International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1997
CONTINUATION OF EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA
Sweden is not a principal illicit drug production or trafficking country. Swedish authorities are worried about more aggressive marketing of drugs and changing drug attitudes among the young and their use of Ecstasy at "rave" parties. New drugs are "smart drugs," "eco-drugs," and the steroid GHB. The use of a substance in the mushroom "Psylocybe Semilanceata" is also beginning to occur in Sweden. Drugs originating and transiting formerly communist Europe continue to be a real problem for Swedish law enforcement. The diversion of precursor chemicals and money laundering activity remain relatively minor problems. Sweden has a zero-tolerance policy and opposes liberalization. In 1997, Sweden increased its cooperation with the EU and with the Baltic nations to combat drug trafficking and money laundering.
II. Status of Country
Sweden adheres to a very restrictive policy towards illicit drugs. Amphetamine and cannabis/hashish remain the most frequently abused drugs. However, Ecstasy has the biggest increase in abuse. It is used by the young middle-class (ages 15-20) at nightspots and large "rave" parties in major cities and increasingly in smaller towns. In 1997, the number of amphetamine seizures were about equal to the number of cannabis/hashish seizures. Smaller quanitities of heroin and LSD are also used. Cocaine seems not to have become as serious a problem as was feared a few years ago.
The Government of Sweden (GOS) continues its traditional, strict counternarcotics approach to drug control issues. The Swedish National Institute for Public Health continues to advocate a healthy lifestyle to prevent drug abuse; it also subsidizes drug use prevention programs in the private sector. The latest GOS nation-wide study, published in 1993, indicated that there were 14,000-20,000 daily drug users in Sweden in 1992 (about 2 percent of the total population). Swedish authorities believe the number of hard-core daily users has not changed significantly, although smaller studies suggest that weekend use among the young is increasing. In 1995, the Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN) initiated a major investigation called ESPAD, the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs, comprising 15-16-year-olds in 26 nations. The result, published in November 1997, shows that cannabis is the most prevalent drug.
The GOS monitors imports and exports of all precursor and essential chemicals. The Swedish Medical Products Agency is responsible for precursor and essential chemical controls. Thanks to EU membership, in 1997, the Swedish police initiated a joint program with the Customs and the Medical Products Agency to create a national network of contact persons dealing with precursors. The idea is also to train trainers within enforcement to spread knowledge about precursors and to hold seminars on the potential threat of precursors.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997
Policy Initiatives. The Swedish police force maintains a cooperative, informal relationship with authorities in many countries to control drug smuggling. Swedish Customs and police officials train Baltic authorities in drug trafficking intelligence work. They are receiving from a 1993 multi-year program $8.5 million to assist Baltic nations with various projects such as building criminal surveillance centers, and providing technical assistance for controlling borders. The program also gives training to the Nordic Baltic Police Academy, including forensic training, special forces training, and advanced narcotics training. Sweden also continues to assist Russia and Poland in drug enforcement training.
In May 1996, the heads of governments of the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) established a task force on organized crime in the Baltic Sea region to combat the increasing levels of organized crime, including drug trafficking and money laundering. The task force consists of personal representatives of the CBSS government heads. In 1997, six joint operations on, inter-alia, amphetamine and money laundering were carried out.
Sweden participates in a number of international anti-drug fora, including the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP), and the Dublin Group. In March 1997, Sweden proposed and won majority support to evaluate UNDCP's work since its 1991 start; a group of experts has now been appointed for this. Sweden remains dedicated to work for UNDCP reform. According to the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden pledged approximately $4.2 million in FY97 contributions to the UNDCP, continuing its role as one of the major donors.
During 1997, Sweden continued its informal preparatory work for the 1998 UNGA Special Session on Drugs by holding a series of seminars in Sweden. The Government set aside $0.4 million for this. SIDA, The Swedish International Development Authority, was given $1.4 million in 1996 for a two-year project for work against drugs in the developing world. In FY97, Sweden's contribution to the UN World Health Organization's substance abuse program was about $400,000 million.
Sweden continues to work in many different ways within the EU to combat drug use. The National Police were given $200,000 million from EU funds for a Northern European amphetamine project that aims to map out the area's drug flow and couriers, then the criminal groups, and then the labs. Sweden will participate in the EU's early warning system.
"European Cities Against Drugs," an alliance of major cities that espouses zero-tolerance policies and no liberalization, is a growing Europe-wide movement founded in Sweden in 1994. The alliance maintains its secretariat in Stockholm. During 1997, this organization expanded its work also to cities in Eastern Europe.
In 1998, legislation will be proposed to make punishable driving under the influence of narcotics or certain medical drugs. Another proposal seeks to ban products that are deemed hazardous to a person's health. Like other nations, Sweden faces the growing problem of designer drugs. To combat their proliferation, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs wants to replace in current legislation the criterion "strongly habit-forming" with "dependence-creating qualities or euphoria-creating effects." The latter would be a criterion which would be easier to establish, and which the Ministry hopes will speed up investigations, and thus decisions regarding new designer drugs.
Statistics on cases involving drug-related deaths have been unavailable. To satisfy EU concerns, Sweden is addressing this problem in order to report to the Lisbon Monitoring Center annually. Governmental institutes for forensic medicine are now instructed to report any narcotics findings. Customs' new access to flight booking computers have resulted in more seizures.
Accomplishments. With its accession to the EU on January 1, 1995, Sweden began a closer, more formal collaboration with the law enforcement and judicial authorities of its EU partners. Accordingly, the GOS passed police and customs controls legislation in 1996. Swedish customs officers continue to patrol Sweden's borders with EU countries and to inspect persons and goods when they have reason. However, with EU accession, Sweden downsized its force of customs officers by 750 positions, a reduction of 25 percent. Within EU councils, Sweden advocates zero-tolerance policies.
In 1997, no Swedish enforcement liaison officers were sent to new posts abroad, but in 1998, Swedish customs plans to assign an officer to Riga, Latvia. Swedish police and customs drug liaison officers remain in Paris, Bangkok, Athens, Copenhagen, Lisbon, London, Warsaw, Tallinn, Riga, Bonn, Budapest, and Moscow. Sweden has both a customs and a police officer in the EU's European Drug Unit (EDU) in The Hague.
Agreements and Treaties. Sweden is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and is fully meeting the Convention's goals and objectives. Sweden is also a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
Sweden is a party to the WCO's International Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance for the Prevention, Investigation, and Repression of Customs Offences "Nairobi Convention" Annex X on Assistance in Narcotics Cases. The USG has concluded a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with the Government of Sweden. Sweden also has has bilateral customs agreements with Germany, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, France, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Spain, Poland, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, and the Czech Republic. In 1997, a similar agreement with Slovakia was ratified. Also in 1997, the Swedish and Russian governments agreed on cooperation between the Russian Federal Tax Police Service and Swedish police and customs (two agreements). Sweden cooperates with the United States under a 1961 Extradition Treaty and a 1983 Supplementary Extradition Treaty.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Swedish law enforcement authorities are effective. From January-October, 1997, there were 10,576 individual seizures by police and customs. The drugs most often seized were amphetamines, with 3,775 seizures totaling 150KG for the first 10 months of 1997 (compared to 4,199 for all of 1996, totaling 127 kilograms). The second-most commonly seized drug was cannabis/hashish, with 3,746 seizures totaling 509 kilograms over January-October (compared to 287 kilograms in 1996). Swedish authorities also seized 9 kilograms of heroin (compared to 26 kilograms in 1996), and 19 kilograms of cocaine (the same amount as in 1996; but in 1995, the level was a mere 4 kilograms). In 1997, (January-October), 132 seizures of ecstasy yielded 19,222 tablets as compared to 163 seizures for all of 1996 yielding 10,324 tablets.
Corruption. Corruption is very rare, and when discovered, consistently punished. Anti-corruption laws effectively deter public officials from engaging in the illicit production or distribution of drugs, and in the laundering of drug money.
Cultivation/Production. No illicit drugs are known to be cultivated or produced in significant amounts in Sweden. Foreign labs have efficient distribution systems in Sweden. Only two Swedish amphetamine labs (one a small kitchen lab, one bigger) were seized and destroyed in 1997. Police attribute this to tight controls on precursor chemicals and, mainly, to a relatively low street price for amphetamines and other drugs. It is more profitable for criminals to smuggle drugs into Sweden than to produce them in Sweden in clandestine labs.
