International Narcotics Control Strategy Report -2006-

Bulgaria

I. Summary

Bulgaria is a major transit country, as well as a producer of illicit narcotics. Strategically situated on Balkan transit routes, Bulgaria is vulnerable to illegal flows of drugs, people, contraband, and money. Heroin moves through Bulgaria from Southwest Asia, while chemicals used for making heroin move from the former Yugoslavia to Turkey and beyond. It is thought that much of the heroin distributed in Europe is transported through Bulgaria. Marijuana and cocaine are also transported through Bulgaria. The Government of Bulgaria (GOB) has continued to make progress in improving its law enforcement capabilities and customs services; it closed some illegal drug-producing laboratories and recorded a notable increase in seizures. However, while major legal and structural reforms have been enacted, effective implementation remains a challenge. The Bulgarian government has proven cooperative, working with many U.S. agencies, and has reached out to neighboring states to cooperate in interdicting illegal flow of drugs and persons. Nevertheless, Bulgarian law enforcement agencies, investigators, prosecutors and judges require further assistance to develop the capacity to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate illicit narcotics trafficking and other serious crimes effectively. Bulgaria is a party to the 1988 UN Drugs Convention.

II. Status of Country

In the past year, Bulgaria has continued to move from primarily a drug transit country to an important producer of narcotics. According to NGO and government sources, Bulgaria is increasingly a center of synthetic drug production, and synthetic drugs have overtaken heroin as the most widely used drugs in Bulgaria. Amphetamines are produced in Bulgaria for the domestic market as well as for export to Turkey and the Middle East. The Government of Bulgaria has emphasized its commitment to combat serious crime including drug trafficking. Despite some progress towards this goal, there were no convictions of major figures involved in drug trafficking, or other serious related crimes, including organized criminal activity, corruption or money laundering during 2005. Among the problems hampering counternarcotics efforts are poor inter-agency cooperation, inadequate equipment to facilitate narcotics searches, widespread corruption, and an often ineffective judicial system.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Policy Initiatives. The Bulgarian government has continued to implement the National Strategy for Drugs Control adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2003. In 2004, amendments to the Criminal Code abolished a provision that had decriminalized possession of one-time doses of illegal drugs for personal use. The effect of this policy has been to extend harsh penalties for drug possession to users as well as producers and distributors. NGOs, government bodies, and European institutions have disputed the effectiveness of this legislation, with some studies claiming that drug use has actually increased since its adoption. Additional measures started in 2002 and continuing through 2005 included engaging NGOs in counternarcotics partnerships and the establishment of 16 provincial prevention and education centers throughout the country. Unfortunately, national programs for drug treatment and prevention, including the National Center for Addictions, have been consistently under-funded.

Accomplishments. The National Drugs Intelligence Unit, founded in October 2004, has improved coordination between law enforcement agencies by gathering and analyzing information relating to illegal drugs production and distribution. To date, the center has compiled data on over 300 suspected drug traffickers.

Law Enforcement Efforts. From January to November 2005, Bulgarian law enforcement agencies closed three illegal drug-producing laboratories and seized 2240 kilograms of drugs, including 395 kilograms of heroin, 61 kilograms of marijuana, 142 kilograms of cocaine, 1,327 kilograms of synthetic drugs and 2000 vials and 27,598 tablets of other psychotropic substances. Also seized were 192 kilograms of dry and 157 liters of fluid precursor chemicals. Bulgarian services report that the 12.5 percent increase in seizures of synthetic drugs over the same period in 2004 is due to increased demand for Bulgarian-produced synthetic drugs in Southwest Asia.

Corruption. Despite some progress, corruption in various forms in the government remains a serious problem. According to recent polls, the Customs Service is widely considered the most corrupt government agency. In November 2005, 24 Customs officers, including the Deputy Chief of the Customs Service, resigned over allegations of corruption. Despite this, there was no evidence that senior government officials engaged in, encouraged or facilitated the production, processing, shipment or distribution of illegal narcotics, or laundered the proceeds of illegal drug transactions. Bulgaria is not a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption.

Agreements and Treaties. Bulgaria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1990 Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of Proceeds from Crime. Bulgaria is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling and illegal manufacturing and trafficking in firearms. The 1924 U.S.-Bulgarian Extradition Treaty and a 1934 supplementary treaty are in force.

Cultivation and Production. The only illicit drug crop known to be cultivated in Bulgaria is cannabis, but the extent of cultivation is not known. It is certainly not very extensive, and is not a significant factor in abuse beyond Bulgaria’s own borders. There has been a steady increase in the indigenous manufacture of synthetic stimulant products such as captagon (fenethylline).

Drug Flow/Transit. Synthetic drugs and heroin are the main drugs transported through Bulgaria. Heroin from the Golden Crescent and Southwest Asia (primarily Afghanistan) has traditionally been trafficked to Western Europe through the Northern Balkan route from Turkey through Bulgaria to Romania. However, Bulgarian authorities have noticed a recent shift in heroin trafficking to more circuitous routes through the Caucasus and Russia to the north and through the Mediterranean to the south. Other trafficking routes crossing Bulgaria pass through Serbia and Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia. In addition to heroin and synthetic drugs, smaller amounts of marijuana and cocaine also transit through Bulgaria. Precursor chemicals for the production of heroin pass from the Western Balkans through Bulgaria to Turkey and the Middle East. Synthetic drugs produced in Bulgaria are also trafficked through Turkey to markets in Southwest Asia. Principal methods of transport for heroin and synthetics include buses, vans, and cars, with smaller amounts sent by air. Cocaine is primarily trafficked into Bulgaria by air in small quantities and by maritime vessel in larger quantities.

