counternarcotics issues.

Likewise, Mexico plays a leading role in the Central American Integration System and with Central American countries to improve regional security. It also participates in the semi-annual Multilateral Maritime Counterdrug Summit, which includes the United States, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and all Central American countries. Similarly, in September 2012, Mexico attended the International Drug Enforcement Conference, a global forum for senior law enforcement officials.

The U.S. and Mexican governments also use North American Maritime Security Initiative (NAMSI) Standard Operating Procedures for maritime interdiction operations. U.S., Canadian, and Mexican officials convene quarterly NAMSI meetings to develop and execute coordinated operations.

2. Supply Reduction

As of December 27, 2012, the Government of Mexico seized over 3 metric tons (MT) of cocaine, 1,250 MT of marijuana, 182 kilograms (kg) of heroin, over 30 MT of methamphetamine, and 1.46 MT of opium gum. Additionally, it eradicated 8,659 hectares (ha) of marijuana and 14,000 ha of opium poppy, and dismantled 267 methamphetamine labs. Also during this reporting period, 22,964 Mexican nationals and 251 foreign nationals were arrested on organized crime charges. Fifteen high-level drug traffickers were captured or killed, including high-ranking members and co-leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel, Zetas Cartel, and Gulf Cartel.

Marijuana and opium poppy are primarily grown in rural areas of Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Durango, and Guerrero with small crops in Sonora, Nayarit, Michoacan, and Oaxaca.

Mexico accounts for approximately seven percent of the world’s heroin supply, producing primarily black tar and brown powder heroin. White heroin is also produced domestically and smuggled into Mexico from South America. While most heroin is smuggled into the United States, its use within Mexico is also increasing.

While the focus on TCOs has produced significant results in Mexico, interdiction of cocaine poses problems. Over 90 percent of U.S.-bound cocaine transits Mexico and Central America. Due to insufficient information about inbound shipments and drug movements inside Mexico, less than two percent of cocaine assessed to be transiting Mexico was seized in 2011-12. Nonetheless, the Government of Mexico cooperates closely with the U.S. government on this issue.

The seizure of drug labs that produce methamphetamine and other synthetic drugs has increased dramatically. During the Calderon administration, officials seized 958 drug labs, a 660-percent increase over the 145 labs seized during the prior administration. Similarly, authorities seized 267 labs through December 27, 2012, compared to 227 in all of 2011.

Since 2008, Mexican smugglers have significantly expanded their presence in Central America. Land corridors through Central America and Mexico are now the most significant transit routes for cocaine from South America. While the United States remains the primary destination for illicit drugs trafficked via Mexico, trafficking routes are evolving due to increased interdiction and TCO efforts to supply growing markets in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

According to the most recent information available from Mexico’s National Council Against Addictions (CONADIC), prevelence of marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine use nationwide increased steadily from 2002 to 2008, but has since stabilized. Neverthless, recent drug use by men between 18 and 24 years of age has risen significantly. Northern states are disproportionately impacted by increased availability of drugs from failed smuggling attempts and the use of drugs as payment.

Mexico’s demand reduction priorities, which receive Merida Initiative support, include: creating a standardized certification program for drug treatment counselors; promoting the development of drug courts; improving addiction research; and connecting government-supported clinics with a private network. Using Merida funds, Mexico has established a drug treatment partnership with the United States to establish clinical trial nodes in Mexico. A primary care provider for drug-addicted youth has expanded its treatment centers in underserved areas of Ciudad Juarez through a Merida grant. And during 2012, six hundred new counselors were trained in a standardized curriculum developed with support from the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission and Merida assistance, with plans to train 5,000 additional counselors. Mexico’s 2012 budget for addiction-related activities (including alcohol and tobacco) is approximately $84 million.

4. Corruption

Corruption remains a substantial impediment to Mexican counternarcotics efforts, but federal anti-corruption standards are improving. The Mexican government took unprecedented steps to reduce corruption in law enforcement, and designated the National System for Public Security (SESNSP) as the agency responsible for overseeing stronger vetting processes for law enforcement, which includes increased use of polygraph exams, toxicological tests, and background investigations. Each Mexican state has established a “Control de Confianza” Center (Center for Evaluation and Trust Control) that is responsible for vetting all law enforcement police officers in that state. Also, some Mexican law enforcement entities have established, restructured, or augmented their internal affairs offices, and judges can no longer reinstate police officers fired for corruption.

Long under-resourced and inadequately trained, state and municipal law enforcement officials remain vulnerable to corruption. Although progress in vetting police officers has been uneven, state vetting (“Control de Confianza”) centers have begun identifying corrupt police officers and prompted the removal of officers and rejection of police recruits. The Mexican government and some state governors conducted large-scale dismissals of municipal police forces where corruption is prevalent. Public sentiment in Mexico is mixed about these efforts. Some appreciate the focus on corruption, but others are apprehensive about the high turnover among police, minimal police interaction with citizens, and lack of attention to human rights abuses. The mixed public sentiment, new vetting requirements, and uneven reform are symptomatic of the fundamental change Mexico’s law enforcement community is experiencing.

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

Since 2008, United States has provided some $1.1 billion in assistance. U.S. assistance goes toward four areas: 1) disrupt and dismantle the capacity of organized criminal groups to operate; 2) institutionalize the capacity to sustain the rule of law; 3) construct a twenty-first century border; and 4) build strong and resilient communities. U.S.-Mexico cooperation has been used to train over 55,000 law enforcement and justice sector officials, including 7,500 Federal Police officers. Likewise, it has helped state criminal justice reforms, strengthened crime prevention/reduction efforts, and funded programs for at-risk youth. It also supports human rights initiatives that help protect human rights defenders and journalists.

U.S. and Mexican law enforcement exchange information from investigations and seizures of illegal weapons at monthly meetings. Such cooperation is especially relevant given that, according to the Department of Justice, of the 99,691 weapons that were recovered in Mexico between 2007 and 2011 and submitted to the ATF for tracing, 68,161 originated in the United States. Also, Mexico extradited 115 people to the United States in 2012, an all-time record including 52 for narcotics-related offenses.

The United States also provided training in maritime law enforcement, port security, and professional development for the Mexican Navy officer and enlisted corps.

D. Conclusion

Mexico has made significant progress in dismantling and disrupting TCOs and their operations. This progress has led to a number of TCO leaders being brought to justice, the fragmentation of cartels, and a reduction in violence, as evidenced by the decline in organized crime-related homicides in 2012. Mexico’s efforts to reform its judiciary, improve its police forces, reform its federal prison system, and address money laundering continue. These efforts have fortified Mexico’s state institutions while helping to weaken TCOs and their ability to operate. Nonetheless, domestic illegal narcotics production appears to have increased, as has drug use among Mexicans. And, although seizures of methamphetamines have increased, interdiction of cocaine bound for the United States is relatively limited.

Future bilateral efforts should emphasize strengthening Mexican institutions, continued expansion of programs to states and municipalities, and further progress toward achieving our shared goals. The focus of U.S.-Mexico cooperation has shifted from providing large scale equipment to engaging in training and capacity building, and from focusing on the federal-level to building state- and municipal-level capabilities. Accordingly, justice sector reforms, drug demand reduction, and culture of lawfulness initiatives should play a larger role. The United States should also continue programs to curb its domestic drug demand and inhibit the illegal flow of arms and cash into Mexico.

In sum, the U.S.-Mexico relationship remains strong. Both parties are committed to working together to combat TCOs, strengthen Mexican institutions, and support the rule of law.

[This is a mobile copy of Country Reports - Honduras through Mexico]