Drug Flow/Transit. In 1997, Sweden remained a destination point for synthetic narcotics from Poland and Denmark (originally produced in Poland, The Netherlands, and Belgium) and the Baltic nations, as well as for cocaine from South America. Drugs enter the country in commercial goods, over land, by mail, by air, and by ferry. Authorities remain particularly concerned about the increase in illicit drug smuggling from the Baltics and Russia. A new concern is that East and Central Europe now produce synthetic drugs for Sweden. The Netherlands remain the source for approximately half of all amphetamines seized, but substantial amounts of amphetamines originate in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
Police, Customs, and the Social Ministry regard Ecstasy as the biggest threat at present, since it is being marketed in aggressive ways to new groups, i.e., to very young middle-class users with no criminal record. Almost all Ecstasy seized originates from The Netherlands; so far, about 21,000 tablets have been seized in 1997.
Heroin base from labs in Turkey is often smuggled into Sweden through Germany by Kosovo Albanians, Iranians and Turks in cars. Opium and raw morphine (used to make heroin) from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran often passes through Eastern Europe on its way to the Nordic markets. Nigerian couriers are marketing a considerable share of all heroin sold in Stockholm. Cocaine still is most often smuggled into Sweden by flight passengers from South America, via EU airports. There are also criminal groups from Eastern Europe involved. Khat smuggling is mainly done by Somalians. Once in Sweden, few drugs are transported on to other countries.
In 1997, law enforcement officials in Sweden have not discovered drugs intended for the United States.
Demand Reduction. The Swedish National Institute of Public Health coordinates all preventative efforts. The dissemination of information on the dangers of drug abuse is compulsory in Swedish schools. Political, religious, sports, and other organizations continue to receive government subsidies to implement information and activity programs aimed at educating youth and parents on the dangers of drug abuse. Various private organizations are also active in drug abuse prevention and public information programs. Recent opinion polls show a more tolerant attitude to drugs, especially to cannabis and ecstasy, particularly among the young.
The GOS emphasizes drug abuse prevention combined with restrictive drug policy, enforcement measures, and drug rehabilitation. For example, Stockholm's Special 15-officer police unit went to popular nightspots to identify first time users and experimenters who are abusing and/or selling ecstasy. This law enforcement procedure has been copied in two other major cities. Under Swedish law, individuals who abuse drugs can be sentenced to drug treatment.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Swedish cooperation with United States Government law enforcement authorities continues to be excellent.
The Road Ahead. The USG looks forward to further strengthening its already good counternarcotics cooperation with Sweden, particularly in the broad Nordic-Baltic and Newly Independent States (NIS) context.
Switzerland is not a significant producer of narcotics, but has significant drug consumption problems and is a transit point for narcotics enroute to other European countries and occasionally in lesser amounts to the United States. Foreigners tend to dominate the illegal drug trafficking market. Switzerland continues progressive treatment programs aimed at hard-core addicts. In Autumn 1997, Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected an abstinence-based initiative which would have significantly changed the current official drug policy. Swiss narcotics policy thus continues to rest on four pillars: prevention, therapy and rehabilitation, harm reduction, law enforcement and control. The Swiss have always considered law enforcement and prevention the core of their drug policy. Switzerland has taken firm measures to combat money laundering and cooperates with US officials and others toward this end. Swiss authorities continue to cooperate with international efforts to control the export of precursor chemicals.
II. Status of Country
The Swiss government condemns the use of narcotics. Its current drug policy consists of prevention, therapy and rehabilitation, harm reduction, law enforcement and control.
The federal and cantonal governments spend significant resources to prevent drug abuse through informational campaigns and training of social workers. Current anti-drug campaigns target primarily the young, considered by officials to be the most likely members of society to experiment with drugs.
The supply and transit of illicit drugs in Switzerland remains abundant and distribution over recent years has been largely controlled by foreigners. In fact, more than four-fifths of those arrested for narcotics law violations in 1996 were foreigners, according to Swiss police statistics. In the past, Switzerland has been an attractive money laundering target for drug cartels due to the secrecy of Swiss financial institutions and the absence of exchange controls. Changes in Swiss laws, however, combined with the actions of Swiss officials, have served to make money laundering more difficult and have led to significant seizures of drug-related assets.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997
On September 28, 1997, Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected a much-publicized initiative called "Youth Without Drugs." This abstinence-based initiative did not exclusively concern the limited and controversial Swiss heroin distribution program aimed at hard-core addicts, but it would have ended that program and restricted the range of drug treatments otherwise available to addicts.
Another people's initiative entitled "Towards a Reasonable Drug Policy," which will not come to a vote before fall 1998, consists of the following six elements: prevention; allowing the development of new methods of therapy; medically-controlled delivery of narcotics to hard-core users and provision of subsistence needs; legalization of possession and use of small amounts of narcotics for personal use; efforts to fight drug crimes; and a unified and coordinated drug policy.
Cultivation and Production. The USG has no evidence of any significant cultivation or production of illicit drugs in Switzerland.
Drug Flow/Transit. Seizures of amphetamines, LSD and other hallucinogens rose in 1996, the last year for which statistics are available. The amount of heroin seized in Switzerland in 1996 is almost double the amount seized in 1995. Two significant seizures were made during 1996 which bolstered the figures: 1) an investigation in Zurich resulted in the seizure of 53 kilograms of heroin and the arrest of Albanians, Turks and Czechs; and 2) an investigation in Fribourg, Switzerland resulted in a seizure of 65 kilograms of heroin and the arrest of former Yugoslav nationals. Even without these two large confiscations, police would still have exceeded a 20-year record high for heroin seizures.
Cannabis availability in Switzerland rose dramatically in 1996. A single marijuana seizure of 2.6 tons and numberous cannabis seizures brought the total to 4.2 tons. This was the largest amount of cannabis seized in Switzerland in 21 years. The overall number of drug-related deaths decreased from 361 in 1995 to 312 in 1996.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Government of Switzerland does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, other controlled substances or the laundering of drug money.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In law enforcement, cantonal and local police have a substantial degree of autonomy. This federal system in the past has resulted in various degrees of tolerance for drug use. In particular, some German-speaking cantons tolerated open air drug markets. The last such drug market in Zurich, the Letten, was shut down in the Winter of 1995 due to strong pressure from community groups.
Cantonal magistrates have the authority to trace, freeze, and eventually confiscate assets. They take action whenever they are convinced that the wealth was derived from criminal activity. Again, there are no special measures for narcotics trafficking. The amount of assets forfeited or seized is approximately $450 million since 1990. The degree of aggressiveness displayed by cantonal authorities varies by canton. Resources dedicated to tracking and seizing assets also vary among the cantons.
Agreements and Treaties. Switzerland has signed but not yet ratified the 1988 UN Drug Convention. However, Switzerland is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The Swiss Federal Council has declared its intention to seek ratification of the agreement by Parliament in 1998, but it is currently awaiting the results of a popular initiative, which would lead to a more liberal drug policy. The adoption of this initiative may well be incompatible with the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The Federal Council has also indicated that it might attach two reservations to the ratification of the 1988 UN Drug Convention, which would allow for a more liberal Swiss policy regarding individual consumption of drugs and give Swiss courts more discretion in sentencing.
Swiss authorities cooperate actively with US law enforcement agencies in accordance with the existing Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). They insist that formal requirements of legal cooperation be fulfilled; however, cantonal officials will act to freeze funds, based on their own initiative, if probable cause is established through police channels. When that is done, Swiss authorities move quickly and effectively. The USG shares information with Swiss authorities, and they regularly act on such information.
Swiss authorities have broad support for efforts to trace and seize criminal wealth. The banks have accepted these efforts. There is no record of traffickers undertaking retaliatory actions related to money laundering investigations, Swiss government cooperation with the US government, or seizure of assets.
Demand Reduction. Switzerland has always been at the forefront of drug treatment programs, having pioneered methadone treatment in the late 1970's and adopted among the first needle exchange programs in the 1980's to combat the spread of the HIV virus. Switzerland launched a controversial new drug rehabilitation program in 1994, the final report for which was released in July 1997. The program involved the medically controlled delivery of narcotics (mainly heroin) to hard-core users. It was an attempt to deal with many hard-core addicts for whom traditional treatment programs have failed. The program had three main goals: stabilization of the health of addicts; improvement in their social conditions (work and social network); and a reduction in criminal behavior. It sought to deal with the underlying social, psychological and other problems associated with drug abuse.
The final report provided a very positive assessment of the program, citing significant improvements in the social and health conditions of the hard-core addicts involved, as well as a sharp drop in criminal activity. The report also calculated a cost-benefit ratio of 1 to 2. Based on these results, Swiss health officials have recommended continuing the program for a select group of addicts.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. US officials continue to receive excellent cooperation from their Swiss counterparts in legal and law enforcement efforts to counternarcotics trafficking and money laundering. In particular, there have been several successful cooperative operations against money laundering in which the Swiss have seized bank accounts and shared the assets with the USG.
US and Swiss authorities have cooperated closely in many important cases. Switzerland is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and has moved to implement effectively FATF recommendations.