Domestic Programs. Demand reduction has received government attention for several years. The Ministry of Education requires that schools nationwide teach health promotion modules on substance abuse. The Bulgarian National Center for Addictions (NCA) provides training seminars on drug abuse for schoolteachers nationwide. The NCA is in the process of opening prevention and education centers in each of Bulgaria’s 28 administrative districts, 16 of which are currently operational. Three universities provide professional training in drug prevention. For drug treatment, there are 35 outpatient units, including 5 specialized methadone clinics which provide treatment to 770 patients. Twelve inpatient facilities nationwide offer 209 beds for more intensive addiction-related treatment. Specialized professional training in drug treatment and demand reduction has been provided through programs sponsored by UNODC, EU/PHARE and the Council of Europe’s Pompidou Group.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Strategies

Bilateral Cooperation. DEA operations for Bulgaria are managed from the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul. The United States also supports various programs through the State Department, USAID, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Treasury Department to support the counternarcotics efforts of the Bulgarian legal system. These initiatives address a lack of adequate equipment (e.g., in the Customs Service), the need for improved administration of justice at all levels and insufficient cooperation among Bulgarian agencies. A DOJ resident legal advisor works with the Bulgarian government on law enforcement issues, including trafficking in drugs and persons. An American Bar Association/Central and East European Law Initiative criminal law liaison attorney advises Bulgarian prosecutors and investigators on cyber-crime and other issues. A Treasury Department representative supports Bulgarian efforts to investigate and prosecute financial crimes, including money laundering. USAID provides assistance to strengthen Bulgaria’s constitutional legal framework, enhance the capacity of magistrates and promote anticorruption efforts.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. and Bulgaria will continue to cooperate effectively to improve Bulgaria’s capacity to enforce narcotics laws.
Croatia

I. Summary

Croatia is not a producer of narcotics. However, narcotics smuggling, particularly heroin, through the Balkans route to Western Europe remains a serious concern. Croatian law enforcement bodies cooperate actively with their U.S. and regional counterparts to combat narcotics smuggling. Croatia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Croatia shares borders with Slovenia, Serbia, Hungary, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has a 1,000 km long coastline (4,000 km adding in its 1,001 islands), which presents an attractive target to contraband smugglers seeking to move narcotics into the vast European market. Croatian police have noted a steady increase in smuggling from the east, estimating that 70 to 80 percent of heroin destined for European markets is smuggled through the notorious “Balkans Route.”

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Policy Initiatives. Croatia adopted a National Strategy for Narcotics Abuse Prevention in November for the 2006-2012 period, developed with assistance from the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). The Strategy aims to bring demand and supply reduction efforts in line with EU policies and creates a National Information Unit for Drugs to standardize monitoring and the assessment of drug abuse data to facilitate data sharing with the EU’s EMCDDA programs. In November of 2005, draft changes to the criminal code passed the initial reading in the Sabor (parliament). Key provisions include simplifying confiscation of assets of organized criminals and stiffening penalties for corruption. Further parliamentary discussion of these changes is expected in early 2006. At the end of 2005, Croatian authorities initiated a program to change the official health protocol on disbursement of heptanon and other heroin addiction replacement therapy drugs. This initiative was taken to counter the growing abuse of heptanon in Croatia: seizures of illegal heptanon doubled in 2005 compared to 2004.

Accomplishments. Croatia continues to cooperate well with neighboring and other European states to improve the control and management of its porous borders. Cooperation on narcotics enforcement issues with neighboring states is generally described as excellent. In October 2005, Croatian police joined with police from Macedonia, Slovenia, and Serbian police in Operation “Put” (path) to break up an ongoing heroin smuggling operation. Twelve persons (Croatian, Turkish and Macedonian citizens) were arrested and 1.3 kilograms of heroin seized. In another operation, Croatian police worked with their Austrian counterparts to arrest an Albanian national involved in drug smuggling in Croatia.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The Interior Ministry, Justice Ministry and Customs Directorate have primary responsibility for law enforcement issues, while the Ministry of Health has primary responsibility for the strategy to reduce and treat drug abuse. The Interior Ministry’s Anti-Narcotics Division is responsible for coordinating the work of counternarcotics units in police departments throughout the country. The Interior Ministry maintains cooperative relationships with Interpol and an expanding number of neighboring states. Croatian police and Customs authorities continued to coordinate counternarcotics efforts on targeted border-crossing points, although with 189 legal border crossings, the level of coordination was not consistent. Heroin (114 kilograms in 2004 vs. 25 kilograms in 2005), Hashish (53 kilograms in 2004 vs. 6 kilograms in 2005) and marijuana (967 kilograms in 2004 vs. 428 in 2005) seizures fell sharply during the first ten months of 2005 compared to the same period of 2004. Cocaine seizures, while small absolutely, increased sharply (from 7 kilograms in 2004 to 17.6 kilograms in 2005), amphetamine and ecstasy seizures declined.

Corruption. Narcotics-linked corruption does not appear to be a major problem in Croatia. As a matter of government policy, Croatia 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. Similarly, no senior government official is alleged to have participated in such activities. In 2005, two mid-level police officers from the city of Velika Gorica were suspended on allegations of corruption. Also in 2005, a lower level police officer was arrested in the city of Rijeka along with four individuals in a police raid on a street-level drug distribution organization.

Agreements and Treaties. Croatia ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption in April 2005. Croatia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention On Psychotropic Substances. Croatia is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling, and illegal manufacturing and trafficking in firearms. Extradition between Croatia and the United States is governed by the 1902 Extradition Treaty between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Serbia, which applies to Croatia as a successor state. The Croatian constitution prohibits the extradition of Croatian citizens; however, the Government of Croatia permits its citizens to be extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Cultivation/Production. Small-scale cannabis production for domestic use is the only narcotics production within Croatia. In 2004, 2,207 cannabis plants were seized. Opium poppies are cultivated on a very small scale for culinary use of the seeds. Because of Croatia’s small market and its relatively porous border, Croatian police report that nearly all illegal drugs are imported into Croatia. However, authorities believe that given the existence of ecstasy labs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is inevitable that small-scale labs will be discovered in Croatia.

Drug flow/Transit. Croatia lies along part of the “Balkans Route.” Authorities believe that up to 80 percent of the heroin from Asian sources travels across this route on its way to the European market. Although not considered a primary gateway, police seizure data indicate smugglers continue to attempt to use Croatia as a transit point for other drugs, including cocaine and cannabis-based drugs. Ecstasy and other pill-form narcotics are smuggled into Croatia from Western Europe in small quantities for domestic use. Police believe that illicit labs in The Netherlands and Belgium are the primary sources.

Demand Reduction. The Office for Combating Drug Abuse is the focal point for coordination of various agencies activities to reduce demand for narcotics. This Office develops the National Strategy for Narcotics Abuse Prevention which was adopted by the government in November for the period of 2006-2012. In July 2004, the Sabor approved some changes to the criminal code allowing courts to mandate therapeutic treatment in some drug addition cases. According to the Office, Istria County had the highest rate of treated addicts, followed by the Zadar and Sibenik-Knin County. The high rates in Istria did not necessarily reflect high drug abuse rates, but rather an efficient system of their inclusion in treatment due to good cooperation between drug abuse prevention centers and general practitioners. In 2004, 5,768 persons underwent drug addiction treatment, which is 1.6 percent more than in the previous year. But the number of the first-time seekers of addiction treatment, which has been sliding since 2001, dropped another 12 percent to 1,619 in comparison with the previous year. The number of new opiate addicts, which stood between 800 and 1000 annually for the past several years, dropped further to 732 in 2004. However, due to reorganization of addiction prevention centers, these positive results may have more to do with an unstable system of reception of addicts, than the actual decline in numbers. Approximately 72 percent of the overall number of addicts was addicted to heroin. Over 47 percent were infected with hepatitis C which was a significant drop from the 72 percent last year, and 0.5 percent were HIV positive. The number of deaths caused by overdose continued to rise. There were 108 drug related deaths in 2004, of which 76 died of overdose—a 22 percent increase compared to the year before.

Demand reduction programs are coordinated by national Office for Combating Drug Abuse. The Ministry of Education requires drug education in primary and secondary schools. Additional major drug abuse prevention and public awareness programs are run by the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Interior. Other ministries and government organizations also run outreach programs to reach specific constituencies such as pregnant women. The state-run medical system offers treatment for addicts, but slots are insufficient to accommodate all those needing treatment. The Ministry of Health operates in-patient detoxification programs as well as 14 regional outpatient methadone clinics. The government of Croatia spent 34 million Kuna (approx $5,484,000) for demand reduction related activities in 2004. The Government of Croatia has created county-level expert advisory groups that will work with local governments to counternarcotics abuse and serve as incubators for policy initiatives. In Varazdin, the advisory group is piloting a random drug testing program for high school students.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The primary objectives of U.S. initiatives in Croatia are to offer assistance with the development of skills and tools among Croatian law enforcement agencies to improve their ability to combat organized crime and narcotics trafficking and to improve Croatian law enforcement agencies’ abilities to work bilaterally and regionally to combat trafficking. Having achieved basic objectives ahead of schedule, U.S. assistance for police reform efforts under the ICITAP (DoJ) program was refocused on combating organized crime. In April, U.S. DEA special agents joined with ICITAP trainers to help Croatian police develop confidential source management skills. In October, Croatian police formed the first joint police-prosecutor task force to target a criminal organization allegedly involved in drug trafficking. In addition, Croatian police have been regular participants in training programs at the U.S.-funded International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest as well as follow-on training in Roswell, New Mexico. Under the Export Control and Border Security (EXBS) program, police and customs officers have been trained on risk analysis methodologies and new equipment has been donated to help improve at-the-border detection of smuggled contraband. In January 2005, Customs officials who had recently received EXBS training in detecting concealed compartments in vehicles and shipping containers seized 700 kilograms of marijuana hidden in a truck.

Road Ahead. For 2006, U.S. expert training teams will join in-country U.S. trainers to help Croatian police develop skills in complex case management, undercover operations, anticorruption investigations, and detecting financial crimes including money laundering. In addition, resident advisors will continue to assist the Ministry of Interior in improving police and prosecutor cooperation in complex narcotics and organized crime cases. Additional training and detection equipment donations planned for 2006 under the EXBS program will have ancillary benefits for Croatia’s fight against narcotics trafficking, particularly in the areas of interagency cooperation and border management.
Cyprus

I. Summary

Although Cypriots do not produce or consume significant amounts of narcotics, an increase in local drug use continues to be a concern. The Government of Cyprus traditionally has had a low tolerance toward any use of narcotics by Cypriots and continues to employ a public affairs campaign to remind Cypriots that narcotics use carries heavy costs, and users risk stiff criminal penalties. Cyprus’ geographic location and its decision to opt for free ports at its two main seaports continue to make it an ideal transit country for chemicals between the Middle East and Europe. To a limited extent, drug traffickers use Cyprus as a transshipment point due to its strategic location and its relatively sophisticated business and communications infrastructure. Cyprus monitors the import and export of dual-use precursor chemicals for local markets. Cyprus customs authorities have implemented changes to their inspection procedures, including computerized profiling and expanded use of technical screening devices, such as portal monitors to deter those who would attempt to use Cyprus free ports for narcotics smuggling. A party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, Cyprus strictly enforces tough counternarcotics laws, and its police and customs authorities maintain excellent relations with their counterparts in the U.S. and other governments.