The Road Ahead. Officials have been working on new, comprehensive narcotics legislation which would expand on the current narcotics decree, valid until the end of 1998. The new legislation will likely continue to include the four pillars of Switzerland's narcotics policy as noted earlier in this report. In addition, the new legislation would contain the legal basis for the heroin distribution program as a therapy forum.
Tajikistan produces a limited amount of opium, but increasing quantities of opium and heroin transit the country, originating in Afghanistan enroute to Russia and Western Europe. Significant seizures show a government effort to control the trade, but limited law enforcement resources as well as corruption limit the effectiveness of this effort. With Russian officers commanding the border guards stationed along the border with Afghanistan, the Government of Tajikistan (GOT) is not in a position to control cross-border activity. The USG has signed a bilateral counternarcotics cooperation agreement with Tajikistan. Tajikistan has acceded to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Tajikistan continued its trend of annual increases in drug seizures, with a noticeable increase in heroin as well as raw opium. The illegal drugs, almost entirely from Afghanistan, flow principally along two routes: through the mountainous Gorno-Badakshan region in eastern Tajikistan, then north through the city of Osh in neighboring Kyrgyzstan and on to Tashkent and beyond, or into southern Tajikistan and from there to the capital Dushanbe, from which it moves by rail, truck or air on to Tashkent and beyond. Drug trafficking groups have established links with elements of the Russian and Tajik border guards, armed Tajik opposition groups, Tajik government officials and Afghan armed groups. They are believed to have links with trafficking organizations extending into Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union.
There is a limited amount of opium cultivation in Tajikistan, principally in the Penjikent Valley where opium was licitly cultivated when such production was permitted. Due to limited resources both to survey and to eradicate this cultivation, precise data is lacking. While anecdotal claims suggest an increase in production, the total appears to still remain small, particularly in comparison with the amounts available elsewhere in the region.
The extent of drug abuse in Tajikistan is unknown, due to the disarray of the public health system and the significant socio-economic changes in the country since its independence. Some abuse certainly exists, and government officials recognize that trafficking may lead to increased use as well. This concern is particularly strong in Gorno-Badakshan, where alternate employment opportunities are extremely scarce. The drug and alcohol treatment centers which existed during the Soviet period are not operating, or operating only at very minimal levels without adequate personnel or other resources.
Tajikistan's economy and banking structures are not conducive to money laundering: the country is isolated, the banking system undeveloped, and the economy lacks extensive international links. Tajikistan does not significantly produce or participate in the transit of precursor chemicals, nor is any narcotics refining believed to take place on its territory.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997
Policy Initiatives. While the end of the active armed opposition campaign and the signing of a peace accord in June have permitted the expenditure of fewer resources on military needs, the overall weakness of the economy and of government tax collecting methods means all government branches receive inadequate funds. This has affected drug control efforts as well. Nonetheless, increasing seizures demonstrate that many officials continue to make this a high priority area, and the Chairman of the Counternarcotics Coordinating Committee has been able to obtain basic budgetary support for his institution, with support directly from the President of the Republic.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The Government of Tajikistan through the Counternarcotics Coordinating Committee has worked actively with UNDCP's regional office in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and has signed documents for regional UNDCP projects that include Kyrgyzstan. A US Customs basic training course was taught in February, 1997, and a DEA basic course is expected in 1998.
Corruption. Corruption exists in Tajikistan, and plays a significant role in facilitating this illegal trade. A Ministry of Internal Affairs official was arrested in northern Leninabad province in September for narcotics trafficking, and a number of Tajik and Russian military and police personnel have been arrested during the year, demonstrating both that the problem exists and that the GOT is capable of taking at least some actions against it.
Agreements and Treaties. In 1996, Tajikistan acceded to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances in March, 1997. It has signed the Central Asian Counternarcotics Protocol with UNDCP and neighboring central Asian countries, as well as a bilateral cooperation agreement with the United States.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The US continues to seek increased expertise and efficiency in Tajikistan's law enforcement agencies working against narcotics abuse and trafficking. Related to this are broader issues of police training and reduction in public corruption, both of which would assist democratic development as well as support counternarcotics goals. Tajikistan has sent participants to a variety of USG-sponsored training programs both in the United States and in the region.
The Road Ahead. UNDCP will remain the principal agency supporting counternarcotics efforts in Tajikistan and Central Asia. After a long, slow start, UNDCP-supported projects appear to be taking hold. The US will continue to provide law enforcement training, encourage similar support from Western European countries, and promote regional cooperation as essential to improved counternarcotics performance for all countries in this area.
Opium cultivation in Turkey is limited to the highly controlled licit, pharmaceutical opium crop. There is no evidence of diversion of licit crops, and illicit cultivation remains completely dormant. Turkey is, however, a major link in the most important transit route for southwest Asian opiates moving to Europe, and Turkey is home to a large number of laboratories refining opium raw materials into heroin. As much as 75 per cent of heroin seized in Europe has been processed in or smuggled through Turkey. Turkey is a producer of limited amounts of illicit marijuana and is a vital nexus in the transit route for synthetic drugs like captagon, but as with heroin, there is little conclusive evidence that illicit narcotics produced in Turkey or transitting Turkey have a significant effect on the United States. Consumption of narcotics in Turkey is relatively low, but the Turks recognize an increase in the abuse of opiates and cannabis.
Turkey is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Anti-money laundering legislation, conforming to FATF recommendations, was belatedly passed in 1996, and regulations to implement those laws were enacted in 1997. The 1988 UN Drug Convention was signed by Turkey in 1988, approved by the Turkish Parliament in 1995 and formally ratified in 1996.
II. Status of Country
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the United States Government recognize Turkey as a "traditional" poppy growing country for the licit opiate market. Cultivation is controlled, carefully monitored and there are no indications of diversion to illicit channels. Farming inefficiencies and relatively poor alkaloid content make Turkish poppies only marginally commercial for opiate production (poppy seeds are also a valuable food crop). There is no evidence of illicit poppy cultivation. Other drugs produced in Turkey, marijuana primarily, have no significant impact on the United States.
Turkey is the transit and processing point for most of the heroin that is abused in Europe, and Turkish criminal syndicates control much of the narcotics market in western Europe. The discovery of processing labs and interception of large lots of heroin precursor chemicals such as acetic anhydride indicate that Turkey has become a major refining center for illicit opium products. While the total amount of heroin and less refined opium products that enter Turkey is not certain, DEA estimates that between four and six tons of heroin transit Turkey each month en route to western Europe. We continue to monitor the extent to which the heroin that transits Turkey impacts on the United States. Turkish law enforcement agencies are aware of the role Turkey plays as a narcotics gateway and they respond aggressively.
Anti-money laundering legislation has only recently been enacted. Implementing regulations are complete and the Financial Crimes Investigative Board has been established. FATF and United States observers await the results of Turkish enforcement efforts. Money laundering and corruption are important topics on the country's political agenda. For example, the parliament passed legislation in 1997 calling for the closure of all 78 Turkish casinos, because they are allegedly used to launder proceeds from narcotics trafficking and other criminal activities.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997
Policy Initiatives. Turkey stepped up efforts to meet FATF anti-money laundering recommendations. The Ministry of Finance has established a Financial Crimes Investigation Board to conduct studies for the prevention of money laundering, exchange information with international organizations, and investigate money laundering cases. The creation of the Board follows passage of anti-money laundering legislation, which criminalizes the laundering of proceeds of narcotics trafficking and other criminal activities, and includes provisions for controlled delivery and asset seizure.
Accomplishments. Enactment of strong regulations implementing Turkey's anti-money laundering laws was the most significant accomplishment of 1997.
Law Enforcement Efforts. During 1997, Turkish law enforcement agencies, including the Turkish National Police, the Jandarma (rural police), Customs and Coast Guard, have seized over three tons each of heroin and hashish, and hundreds of thousands of captagon pills. A total of 3,634 drug-related arrests were made. The Turks maintained close working relationships with counterparts in the United States and many European nations.
Corruption. Turkey is still coming to terms with the effects of the 1996 "Susurluk" corruption scandal, which linked public officials and parliamentarians with drug traffickers, money laundering, political dirty tricks and extra-judicial killings. The Turkish press has closely followed developments, and public outrage led to the establishment of a parliamentary commission to investigate links between criminal gangs, drug traffickers and state officials. Parliament is presently considering recommendations from the non-partisan commission to further tighten banking and financing laws.
Agreements and Treaties: The United States and Turkey have long-standing bilateral treaties covering extradition and mutual assistance in criminal matters, as well as a narcotics assistance protocol. Turkey has ratified the 1988 UN Drugs Convention, and is a member of the FATF.