II. Status of Country

Cyprus’ small population of soft-core drug users continues to grow. Cannabis is the most commonly used drug, followed by heroin, cocaine, and MDMA (ecstasy), which are available in major towns. Reports of narcotics-related overdoses in 2004 were as follows: seven (7) confirmed heroin deaths (two of which also had cannabis in their system); one (1) confirmed ecstasy death; one (1) unconfirmed heroin death; and one (1) unconfirmed cocaine death. Overall, the number of overdose related deaths remained constant in 2005. The use of cannabis and ecstasy by young Cypriots and tourists continues to increase. Cypriots themselves do not produce or consume significant quantities of drugs. Dual-use precursor chemicals transit Cyprus in limited quantities, although there is no hard evidence that they are diverted for illegal use. Cyprus offers relatively highly developed business and tourism facilities, a modern telecommunications system, and the ninth-largest merchant shipping fleet in the world.

Drug-related crime, still low by international standards, has been steadily rising since the 1980’s. According to the Justice Ministry, drug-related arrests and convictions in Cyprus have doubled since 1998. Cypriot law proscribes a maximum prison term of two years for drug users less than 25 years of age with no prior police record. In late 2005, the Courts began to refer most first-time offenders to rehabilitation centers rather than requiring incarceration. Sentences for drug traffickers range from four years to life, depending on the substances involved and the offender’s criminal record. In an effort to reduce recidivism as well as to act as a deterrent for would be offenders, Cypriot courts have begun sentencing distributors to near maximum prison terms as allowed by law. For example, in the second half of 2004, the Greek Cypriot courts began sentencing individuals charged with distributing heroin and ecstasy (MDMA) to much harsher sentences, ranging from 8 to 15 years. Cypriot law allows for the confiscation of drug-related assets as well as the freezing of profits, and a special investigation of a suspect’s financial records.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Policy Initiatives. In May 2004, Cyprus became a member of the European Union (EU). To meet EU regulations, Cyprus established the Anti-Drug Council, which is responsible for national drug strategies and programs. The council is chaired by the Health Minister and is composed of heads of key agencies with an active role in the fight against drugs. As the national coordinating mechanism on drug issues in the country, the Council’s mandate includes the planning, coordination and evaluation of all actions and programs and interventions. The Council acts as a liaison between the Republic of Cyprus and other foreign organizations concerning drug-related issues, as well as having the responsibility for promoting legislative or any other measures in an attempt to effectively counter the use and dissemination of drugs. Moreover, the Cyprus Anti-Drug Council is the responsible body for the strategic development and implementation of the National Drugs Strategy and the National Action Plan on Drugs aligned with the EU Drugs Strategy. The Cyprus Police, Drug Law Enforcement Unit, (DLEU) is the lead Police agency in Cyprus charged with combating drug trafficking in Cyprus.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Through the first 11 months of 2005, the Cyprus Police Drug Enforcement Unit opened 561 cases and made 675 arrests. Of those arrested 465 were Greek Cypriot while 211 were foreign nationals. The police also participated in three controlled deliveries with authorities from Greece, South Africa and the United Kingdom and dismantled four drug-trafficking organizations operating within Cyprus. They also seized 155 kilograms of cannabis, 332 cannabis plants, 5 kilograms of cannabis resin (hashish), one kilogram and 300 grams of cocaine, 12,835 tablets and 5.7 grams of MDMA (ecstasy), 17.5 tablets and 1.5 grams of amphetamines, 792 grams of opium, and 953 grams of heroin. Turkish Cypriots have their own law enforcement organization, responsible for the investigation of all narcotics-related matters. They have shown a willingness to pursue narcotics traffickers and to provide assistance when asked by foreign law enforcement authorities.

Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Government of Cyprus does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

Agreements and Treaties. Cyprus is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Cyprus is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and is a signatory to the UN Convention against Corruption. An extradition treaty and an MLAT are in force between the United States and Cyprus. Cyprus also became a member of the EU in May 2004.

Cultivation/Production. Cannabis is the only illicit substance cultivated in Cyprus, and it is grown only in small quantities for local consumption. The Cypriot authorities vigorously pursue illegal cultivation.

Drug Flow/Transit. Cypriot authorities believed that there was no significant retail sale of narcotics occurring in Cyprus; however, with new statistics on arrests and seizures of narcotics, this theory has changed. Last year, arrests of Cypriots for possession of narcotics with intent to distribute were significantly higher than the number of arrests of nonCypriots on similar charges. The number of Turkish Cypriots arrested for the distribution of narcotics in Cyprus in 2005 was roughly the same or below 2004 levels. There is no production of precursor chemicals in Cyprus, nor is there any indication of illicit diversion. Dual-use precursor chemicals manufactured in Europe do transit Cyprus to third countries. The Cyprus Customs Service no longer has the responsibility of receiving manifests of transit goods through Cyprus. This responsibility now rests with the Cyprus Ports Authority. Goods entering the Cypriot free ports of Limassol and Larnaca can be legally re-exported using different transit documents, as long as there is no change in the description of the goods transported.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). Cyprus actively promotes demand reduction programs through the school system and through social organizations. Drug abuse remains relatively rare in Cyprus. Marijuana is the most commonly encountered drug, followed by heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy, all of which are available in most major towns. Users consist primarily of young people and tourists. Recent increases in drug use have prompted the Government to promote demand reduction programs actively through the school system and social organizations, with occasional participation from the DEA office in Nicosia. Drug treatment is available.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives/Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. Embassy in Cyprus, through the regional DEA office, works closely with Cypriot police to coordinate international narcotics investigations and evaluate local narcotics trends. Utilizing its own regional presence, DEA assists the new coordination unit in establishing strong working relationships with its counterparts in the region. DEA also works directly with Cypriot customs, in particular, on development and implementation of programs to ensure closer inspection and interdiction of transit containers.

The Road Ahead. The USG receives close cooperation from the Cypriot Office of the Attorney General, the Central Bank, the Cyprus Police, and the Customs Authority in drug enforcement and anti-money laundering efforts. In 2006, the USG will continue to work with the Government of Cyprus to strengthen enforcement of existing counternarcotics laws and enhance Cypriot participation in regional counternarcotics efforts. DEA regularly provides information and insight to the GOC on ways to strengthen counternarcotics efforts. New laws to empower members of the Drug Law Enforcement Unit in their fight against drug traffickers are currently before Parliament.
Czech Republic

I. Summary

Illegal narcotics are imported to, manufactured in, and consumed in the Czech Republic. Marijuana, both imported, and to a much lesser extent grown locally, is used more than any other drug. The consumption of recreational drugs such as marijuana and ecstasy continues to grow, particularly among youth. According to the EU, Czech marijuana usage is now the highest in Europe. The usage and addiction rates of heroin and pervitine have stabilized or slightly decreased; the level of cocaine use remains very low. The Czech Republic is a producer of ephedrine, a precursor for Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) and a producer of lysergic acid, ergometrine and ergotamine, used for production of LSD. The Czech Republic is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Several factors make the Czech Republic an attractive country for groups in the drug trade. These factors include: its central location, the closure of most of the traditional customs posts along the nation’s borders as part of EU accession in 2004, low detection rates for laundered drug money, low risk of asset confiscation, and relatively short sentences for drug-related crimes. The maximum sentence for any drug-related crime is 15 years imprisonment. The Czech National Focal Point for Drugs and Drug Addiction is the main body responsible for collecting, analyzing and interpreting data on drug use. Earlier this year the Interior Ministry issued its action plan: National Drug Policy Strategy 2005-2009. According to a pan-European (EU) study, the rate of marijuana use in the Czech Republic is the highest in Europe, with 22.1 percent of young adults having used the drug within the previous twelve months. Czechs were also the most likely to have ever used marijuana in their lifetimes. Consumption of ecstasy and Pervitine was among the highest in the EU. Czech officials believe that the number of IV drug users has largely remained steady or has slightly declined.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Policy Initiatives. Drug policy remains a contentious issue in Czech domestic politics. The Christian Democratic Party, a junior member of the governing coalition, has endorsed a “war on drugs” and called for sharply punitive enforcement policies. The new Criminal Code passed in 2005, however, draws a sharp distinction between the use of “soft” drugs, such as marijuana and ecstasy, and “hard” drugs, such as heroin and Pervitine. Although a measure that would have decriminalized marijuana failed in Parliament earlier in 2005, the Criminal Code fully envisions a markedly more liberal approach to soft drugs in order to focus resources against drugs considered more damaging. The current National Drug Strategy flatly states that drug users will not be a priority target of police operations. Current planning focuses enforcement operations against organized criminal enterprises and efforts to reduce addiction and their associated health risks. The National Drug Headquarters is the main organization within the Interior Ministry responsible for major drug investigations, but the Deputy Police President has noted publicly that it is seriously understaffed. The drug unit of the Czech Customs Service assumed responsibility in 2005 for monitoring the Czech Republic’s modest licit poppy crop, a function previously performed by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Accomplishments/Law Enforcement. In 2005, the National Drug Headquarters, together with the Custom Service, seized 36.3 kilograms of heroin; 19,010 ecstasy pills; 5.3 kilograms of methamphetamine, 103 kilograms of marijuana, 1,780 cannabis plants, 4.6 kilograms of hashish, and 10 kilograms of cocaine. They also found 261 laboratories for methamphetamine production compared to 105 in 2004. The seizure statistics for ecstasy and hashish showed decreases, methamphetamine and cocaine seizures represented a significant increase over the totals registered in 2004.

The National Drug Headquarters also scored some significant successes in 2005. In November 2005, for example, a ten-member group of pervitine producers were arrested following a long-term sting operation. The arrests put an end to an operation that had generated perhaps millions of dollars in illicit revenues. The Drug Headquarters also successfully investigated and prosecuted several members of ethnic-Albanian drug gangs involved in the distribution of heroin and other drugs.

According to the police statistics for 2005, 2209 people were investigated for drug related crimes. 2156 suspects were investigated for unauthorized production and possession of narcotics and psychotropic substances and “poisons”. 184 were investigated for drug possession for personal use, and 53 others were investigated for spreading addiction.

According to the statistics provided by the Ministry of Justice for 2005, the state prosecuted 2430 suspects and indicted 2157 others for drug related crimes. 203 were indicted for drug possession for personal use and 91 were indicted for spreading addiction. Courts have convicted 1326 people; there were 60 convictions for drug possession for personal use and 32 for spreading addiction.

Statistics for year 2005 show that most of the convicted criminals (51 percent) receive conditional sentences, i.e., (if they regularly attend mandated treatment, their sentences are suspended) for drug related crimes and only one third of convicted criminals are actually sentenced to serve time. Only 13 percent of this latter group receives sentences higher then 5 years. The majority (74 percent) of those given prison sentences receive from 1 to 5 years. There was a significant trend in Czech legal practice to give additional penalties such as financial penalties (28 percent of all convicted) and assets forfeiture (6 percent). Compared to 2004 there were no punishments such as public service.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the Czech government does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. A current provision in Czech law permits possession of a small amount of certain drugs, but fails to define a “small amount”. Leaving this determination to the individual officer offers strong possibilities for corruption and malfeasance. To avoid any possible confusion and to eliminate possibilities for corruption, the Police President and Supreme Public Prosecutor issued internal regulations designed to clarify elements of the drug law that some feared allowed policemen too much discretion in whether to pursue drug cases. In 2004/05 a few police officers committed drug-related crimes: there were 4 cases of production and distribution of drugs, and 1 case of trafficking. Ten police officials were convicted of similar offenses in 2003 and four in 2002. The Czech Republic has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention Against Corruption.