Cultivation and Production. Opium poppies are grown by licensed farmers for pharmaceutical and food products. This licit cultivation is strictly controlled and diversions to the illicit market are not tolerated. The long-term commercial viability of the Turkish licit poppy industry is threatened by the low alkaloid content of Turkish poppies and by inefficient farming practices, but Turkey has begun taking steps to make its licit poppy crop more useful to the pharmaceutical industry. Cannabis is cultivated in Turkey and occasionally exported as hashish. Turkish cannabis products have no impact upon the United States.
Drug Flow and Transit. Turkey's position astride the main overland trade route between Asia and Europe makes it a significant transit point for narcotics. Morphine base and heroin from Pakistan and Afghanistan are smuggled into Turkey across Turkey's eastern frontier or through Turkish ports. Non-heroin opiates are often refined into heroin in laboratories near Istanbul or in the more isolated southeastern regions. Drugs are moved most often in truck loads, but are also transported in bulk by ship and air cargo, and in smaller lots by private car, packed by air travelers or by mail. Turkish officials report that narcotics smuggling is an important source of revenue for Kurdish radical organizations.
The DEA estimates that between four and six tons of heroin transit Turkey each month; three quarters of the heroin abused in Europe transits Turkey. Seizures in the United States of heroin that has transited Turkey are an infrequent occurrence. Although the street price of heroin in the United States is nearly twice the price of heroin in Europe, there is insufficient evidence that heroin that is refined in Turkey or has transited there has a significant effect upon the United States. We continue to monitor the transit of heroin through Turkey and will add Turkey to the majors list if evidence becomes available indicating a significant effect upon the United States.
There are persistent reports of Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) involvement in narcotics trafficking through Turkey. The PKK, a terrorist, ethnic separatist group based in the predominantly Kurdish Turkish-Iranian-Iraqi border region, reportedly uses "taxes" extracted from narcotics traffickers and refiners to finance its operations, and may be more directly involved in transporting and marketing narcotics in Europe.
As the primary stopover and consolidation point on the "Balkan Route," Turkey is also a centre for captagon trafficking to the Middle East and beyond. DEA and Turkish reports of seizures of precursor chemicals and several million doses of captagon in Turkey over the last three years, and the arrest of Turkish captagon traffickers across the Middle East, indicate the existence of a significant Turkish captagon smuggling network.
Demand Reduction. Two drug rehabilitation facilities operate in Turkey, treating both drug addicts and alcoholics. Narcotics consumption is not perceived to be a major problem, although there is a general awareness about the need for drug education. The government runs drug prevention programs in schools, aimed especially at 11-15 year old children, who are considered to be at the greatest risk of addiction.
United States Policy Initiatives. The United States assists Turkey to disrupt and diminish the flow of drugs by providing anti-narcotics material and training assistance to the Turkish National Police, the primary Turkish anti-narcotics enforcement agency. The United States aids Turkish Customs by providing material assistance and training designed to enhance interdiction at Turkey's border gates. With the passage of anti-money laundering legislation, the United States will also start training in the detection of financial crimes related to narcotics trafficking. United States anti-narcotics programs in Turkey, including training, are budgeted at approximately $700,000 for 1998.
The United States and Turkey are planning a joint initiative to enhance the future viability of the licit poppy crop. Agronomic research will lead to a more valuable poppy crop and avoid the problems that could arise from commercial disinterest in the Turkish licit opium industry.
Bilateral Cooperation. After several years of increasing interdictions, 1996 and 1997 were less successful, but DEA reports that bilateral investigations resulted in a number of arrests, including some considered significant.
The Road Ahead. Turkey can go farther in tightening border controls, which would aid in reducing the flow of drugs through Turkey. Implementation of the joint United States/Turkey poppy research project will commence in 1998. Turkey's parliament is considering new anti-corruption legislation and a reduction in parliamentary immunity to prosecution; the success of these anti-corruption initiatives, full implementation of the Financial Crimes Investigative Board and commencement of joint controlled delivery investigations would represent a strong follow through to a promising beginning in these fields.
Turkmenistan continues to be used by drug traffickers as a conduit to smuggle illicit drugs to the West, and precursor and essential chemicals to producers in southwest Asia. Traffickers are making additional efforts to open new markets and cultivate opium. Currently, the greatest challenge to the Government of Turkmenistan (GOT) is from international drug smugglers seeking to move opium and/or heroin from Afghanistan to Western markets and precursor chemicals to the East. The continuation of the conflict in Afghanistan has exacerbated these problems. Turkmen officials are also concerned that domestic drug cultivation and use appear to be on the rise, although statistics on both are hard to obtain. The growing number of casinos and foreign-run luxury hotels raises questions about Turkmenistan's vulnerability to money laundering activities associated with the narcotics trade, although no official cases have been reported. The GOT continues to increase the attention it pays to drug control, but efforts to develop a response to the increased trafficking through the region have been hampered by a lack of resources and funds. The GOT is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, having acceded to it on June 18, 1996. It is making a good faith effort to meet its goals.
II. Status of Country
Although health authorities indicate that domestic narcotics consumption is not a major problem at the present time, traditional cultivation and use of opium poppy, and lack of sufficient resources to monitor the borders, make Turkmentstan increasingly vulnerable to the narcotics industry. Turkmenistan health authorities have indicated that there is a small domestic opium addict population. Information gathered during embassy officials' travel to the border area with Afghanistan corroborates this. Opium was traditionailly smoked, brewed or processed into a beverage for celebrations, medicine, or daily use by Turkmen tribal groups. Health officials do not have any statistics on use. They believe that many opium users in urban areas now inject opiates. Intravenous opium use in rural areas, once practically non-existent, is also increasing. Marijuana and hashish use is increasing, though remains at relatively low levels.
Seizure patterns indicate that opium from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Iran transits Turkmenistan enroute to markets in Russia, Turkey and Western Europe. Direct air routes now link Ashgabat with Tehran, Istanbul, Karachi, Dushanbe, Tashkent, Moscow, London, Birmingham, Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, and Frankfurt. A railway line connecting Turkmenistan to Iran was officially opened in 1996, and currently is open for cargo traffic. Truck transport to Europe is steadily increasing. Truck traffic from Iran remained heavy in 1997.
During 1997, GOT officials remained very concerned about the transit through Turkmenistan of licit chemicals for the production of illicit drugs such as heroin, although no major seizures of the chemicals were reported.
Narcotics sales and distribution are controlled by local traffickers; according to Turkmen authorities, opium is bartered by these local traffickers for scarce commodities. Authorities believe that the higher incidence of drugs being smuggled into the country from Iran and Afghanistan could also fuel increased domestic drug use. Local production of opium, likely on small plots, may also be a factor, according to health officials. Officials are also concerned about an increase in domestic drug use resulting from the on-going war in Afghanistan, whose disruptions and displacement of people could facilitate the importation into Turkmenistan of greater quantities of illegal narcotics.
Turkmen authorities remain concerned that crime groups may be laundering funds through casinos and hotels. For example, the two largest luxury hotels in Ashgabat are managed by the family of a Turk (now deceased) who had a conviction for heroin trafficking in the United States.
The manufacture, possession, sale and use of illicit narcotics are illegal under the criminal code, which also includes a provision for confiscating illegally acquired property. No formal asset forfeiture code exists.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997
Policy Initiatives. As in 1996, GOT progress in developing a counternarcotics campaign in 1997 was hampered by a lack of funds, personnel, equipment and training in all of the governmental components responsible for the combating of illegal narcotics. There has been no movement on a previous GOT plan to formulate a national drug policy and develop a government coordinating committee on drug issues. In addition, no action has been taken on a proposal to merge the border guards, customs and certain internal affairs and security functions into a "Ministry of Border Security."
Law Enforcement Efforts. The GOT's existing counternarcotics programs focus on enforcement and interdiction, with limited educational demand reduction initiatives through the schools, and local level drug treatment centers.
Accomplishments. Despite limited enforcement resources, the GOT continues to seize impressive quantities of Afghan opium and Pakistani hashish bound for Russia, Turkey and Western Europe in cars, trucks, and train cars. For example, in October 1997, the GOT seized 78.5 kilograms of various narcotics, including 9 kilograms of heroin, 32.5 kilograms of opium, and 37 kilograms of marijuana. Concern about drug trafficking across the Afghan border has led to an increased deployment of border troops in the region of Kushka.
Corruption. President Niyazov severely criticized law enforcement bodies, during April 2 and 3, 1997, meetings with Mejlis (parliament) deputies, employees of the General Procuracy, and high officials in the miiitary and security organs. He singled out collusion in drug smuggling as one of their main failings. Also, he charged that this is going on "in practically every (law enforcement and military) organ." As a result, a number of high ranking law enforcement officials were fired, including the Procurator General.
Agreements and Treaties. On June 18, 1996, the Mejlis approved Turkmenistan's accession to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. There are no counternarcotics bilateral agreements between Turkmenistan and other nations, although the GOT has cooperative agreements with Russia, Uzbekistan, and Iran on general border security matters.
Turkmenistan does not have an Extradition Treaty with the US. However, counternarcotics officers indicate that drug offenders have been extradited to Afghanistan, but not to the US, and that agreements are in place with other parts of the CIS to extradite drug offenders.
Cultivation and Production. Cultivation of opium is illegal in Turkmenistan. Illegal cultivation, however, does occur, particularly in remote mountain and desert areas. Although no statistics on the extent of such cultivation are available, authorities report that most opium is cultivated along the Iranian border in the Ahal Velayat (region), which includes Ashgabat, and in the eastern parts of Lebap and Mary Velayats. Opium poppies cultivated in Turkmenistan are grown almost exclusively on very small plots of land which are rarely larger than a few hundred square feet. Most production is intended for the personal use of the grower and his or her family. There is also some processing of opium resin and poppy straw extract for domestic consumption. Cannabis is also present in Turkmenistan.
Demand Reduction. A limited drug and alcoholism treatment program, including an addiction reference center, continues to operate under the Ministry of Health. The addiction center is continuing its efforts to create a counternarcotics educational curriculum and conduct research on the causes of drug abuse. However, its efforts are hampered by concern among some GOT officials that prevention programs will create increased interest in drug use. Each region also has in-patient and out-patient narcotics treatment clinics, which are described as adequate for current needs. The Ministry of Interior (MVD) has a program that allows convicted drug users to be paroled with the stipulation that they remain under MVD supervision for one year. In addition, in 1997, several thousand people, many of them arrested for narcotics-related crimes, were released from prison under a Presidential Amnesty Act.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. In 1997, the USG continued to encourage Turkmenistan to modernize its legal framework for combating drug smuggling.
The GOT participated in several USG/INL funded training programs with a counternarcotics focus. Turkmen law enforcement representatives participated in a post-blast investigation course organized by the Department of Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; an in-country US Customs overseas enforcement training program; attended the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference in Orlando, Florida; a regional FBI seminar in Tashkent; and training on counterfeit documents provided by the Consular Affairs Fraud Prevention Programs Office of the State Department. Moreover, the USG continues to pursue an agreement, developed in coordination with the UNDCP, to provide a total of $81,000 of forensic equipment and drug search and test kits.
The Road Ahead. Over the next year, the USG will work to implement the delivery to the Turkmen of the equipment described above. In addition, the USG will continue to encourage Turkmenistan to expand its drug control activities and establish the necessary legislative institutions. The USG will continue to offer law enforcement training opportunities, and will work to foster increased cooperation among Turkmenistan, the NIS and Russia in their counternarcotics efforts. Finally, the USG will continue to assist Turkmenistan's border interdiction efforts.
Ukraine witnessed a continued increase in narcotics trafficking and use in 1997. Domestic illicit cultivation of poppy and hemp has been on the upswing in recent years, as has the transit of narcotics from Asia and Turkey through Ukraine to Europe. Ukraine is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and has sought to follow the provisions of the Convention in drafting counternarcotics legislation. However, lack of sufficient funding continues to severely hamper Ukrainian efforts to combat narcotics trade and use. The lack of coordination between law enforcement entities responsible for anti-narcotics work also remains a problem.
II. Status of Country
While Ukraine is not a world leader in the cultivation, trafficking, use of narcotics and laundering of profits from their sale, the country's problems with drugs have increased greatly in recent years. While final statistics are not yet available, this trend appears to have continued in 1997, with an increase in domestic drugs use and trafficking reported. Overall drug seizure figures seem to have levelled off. According to preliminary estimates, in 1997 approximately 35,000 criminal cases involving narcotics were brought to court, about the same number as last year (although the number should rise when final statistics are published in January 1998). An additional 26,000 individuals, mostly rural residents who illegally planted poppies, were fined.
Officials expect about 65,000 individuals to have registered as drug abusers by the end of 1997, up from only 8,000 in 1992. The number of unregistered abusers is estimated to be close to 500,000. Opium poppy straw continues to be the addict's main drug of choice, although marijuana is also prevalent and growing in popularity among young people. Synthetic drugs are also appearing with increasing frequency. Hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin are too expensive for the average Ukrainian, so their levels of abuse are still not significant. Ukrainian efforts to combat narcotics continue to be plagued by low pay among law enforcement personnel, and by the lack of resources available for the fight against drugs.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997
Policy Initiatives. While in recent years Ukraine has passed several laws designed to bring the country into line with the 1988 UN Drug Convention, Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) sources say no new drug legislation was introduced in 1997. In 1994, the National Anti-Narcotics Coordinating Council established in the Cabinet of Ministers to coordinate the efforts of government and public organizations, approved a 1994-97 anti-drug plan. However, many of the steps, including the creation of an interagency drug data bank, which were supposed to have been completed this year, had to be shelved due to lack of funds. A counternarcotics plank was incorporated into Ukraine's 1996-2000 anti-crime program. In October of 1997, the Prime Minister approved an initiative to establish MVD drug squads at all administrative levels. These squads could begin operating early in 1998, providing the government can find the funds.
While statistics are not yet available for 1997, law enforcement sources report that in 1996 more than 700 narcotics-related criminal cases involved synthetic drugs. This represents a 100-fold increase in the number of such cases since 1994. The MVD has ordered its officers to pay particular attention to the interdiction of these types of drugs. Because of the increasing use of Ukrainian ports in the transit of drugs to the West, in 1997, the government also tasked the Security Services (SBU) with focusing on preventing the shipment of drugs by sea. In 1997, Ukrainian authorities also approved a plan to beef up counternarcotics efforts in the nation's airports.
Accomplishments. As mentioned above, Ukraine's efforts to implement its anti-narcotics plan have been greatly hindered by lack of funding for police and social organizations. Despite this, the Ministry of Health has forged ahead with an anti-drug educational program, conducting training of teachers, health care workers and police to serve as counselors. One needle exchange program sponsored by the Ukrainian AIDS Prevention Committee was recently nipped in the bud when the MVD threatened to arrest every drug user who participated.
During 1997, The MVD, Customs, and border guards conducted several successful joint operations with their Russian, Belarusian and Moldovan colleagues. Three operations on the Belarusian and Russian borders netted 350 kilograms of narcotics, and police seized 52 kilograms of narcotics during a recent four-day joint operation with the Moldovans.
Law Enforcement Efforts. According to preliminary estimates, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies seized more than 30 tons of narcotics in the first 10 months of 1997. US sources expect the total to approach 40 tons by the end of the year, roughly the same as last year, but almost double the amount seized in 1995. The police also apprehended more than 5,500 drug dealers, and broke up more than 700 criminal groups (most of which number only a handful of people) involved in narcotics. The latter figure is down from 1996.
Ukrainian drug enforcement units remain relatively inexperienced, understaffed, and severely underfunded. For example, the MVD has approximately 1,050 officers assigned to drug units throughout Ukraine, but estimates it needs about four times this number to operate effectively. Budget cuts may also force further staff reductions. The MVD's anti-drug sub-unit headquarters in Kiev already saw its staff reduced from 25 in 1996 to 20 this year. In addition, lack of coordination between law enforcement agencies (primarily the MVD, SBU, Customs and the border guards) responsible for counternarcotics activities continues to put a damper on efforts.
Corruption. Ukrainian politicians and private citizens consistently tell us that corruption remains a major problem, and hinders investment and broader economic reform. While corruption is rarely linked with narcotics, it diminishes the effectiveness of Ukrainian government efforts to battle organized crime, a major player in the narcotics business. The Parliament passed a Law on Corruption in 1995 which was intended to clean up the Ukrainian government. However, while a number of officials have been implicated, few have been prosecuted. Even fewer of the cases have involved anyone but minor government functionaries. In February 1997, the government launched a new anti-corruption campaign, called "Clean Hands," to address the problem. However, critics charge the government has not implemented the majority of measures called for by the program.
Agreements and Treaties. Ukraine is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and has also signed counternarcotics agreements with the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP). The USG has concluded a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with the Government of Ukraine. In April 1996, the Ukrainian government signed a bilateral anti-narcotics agreement with the UK. In 1997, Ukraine signed an anti-crime and narcotics pact with the Czech Republic, and the MVD also signed an agreement with its Belarusian counterpart to cooperate in border regions. Ukraine has agreements to station anti-narcotics law enforcement personnel in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Russia.
Cultivation and Production. A substantial percentage of amphetamines seized under a Scandinavian signature analysis program originated in Ukraine. In 1997, authorities discovered a laboratory at the Donetsk Institute of Chemistry producing ecstasy for export to Germany. The police also arrested seven individuals planning to produce and export over 100 kilograms of synthetic drugs per year to the UK.