Agreements and Treaties. The Czech Republic is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and the World Customs Organization’s Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance for the Prevention Investigation and Repression of Customs Offenses. An 1926 extradition treaty, as supplemented in 1935, remains in force between the United States and the Czech Republic. The U.S. the Czech Republic are in the process of negotiating a new extradition treaty. The Czech Republic has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Drug Flow/Transit. According to the head of Police counternarcotics squad, heroin trafficking in the country is largely under the control of ethnic Albanian groups that import their product from Afghanistan. During the course of the year the counternarcotics squad registered several major successes against these groups. Heroin is transported in the Czech Republic primarily using modified vehicles. Cocaine, on the other hand remains relatively rare in the Czech Republic, and frequently is imported through Western Europe. Pervitine is a synthetic methamphetamine primarily produced in homes and laboratories. Besides Czech citizens, Russian-speaking organized crime groups are frequently implicated in the Pervitine trade, as well as Bulgarian nationals and citizens of former Yugoslav states. Pervitine is often exported to surrounding countries. Ecstasy remains a favorite drug of the “dance scene,” and comes to the country primarily from the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, and Bulgaria. Seizures of ecstasy tablets more than doubled in 2004 over 2003. A trend toward larger-scale growth of cannabis plants in hydrophonic laboratories continued in 2004, along with a similar growth in the potency of the drug produced (up to 20 percent THC). In the greater Prague area, three such large scale facilities were discovered in 2004.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). The main components of Czech demand reduction plans include primary prevention along with treatment and re-socialization of abusers. This strategy entails a variety of programs which include school-based prevention education, drug treatment and needle exchange programs, and partnerships with local NGOs. Within the context of the National Strategy, the government has established benchmarks for success. Some of these include stabilizing or reducing the number of “problem” (“hard”) drug users, reversing the trend in the Czech Republic toward rising recreational and experimental drug use, and ensuring the availability of treatment centers and social services. In 2004, the state budget provided 206 million Czech Crowns, or $8.3 million to national drug programs and an additional 82 million Crowns, or $3.3 million came from the regional budgets and 63 million Crowns, or 2.5 million from local/district budgets.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. covers Czech Republic drug issues through the DEA office in Berlin, which maintained an extremely active and cooperative relationship with Czech counterparts. The State Department has given grants for counternarcotics education and has provided equipment and training for customs officers.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. and the Czech Republic will continue their active cooperation as the Czech Republic implements its National Drug Policy Strategy document for 2005-2009.
Denmark

I. Summary

Denmark’s strategic geographic location and status as one of Northern Europe’s primary transportation points make it an attractive drug transit country. The Danes cooperate closely with their Scandinavian neighbors, the European Union (EU), and the U.S. government (USG) against the transit of illicit drugs, and Denmark plays an increasingly important role in helping the Baltic States combat narcotics trafficking. Danish authorities assume that their open border agreements and high volume of international trade will inevitably allow some drug shipments to transit Denmark undetected. Nonetheless, regional cooperation has contributed to substantial heroin and increased cocaine seizures throughout the Scandinavian/northern Baltic region. Denmark is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Drug traffickers use Denmark’s excellent transportation network to bring illicit drugs to Denmark for domestic use and for transshipment to other Nordic countries. Evidence suggests that drugs from the Balkans, Russia, the Baltic countries and central Europe pass through Denmark en route to other EU states and the U.S., although the amount flowing to the U.S. is relatively small. Police authorities do not believe that entities based or operating in Denmark play a significant role in the production of drugs or in the trading and transit of precursor chemicals.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Policy Initiatives. Legislation creating stiffer penalties for narcotics-related crime was enacted in March 2004 and raised the maximum jail sentence for serious drug-related crimes from ten to sixteen years. In 2003, legislation allowing the use of undercover operations and informants was approved. Danish police view this legislation as an important tool in combating and infiltrating organized crime groups operating in Denmark, particularly in dealing with the criminality of the biker gangs Hells Angels and Banditos—both involved in illegal drugs. Although seldom used, undercover operations are permitted in Denmark with a court order when investigating crimes punishable by terms of more than six years in prison. Informants are used more for intelligence purposes than to secure actual evidence through sting-type operations in criminal investigations. Danish legislation passed in late 2002 requires persons carrying cash or instruments exceeding 15,000 Euros (approximately $17,850) to report the relevant amount to customs upon entry to or exit from Denmark. This law has led to Danish customs proactively intercepting illegal money.

Law Enforcement Efforts. During 2005, there was a significant increase in cocaine seizures. Cocaine investigations are the current top priority of counternarcotics police efforts in Denmark. The Danish National Police commissioner issued a statement that the increase in cocaine seizures can be attributed to “police efforts to fight organized crime and with the systematic police investigations aimed at criminal groups and networks which are involved in drug crime.” The police commissioner vowed to continue “goal-oriented and systematic efforts to fight organized crime in close cooperation with the European police unit at Europol and foreign police authorities.” This case has been linked to a 43 kilograms seizure of cocaine in Estonia, the largest cocaine seizure in Baltic history. Police also targeted members of the Hell’s Angels and Banditos biker gangs by increased enforcement of tax laws. Authorities brought 31 cases of tax evasion against members of the biker gangs resulting in fines up to DKK 4,000,000 ($727,272). Biker gangs are major factors in the drug trade. Heroin availability in Denmark has fluctuated based on the heroin production levels in Afghanistan. Heroin trafficking is controlled by Serbian and Albanian nationals. Final crime statistics for 2005 are not yet available, but are expected to show increased heroin seizures over 2004. In May 2005, after a Copenhagen Police Department investigation, the Spanish Guardia Civil seized 2,500 kilograms of marijuana destined for distribution in Denmark. During the same month, another 638 kilograms of marijuana was seized by Spanish authorities at the Spanish/French border based on information provided by Copenhagen police. Suspects in Denmark were arrested in connection with both of these seizures.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Denmark 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. Similarly, no senior government official is alleged to have participated in such activities.

Agreements and Treaties. Denmark is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol. Denmark also is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol against trafficking in women and children, and is a signatory to the UN Convention against Corruption. The USG has a customs mutual assistance agreement, and an extradition treaty with Denmark.

Cultivation/Production. There is no substantial narcotics cultivation or production in Denmark. Only small MDMA (ecstasy) production labs are known to exist in the country and these are vigorously pursued, shut down, and their operators prosecuted.

Drug Flow/Transit. Denmark is a transit country for drugs on their way to neighboring European nations and, in small quantities, to the U.S. The ability of the Danish authorities to interdict this flow is slightly constrained by EU open border policies. The Danish Police report that the continuous smuggling of cannabis to Denmark is typically carried out by car or truck from the Netherlands and Spain. Amphetamines are typically smuggled from the Netherlands via Germany to Denmark and there distributed by members of the Hell’s Angels and Banditos biker gangs.

Domestic Programs. Denmark’s Ministry of Health estimates that in 2003 (most recent data available) there were approximately 25,500 drug addicts in the country, including 900 to 1,200 seriously addicted individuals. Seventy-five percent of heroin addicts at that time were on methadone maintenance. The 2003 governmental action plan against drug abuse, built upon existing programs, offers a multi-faceted approach to combating drug addiction. Its components consist of prevention, medical treatment, social assistance, police and judicial actions (particularly against organized crime), efforts to combat drug abuse in the prison system, and international counternarcotics cooperation.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. goals in Denmark are to cooperate with the Danish authorities on drug-related issues, to assist with joint investigations, and to coordinate USG counternarcotics activities with the eight countries of the Nordic-Baltic region. The USG enjoys excellent cooperation with its Danish counterparts on drug-related issues. In October 2005, the Embassy’s defense attachι and DEA organized a briefing by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and DEA in Washington, D.C. for senior Danish officials. This briefing addressed the Danish government’s interest in using the Danish Navy, which possesses limited police powers, to support counternarcotics missions in Danish waters, as well as the Caribbean basin to combat the increasing quantities of cocaine being shipped from South American to Europe and the United States.

The Road Ahead. Danish enforcement efforts will be strengthened by new legislation that authorizes police to use informants and conduct undercover operations. The 2004 accession of the Baltic States to the EU signals the impending weakening of international barriers to travel and commerce of all sorts. The introduction of visa-free travel from the new EU member states has increased the opportunity for smuggling. The Danes will seek to expand their cooperative efforts to successfully meet the new smuggling threat. At the same time, the USG will continue its cooperation with Danish authorities and work to deepen joint efforts against drug trafficking.
Estonia

I. Summary

Frequent arrests of drug traffickers and seizures of record amounts of drugs on Estonia’s borders indicate that the drug transit through Estonia is increasing; and it also is an indication of the increasing efficiency of the counternarcotics efforts of Estonian law enforcement agencies. Monitoring agencies agree that Estonia has higher-than-average drug-related delinquency and HIV infection rates. Estonia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Estonia has one of the highest HIV infection growth rates in Europe. As of December 1, 2005, 5,028 cases of HIV have been registered, 586 of which were registered in 2005. AIDS has been diagnosed in 89 people, 19 in 2005. Intravenous drug-users (IDUs) and their partners form the largest share of newly registered HIV cases

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Law Enforcement. The closure of three synthetic drug labs within six months in 2005, along with seizures of drug precursors and detentions of drug traffickers in possession of refined drugs, indicates that synthetic drugs are produced in Estonia. In April 2005, police discovered an extensive narcotics trafficking network near Tallinn and seized 0.7 kilograms of precursor chemicals. In the first six months of 2005 police seized nearly three times more drugs than in the same period of the previous year. In October Estonian law enforcement, in cooperation with U.S. law enforcement agents, seized 40 kilograms of high-quality cocaine in Tallinn and detained four Israeli citizens in connection with drug trafficking.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. In 2005, changes were introduced to the state legal framework regulating drug-related issues. On April 13, 2005, the Estonian Parliament adopted the Amendment to the Law on the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (ALNDPSA), which came into force in May 2005. The ALNDPSA harmonizes domestic legislation with EU narcotics regulations and brings Estonian law into compliance with the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The ALNDPSA provides the Estonian Drug Monitoring Center with the authority to collect data on drugs and drug addiction and to establish a national drug treatment registry.

In 2005, the GOE continued implementation of the National Strategy on the Prevention of Drug Dependency 2004-2012. Combating the drug trade and reining in domestic consumption continue to be high priorities for all Estonian law enforcement agencies as well as for several government ministries. Under the current Government Coalition Agreement, which was adopted in April 2005, the GOE has announced it will focus on prevention of drug addiction and HIV/AIDS.

On December 1, 2005, the GOE adopted a national anti-HIV/AIDS strategy for 2006-2015 which aims to bring about a steady downward trend in the spread of HIV as well as to improve the quality of life of people living with the disease. The strategy pays special attention to programs for various at-risk groups, including intravenous drug uses (IDUs).