Drug Flow/Transit. Ukraine continues to see drug traffic from Turkey, Thailand, Central Asia, the Balkans and other regions. Shipments are usually destined for western Europe, and arrive primarily by road, rail or sea. While some are produced locally, synthetic drugs are also imported from Poland, The Netherlands, Hungary, and Germany. Both cocaine and heroin are also smuggled into Ukraine through the use of mails. Russian officials believe Ukraine is the main source of narcotics destined for St. Petersburg. This primarily consists of poppy straw, grown in Ukraine and shipped across the border by train or automobile.
Ukraine's importance to drug traffickers could be increasing: In October, authorities in Pakistan discovered a shipment of 2.5 tons of hashish going to Odessa, and addressed to a fictitious Kiev address. Much of the shipment was destined for France, Norway, and ultimately the United States. Additionally, in early November, Customs officials in the Crimean Port of Sevastopol discovered 624 kilograms of cocaine, destined for Belgium, on a ship coming from Colombia. This is by far the largest seizure of its kind to date.
According to MVD sources, 559 foreigners are being held in Ukrainian prisons on drug-related charges. Most of these individuals are from the NIS, but a significant number are citizens of African (particularly from Nigeria) and south Asian countries. The police remain worried by the activity of Nigerian traffickers. While previously Nigerians focused on Kiev, the MVD reports that they have recently begun operating in other cities as well.
Demand Reduction. Since most Ukrainian drug abusers are under the age of 30, Ukrainian officials are looking for ways to target education efforts in schools. In 1996, a US-based NGO opened a drug information center in Kiev. In addition, religious organizations have opened another half-dozen rehabilitation centers throughout Ukraine.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. US objectives are to assist Ukrainian authorities to develop effective counternarcotics programs both in interdiction (particularly of drugs transiting the country) and demand reduction, as well as to prevent Ukraine from becoming a money laundering center. Ukraine does not presently have bilateral agreements with the US Drug Enforcement Administration or the US Customs Service; however, DEA and USCS have run a number of training programs in such areas as interdiction, management training, asset forfeiture, forensics, border control and money laundering.
The Road Ahead. Ukraine does not yet have a serious drug problem by world standards. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union has resulted in the rapid growth of criminal activity, including narcotics trafficking and use. Demand reduction and treatment for drug abusers continues to be an area that needs attention. Law enforcement agencies need continued assistance in western techniques. Both the United States and Ukraine seek to expand the range and scope of training and assistance provided by the US.
The United Kingdom (UK) is a consumer country of illicit drugs. It produces and exports many precursor and essential chemicals that could be used to manufacture illicit drugs. It strictly enforces national precursor chemical legislation in compliance with EU regulations. British financial institutions have been vulnerable to money laundering, but implementation of tougher money laundering legislation appears to have reduced vulnerability throughout the Crown Territories. Nevertheless, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man have offshore banking facilities that are attractive to drug funds. In October 1997, the UK appointed an anti-drug coordinator to aid the government in coordinating its fight against illicit drugs and focus on innovative thinking in this area.
II. Status of Country
British drug policy addresses demand reduction, treatment and law enforcement, and focuses on locally based action plans. Marijuana is the most popular illicit drug in the UK. With an estimated 100,000 heroin addicts, a major concern of British officials is stemming the abuse of heroin and other injected drugs. There has been an increase in crack cocaine and cocaine use, but they remain under control. British authorities are concerned about the use of amphetamines and Ecstasy (MDMA), particularly among young people. Methadone is also frequently misused.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997
Policy Initiatives. The new British government, which came to power after the Labour Party victory in the May 1 elections, is building on an initiative introduced in 1996 called "Tackling Drugs Together," a three-year program aimed at increasing community safety from drug-related crime, helping young people resist drugs, and reducing the health risks of drug abuse. Local drug action teams comprising police, probation, health, education, prison and local authorities have taken forward action plans in 1997 to deal with drug misuse in their jurisdiction.
The government has stepped up its action to tackle drugs by appointing the first UK anti-drugs coordinator, Keith Hellawell, who will be supported by a Deputy, Mike Trace. One of their immediate priorities will be to review the government's existing action against drugs and to advise on a new strategy to succeed "Tackling Drugs Together."
In line with the government's pre-election promises, a new drug testing and treatment procedure will be introduced as part of the Crime and Disorder Bill, aimed at breaking the links between addiction and committing criminal offenses. The new regulation will enable the courts to require drug abuse offenders to undergo treatment, and mandatory drug testing will be used to ensure those in treatment are staying clean.
The UK vigorously contributes to international drug control efforts. A new Special Representative for International Drugs Issues, Patrick Nixon, was appointed in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office maintaining this function at the Assistant Secretary-equivalent level. British bilateral aid and assistance focused in 1997 on Latin America (Colombia), Central/Eastern Europe, and Southwest Asia. The UK cooperates closely with the UNDCP and is working with both the EU and UNDCP, as well as the US, in implementing the Caribbean Drugs Action Plan. The UK spends a total of about $10.6 million per year on counternarcotics activities outside Great Britain, including the cost of Royal Navy ships on counternarcotics duty in the Caribbean. It channeled about $1.72 million of its FY 97-98 counternarcotics funding through the UNDCP. The British play a leading role in a number of international drug control fora including the Council of Europe's Pompidou Group, the Dublin Group, Europol's Drug Unit and other EU fora, and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The UK chairs the Southwest Asia region in the Dublin Group and is a vocal counternarcotics advocate in the many mini-Dublin groups throughout the world.
Accomplishments. This year a law was implemented that requires mandatory minimum sentences for repeat drug traffickers. A law was also passed to allow night clubs and similar venues to be closed immediately when there is found to be a serious drug problem. In the past, these establishments were allowed to stay open while they appealed the charge of having a drug problem.
Agreements and Treaties. The US/UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty went into effect in December 1996. The UK has been a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention since 1991 and complies fully with its provisions. The UK was the first country to ratify the Council of Europe's directive on money laundering as well as the first EU member state to ratify the agreement setting up Europol. A US-UK Extradition Treaty is also in effect, most recently updated in 1985. The United Kingdom is a party to the WCO's International Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance for the Prevention, Investigation, and Repression of Customs Offences "Nairobi Convention" Annex X on Assistance in Narcotics Cases. The USG has concluded a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with the Government of the United Kingdom.
Corruption. Narcotics-related corruption of public officials is not considered a problem in the UK. When identified, corrupt officials are vigorously prosecuted.
Demand Reduction. HMG's demand reduction efforts focus on educating young people. Teams located in high-risk urban areas work closely with the community in advertising the harmful effects of drugs, disseminating information, offering training seminars for youth workers, and offering diversionary activities for youngsters.
Cultivation/Production. Some quantities of marijuana, using the hydroponic system, are cultivated in the UK for personal use and then sold for commercial use. When detected, the authorities destroy them. Quantities of amphetamines and Ecstasy are also manufactured in clandestine laboratories which authorities destroy when found.
Drug Flow/Transit. Heroin reaching the UK generally originates in Afghanistan and Pakistan and is routed through Iran, Turkey (where much of it is processed), and Central and Eastern Europe. Drug traffickers are increasingly using some of the Newly Independent States (NIS) as alternate smuggling routes to the UK. Marijuana comes primarily from Morocco. Large cocaine shipments arrive directly from South America; smaller shipments often come up from the Spanish coast, either directly to the UK or via Amsterdam. Supplies of amphetamines, Ecstasy, and LSD can be traced to clandestine laboratories in certain European countries, particularly The Netherlands and Poland, as well as the UK.
Law Enforcement Efforts. British law enforcement officials, including customs and excise officials, are vigilant and effective. In 1996, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the UK seized 79,900 kgs of controlled substances (of which 95 percent was cannabis.) In 1996, the UK convicted, cautioned or fined 93,600 drug offenders.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Since 1989, the US and UK governments have conducted periodic consultations at the senior level to coordinate and harmonize policies, plans and programs on all counternarcotics fronts. The UK's Special Representative on International Drug Issues was particularly active in 1997, further enhancing US/UK counternarcotics cooperation. Law enforcement cooperation between the two countries is excellent and growing. The UK cooperates to the fullest extent with efforts by the US and other countries to trace or seize illicit assets. British laws permit the sharing of forfeited assets with the USG. Asset sharing with others is both formal and ad hoc.
The Road Ahead. The US looks forward to continued close cooperation with the UK on all counternarcotics fronts.
Uzbekistan is part of an important transshipment route for Southwest Asian narcotics heading for Russia and Europe. While the government continues to profess its commitment to the fight against drugs, it made virtually no progress on counternarcotics legislation or a counternarcotics master plan in 1997. Law enforcement agencies seized some two and a half tons of illicit narcotics, but their efforts are hampered by limited resources and a lack of coordination among the various agencies assigned counternarcotics responsibilities. The Government of Uzbekistan (GOU) is talking about devoting additional resources to demand reduction, but education programs are in their infancy and treatment has not advanced beyond Soviet methods. A party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, Uzbekistan is trying to expand cooperation with the United Nations, the United States, and other western countries.
II. Status of Country
Uzbekistan is part of an attractive and increasingly important transshipment route for opium and cannabis products moving from southwest Asia toward Russia and Europe. Precursor chemicals which originate in Russia, Ukraine, and east Asia also move through the country to heroin laboratories in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Uzbekistan was formerly a moderate producer of opium poppies, but government programs have all but eradicated the crop in recent years.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997
Policy Initiatives/Accomplishments. Uzbekistan took no significant counternarcotics policy initiatives in 1997. The country also made no progress in developing a counternarcotics master plan. Amendments to narcotics-related sections of the criminal codes as well as a separate "law on narcotics," remain in the drafting stage. Current Uzbek legislation meets the basic requirements of the 1988 UN Drug Convention, in that illicit cultivation, production, sales distribution, and transport are properly criminalized. However, money laundering legislation and extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties are non-existent, and asset seizure regulations are vague. Moreover, Uzbek counternarcotics laws, like much of the criminal code, fall short of international standards on such issues as due process.
There are currently three UNDCP projects operating in Uzbekistan. The first is a regional project (also involving Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan) attempting to improve interdiction along a key trafficking route into Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley. The second is an institution-building project, attempting to establish a separate National Drug Intelligence Unit. The final project is providing support to Uzbekistan Institute of Genetics efforts to create an effective opium-poppy-specific pathogen.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Uzbekistan's various law enforcement agencies seized 2.5 million metric tons of illicit drugs in 1997, roughly three-fourths of it opium. This represents a considerable decline from the more than seven tons seized last year, but the decline is probably attributable more to the absence of any one large seizure than to any decline in trafficking activity or effectiveness in Uzbek law enforcement efforts. The closure of the Uzbek-Afghan border at Termez because of fighting in northern Afghanistan may also have contributed to the decline.
Three separate agencies--the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), the National Security Service (NSS), and the State Customs Committee--have responsibilities for various aspects of counternarcotics activities. Each of these agencies has a professional cadre of officers and sections that focus on narcotics. In the MVD, for example, 150 officers work in the counternarcotics department. Interdiction efforts are mostly at border inspection points. Authorities use dogs, and have military helicopters available to assist in interdiction and eradication efforts.
However, all of these entities suffer from resource constraints, and, since none actually specializes in counternarcotics operations--the NSS is a National Intelligence and Security Service, the MVD, a National Police Force, and Customs concentrates more on collecting taxes and duties and preventing the import of illegal food, alcohol, and tobacco than on drugs--counternarcotics efforts rarely receive sufficient funding. Also, outside of the counternarcotic-specific subsections, many law enforcement officers have multiple responsibilities and lack adequate knowledge of drug control procedures.
Moreover, couternarcotics efforts are sometimes hamstrung by rivalry, mistrust, and lack of coordination among these agencies. A National Drug Information Analytical Center, established to coordinate these diffuse efforts, has not been able to compel the other agencies to cooperate, and has at times become merely a fourth competing counternarcotics entity.
In August, the Customs Service received an increase in status with the establishment of an independent State Customs Committee. Previously, Customs had been under the State Tax Committee. In early 1997, the Customs Service opened its own dog training center in Tashkent. The center has so far trained a handful of GOU dogs and their handlers. Eventually, the Uzbeks would like the center to serve the entire region.
Corruption. Uzbekistan has laws against corruption, but none specifically targeting narcotics-related corruption. There were no major narcotics-related corruption cases in 1997. Customs and, to a lesser extent, the MVD have reputations for corruption. Law enforcement officials' low salaries--which are often received several months late--make them susceptible to bribery and other forms of corruption.
Agreements and Treaties. Uzbekistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Uzbekistan and the United States signed a Letter of Agreement for provision of USG counternarcotics assistance in December 1997. The United States has no Extradition or Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with Uzbekistan, but a precedent has been established for cooperation in the apprehension of Uzbek fugitives in the United States. One case involved an FBI task force which targetted a Russian organized crime group and identified two Uzbek fugitives involved in visa fraud. Further investigation revealed that the two were fugitives from justice in Uzbekistan where they were wanted for more serious crimes. Police officials from Uzbekistan traveled to the United States to observe the arrest, and to participate in court proceedings.
The GOU did not sign counternarcotics agreements with any other countries in 1997. An EU/TACIS delegation traveled to Uzbekistan in the Spring of 1997 to explore opportunities for counternarcotics assistance. Although no agreements have yet been reached, some EU counternarcotics programs are likely to begin in 1998. A narcotics liaison officer from the German Federal Police arrived in Tashkent in October; he will be the first professional narcotics liaison officer from any country to be based in central Asia. The United Kingdom also appears likely to step up its counternarcotics assistance.
Cultivation and Production. Until the mid 1990's, Uzbekistan produced a moderate opium crop, mostly in the Samarkand region near the border with Tajikistan. GOU eradication efforts have been very successful in recent years, and today only small, scattered plots remain. Uzbekistan's "Operation Black Poppy-97" eradicated 3.7 hectares of opium poppy and 0.5 hectares of cannabis.
Drug Flow/Transit. Uzbekistan sits astride several routes through which southwest Asian opium and cannabis reach Russia and Europe. The level of drug trafficking remained steady, or perhaps even increased slightly, in 1997.
Currently, the key route from Afghanistan is via the Gorno-Badakhshan region of Tajikistan, through Osh in Kyrgyzstan, and on into eastern Uzbekistan's Andijon region. A secondary route from Afghanistan, but one of growing significance, is through Turkmenistan, with the drugs generally entering Uzbekistan through the lightly guarded Bukhara region. The direct route across the Afghan-Uzbek border through the city of Termez has become less appealing to traffickers now that the GOU, driven by concerns about fighting in northern Afghanistan, has tightened security along that border, effectively closing it. However, the concentration of resources along the Uzbek-Afghan border has left the other border crossings even more vulnerable. All of these drug trafficking routes continue from Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan and Russia.
In addition to this southwest Asian traffic, narcotics grown in Tajikistan also transit Uzbekistan en route to Russia. The main growing area in Tajikistan is located just across the border from Uzbekistan, and there have been numerous seizures along that border, particularly near the towns of Urgut and Sariasia. In addition, Uzbek transport police regularly apprehend drug smugglers on the Dushanbe-Moscow train.
In recent years, a reverse traffic in chemical precursors has begun to appear in Uzbekistan. These chemicals transit Uzbekistan en route from plants in Russia, Ukraine and east Asia to laboratories in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Demand Reduction. Although GOU officials have begun to publicly call for increased attention to be paid to the problem of drug abuse, Uzbekistan has been slow in establishing effective demand reduction programs. There is currently no anti-drug program in Uzbekistan's public schools, although service-oriented organizations like the Red Crescent and the Muslim Religious Board have been active in this area. Uzbekistan continues the Soviet practice of forced treatment of registered drug addicts. There is no accurate data on the number of drug abusers in Uzbekistan: there are roughly 17,000 addicts registered, but the UNDCP estimates that there are at least 200,000 users in the country.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The United States continued its counternarcotics cooperation with Uzbekistan in 1997. In June 1997, the Uzbek Minister of Internal Affairs visited DEA headquarters and was briefed on regional narcotics production and trafficking activity. The USG provided audio-visual equipment to the dog training center. The Department of Agriculture signed an agreement with the Institute of Genetics providing support for its research into an opium-destroying pathogen.
The DEA conducted a basic drug enforcement seminar in Tashkent which was attended by 40 GOU officials, including representatives from all of the key counternarcotics agencies, in March. Another edition of this course, featuring 10 attendees each from four different central Asian states, was held in Budapest in May. Uzbek officials also attended DEA-sponsored Narcotics Management and Forensic Chemists' Seminars in Washington. Finally, the United States made earmarked contributions for Uzbekistan to the UNDCP.
The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to provide training and, where appropriate, equipment to the GOU to assist in its counternarcotics efforts. The USG will urge the GOU to improve the legal and legislative framework in this area. We will also, in concert with the UNDCP and other western donors, push the GOU to cooperate more closely with its central Asian neighbors and establish regional counternarcotics initiatives.
FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA
Illicit drug trafficking increased in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) during 1997. However, this increase was at a slower pace than in previous years. Drug trafficking was a greater problem in the area of domestic sale and use than in transit traffic. Internal upheaval in Albania combined with the improvement of transportation options through the FRY resulted in the decline of East-West linkages through the country and the resumption of the old Balkan route (Sofia to Dimitrovgrad to Belgrade to western Europe). While the amount of drugs in transit has decreased, a larger quantity of drugs is now present in the Macedonian market. The Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
FYROM is a transshipment point for drug trafficking between Turkey and western Europe, but it is not a significant problem in the region. Illicit narcotics traffic through the country declined in 1997. The East-West link from Bulgaria through FYROM to Albania established in previous years during the Greek embargo on FYROM and UN sanctions on the FRY seems to have been abandoned. Reasons for the change are both the improved transportation options along the North-South route and the insecurity in Albania, which deterred traffickers from attempting to transit that country in order to use Albanian ports.
Drug abuse in the country is a growing problem and could lead to increases in criminality in other areas. 1997 statistics from the Ministry of Interior show a nearly 30 percent increase in overall drug arrests, most of which it believes are related to domestic use. In addition, the number of registered drug addicts increased significantly in 1997, to 2,566 individuals, of whom 565 are newly registered. Most of the country's registered addicts are addicted to heroin.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997
The Macedonian government is actively implementing an anti-narcotics program, although it is still in the process of establishing a targeted anti-narcotics unit. At present, the anti-narcotics unit operates as a part of the Department for Illegal Trade and Smuggling at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is responsible for conducting interdiction operations, made 151 arrests for drug trafficking and illegal production. This compares with 117 arrests in 1996, although the total amount of drugs seized in 1997 was smaller than in 1996. Seizures totaled 15 kgs of heroin, 45 kgs of raw opium, 58 kgs of marijuana and 11 grams of cocaine. However, 184 units of synthetic drugs, primarily ecstasy, were seized in 1997, a notable increase from 65 units seized in 1996.
A new development this year was the seizure of precursor chemicals, in this case, 14,000 liters of acetic anhydride. The MOI believes the chemicals were destined for labs in Turkey.
The heroin present in the Macedonian market is thought to be manufactured primarily in Turkey. In four cases of heroin trafficking, the MOI uncovered organized smuggling involving Bulgarian, Turkish and Macedonian citizens. The marijuana in the country is mostly of domestic origin (grown by individual for personal use), but some is also smuggled in from Bulgaria and Albania.
Cultivation/Production. There is some illicit cultivation of cannabis in FYROM for personal consumption. There are no statistics on such cultivation. However, enforcement is supported by an aggressive anti-illicit cultivation program. There is also legal opium poppy cultivation, which is strictly controlled. Production is by individual farmer-contractors or big socially-owned agricultural plants. Alkaloid, the only factory in the country that processes the opium poppy, provides the contractors with poppy seeds and buys the opium. There have been no reports of diversion. Legal production is reported to the Macedonian Ministry of Health and through the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the International Narcotics Control Bureau in Vienna. There are no reports of illicit production or refining of heroin. Some recent cases under investigation have suggested that there may be an illegal laboratory producing amphetamines, but this has not been confirmed.
Policy Initiatives. The Macedonian government developed legislation to allow limited asset seizure. Currently, Macedonian police and customs authorities can seize only vehicles involved in drug trafficking.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Cooperation with neighboring countries is improving. Macedonian drug enforcement officers have used the opportunities at DEA-sponsored training seminars to establish informal contacts with their counterparts from the region. One concrete example of good cooperation with Bulgarian police was a controlled delivery. Although the operation was not in the end a success, the two countries worked well together. Macedonian cooperation with the DEA in 1997 resulted in the arrest of a Macedonian citizen wanted on charges of drug trafficking in the United States. Although extradition of its nationals is constitutionally prohibited, Macedonia has agreed to prosecute him there for the crimes committed in the US.
The Ministry of Interior participates in the INTERPOL-ProBalkan program.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Government of FYROM does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, other controlled substances or the laundering of drug money.
Demand Reduction. Public awareness programs are limited and supported primarily by international organizations and recently by the Macedonian Orthodox Church. Recently efforts have been made to include local sport stars in a prevention program.
Limited treatment of addicts is financed by the state. Heroin addicts are treated by distributing methadone if the addicts can verify they are in treatment in state institutions. A recent problem of shortage of the methadone supply raised concerns about the possible trafficking in methadone by addicts.
Agreements and Treaties. FYROM is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. An Extradition Treaty with Yugoslavia dating from 1902 is in effect between the US and FYROM.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The US Government accredited a non-resident DEA Country Attache to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 1997. This will help the USG to promote increased Macedonian government attention to the drug problem. Moreover, the USG encourages anti-drug support from those nations, primarily in western Europe, most directly affected by the drug problems from this region. In 1997, the USG provided training for seven drug enforcement officers in Zagreb, Croatia and one drug enforcement management unit in the US. In addition, the UN Center for Crime Prevention and the Ministries of Interior, Justice and Finance organized a seminar on the Prevention of Organized Crime and Corruption in Skopje in coordination with the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) partially funded by the USG.
The Road Ahead. The USG will encourage the Macedonian government to expand and improve its drug control activities, enact anti-drug legislation, and improve its counternarcotics enforcement capabilities, and may allocate funds to support the effort FYROM makes in drug enforcement. The US Government will urge Macedonian authorities to continue to implement the provisions of the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA
The extent of narcotics smuggling, production, and consumption in Serbia/Montenegro (FRY) remains difficult to determine. Nonetheless, following the lifting of UN trade sanctions in 1996, it appears that the country has once again become part of the Balkan route for heroin smuggling from the Middle East to western Europe. Serbia/Montenegro is not a member of the United Nations but holds itself responsible for meeting the standards of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Lack of US diplomatic recognition of the "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" prevents meaningful cooperation with federal enforcement authorities and increases the difficulty of obtaining information from other than open media sources. FRY enforcement authorities claim that lack of international cooperation has reduced their effectiveness in fighting drug trafficking and have requested renewed cooperation with the United States. They also promised to provide a full set of statistics on the drug problem sometime in the first quarter of 1998.
II. Status of Country
During the 1970's and 1980's, the Former Yugoslavia (FRY) was a major avenue for the trafficking of heroin from the Middle East to western Europe. The disintegration of the FRY and the imposition of UN trade sanctions against the FRY reduced the extent of transit traffic through the country and thus minimized the opportunity for drug trafficking along this route. At the same time, gray market smuggling of a variety of goods, including cigarettes, food, and oil, became a standard practice during the UN sanctions. The federal government initiated a very public campaign against these gray market activities during the late spring and summer of 1997, but the results are not yet clear. Widespread smuggling and the existence of a largely cash-based economy are important impediments to the ability of enforcement authorities to prevent narcotics trafficking. The Republic of Montenegro's 1996 designation of itself as an offshore business (and banking) zone clouds the picture further.
FRY authorities admit that heroin trafficking through the country is growing and blame most of it on Albanian Kosovars and foreigners. These officials point to frequent drug-related arrests of Albanian Kosovars in neighboring and western European countries. Officials are also concerned about indications that domestic consumption of heroin is growing.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997
Law Enforcement Efforts. The following incident involving distribution was reported in the press. On November 25, two ethnic Albanians were arrested in Kosovo for attempting to sell 136.7 grams of heroin in Bujanovack Banja, near Vranje in southern Serbia. An additional 102 grams were reportedly found in one of their homes'.
Corruption. No examples of official involvement in narcotics smuggling have surfaced.
Cultivation and Production. Minimal.
Drug Flow/Transit. Press reports have not touted the large heroin interdictions that occurred during the autumn of 1996. The following incidents have been reported in the press for 1997. On September 4, two Montenegrin citizens, Igor Maras and Zdenko Mara, were arrested by FRY army border units and charged with attempting to smuggle 127 kilograms of marijuana into Montenegro from Albania via Skadar Lake. The reported street value of the marijuana was over 650,000 Deutsche Marks.
On November 12, FRY customs seized 4 kilograms of heroin at the Gradina border crossing between Bulgaria and Serbia/Montenegro. The drug was reportedly found in the luggage compartment of a bus, concealed in a false-bottomed suitcase belonging to a German national. The bus originated in Istanbul and was bound for Frankfurt.
On November 19, another 13 kilograms of heroin were seized at Gradina. The drug was reportedly found in a Citroen passenger car belonging to a Bulgarian citizen. The drug was concealed inside the spare tire of the vehicle.
Agreements and Treaties. We presume that the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Stubstances continue to apply to the FRY by succession. We consider that extradition between the FRY and the US continues to be governed by the 1902 Treaty with Yugoslavia.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Lack of diplomatic relations precludes negotiations on narcotics-related bilateral agreements. Serbia/Montenegro is not a member of the United Nations and therefore can not be a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The government's position is to implement the Convention and become a party to it as soon as possible.
According to enforcement authorities, all international cooperation is conducted on an informal, ad hoc basis.
[end of document]
Return to International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.
This is an official U.S.-Government source for information on the WWW. Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.