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Estonia 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.

Agreements and Treaties. Estonia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Estonia is also party to the 1990 Council of Europe (COE) Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime. The U.S. and Estonia share a 1924 extradition treaty, supplemented in 1934 and an MLAT that entered into force in 1998. Estonia is a party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling, trafficking in persons, and illegal manufacturing and trafficking in firearms.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

The Road Ahead. The U.S. and Estonia will continue to work together to suppress narcotics trafficking and reduce the drug dependency of drug abusers.
Finland

I. Summary

Finland is not a significant narcotics-producing or trafficking country. However, drug use and drug-related crime has increased over the past decade. Finland’s constitution places a strong emphasis on the protection of civil liberties, and this sometimes has a negative effect on law enforcement’s ability to investigate and prosecute drug-related crime. Electronic surveillance techniques such as wiretapping are generally prohibited in all but the most serious investigations. Finnish political culture tends to favor demand reduction and rehabilitation efforts over strategies aimed at reducing supply. Police believe increased drug use may be attributable to the wider availability of narcotics in post-cold war Europe, increased experimentation by Finnish youth, cultural de-stigmatization of narcotics use, and insufficient law enforcement resources.

While there is some overland narcotics trafficking across the Russian border, police believe existing border controls are mostly effective in preventing this route from becoming a major trafficking conduit into Finland. Estonian organized crime syndicates are believed responsible for most drug trafficking into Finland. Estonia’s accession to the Schengen Treaty has complicated law enforcement efforts to combat narcotics trafficking. Asian crime syndicates have begun to use new air routes between Helsinki and Asian cities like Bangkok to facilitate trafficking-in-persons, and there is some concern that these routes could be used for narcotics trafficking as well. Finland is a major donor to the UNDCP and is active in counternarcotics efforts within the EU. Finland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Narcotics production, cultivation, and the production of precursor chemicals in Finland is relatively modest in scope. Most drugs that are consumed in Finland are produced elsewhere, and Finland is not a source country for the export of narcotics abroad. Estonia, Russia, and Spain are Finland’s principal sources for illicit drugs. Finnish law criminalizes the distribution, sale, and transport of narcotics; the GoF cooperates with other countries and international law enforcement organizations regarding extradition and precursor chemical control.

The overall incidence of drug use in Finland remains low (relative to many other western countries); however, drug use has increased over the past decade. Cocaine is rare, but amphetamines, methamphetamine, synthetic “club” drugs, and heroin and heroin-substitutes can be found. Finland has historically had one of Europe’s lowest cannabis-use rates, but cannabis seizures have increased since 2004. Police attribute this to new smuggling routes from southern Spain, a popular tourist destination for Finns and home to a Finnish “migr,” a kibbutz-like rural community. Ecstasy, GHB, ketamine (“Vitamin K”) and other MDMA-type drugs are concentrated among young people and associated with the club culture in Helsinki and other large cities. Social Welfare authorities believe the introduction of GHB and other date rape drugs into Finland has led to an increase in sexual assaults. Finnish law enforcement authorities admit that resource constraints and restrictions on electronic surveillance and undercover police work complicate efforts to penetrate the ecstasy trade. Changing social and cultural attitudes toward drug use also contribute to this phenomenon.

Heroin use began to increase in Finland in the late 1990’s, but seizures have declined since 2004. . In August 2005, Finnish Customs at the Vaalimaa Border Station, Finland, which is located at the Russian border seized 55 kilograms of heroin. This is largest reported heroin seizure in Finland’s history. Typically, heroin is smuggled to Scandinavia by vehicle using the Balkan route, through Germany and through Denmark to the rest of Scandinavia. This seizure documents a new route used with Finland being the first point of entry to the EU and Scandinavia.

Abuse of Subutex (buprenorphine) and other heroin-substitutes seems to have replaced heroin abuse to some extent. France remains the major source for Subutex. According to police, French doctors can prescribe up to three weeks supply of Subutex. Finnish couriers travel frequently to France to obtain their supplies which are then resold illegally with a high mark-up. Possession of Subutex is legal in Finland with a doctor’s prescription, but Finnish physicians do not readily write prescriptions for Subutex unless patients are actually in a supervised withdrawal program.

According to Finnish law enforcement, there are approximately two dozen organized crime syndicates operating in Finland; most are based in Estonia or Russia. Since Estonia’s entry into the Schengen Region, Estonian travelers to Finland are no longer subject to routine inspection at ports-of-entry, making it difficult to intercept narcotics. The police report that a drug dealer in Helsinki can phone a supplier in Tallinn, and within three hours a courier will have arrived in Helsinki via ferry with a shipment of drugs. Although Estonian syndicates control the operations, many of the domestic street-level dealers are Finns. In the past, the Estonian rings primarily smuggled Belgian or Dutch-made ecstasy into Finland, but beginning in 2003, larger quantities of Estonian-produced ecstasy began hitting the Finnish market, although the quality (and market value) is lower. Estonian smugglers also organize the shipment of Moroccan cannabis from Southern Spain to Finland. The police report that cooperation with Estonian law enforcement is excellent, and both countries maintain permanent liaison officers in the other.

Russian organized crime syndicates remain active inside Finland. Russian traffickers based out of St. Petersburg are the primary suppliers of heroin, although Estonians are now active in this area as well. The police are increasingly concerned about Asian crime groups using new air routes from Helsinki to major Asian cities like Bangkok as a narcotics smuggling route. Asian syndicates are already using these routes for trafficking-in-persons. Finland’s Frontier Guard will post a permanent liaison officer to Beijing in 2006 to better monitor this phenomenon.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Policy Initiatives. Finland’s comprehensive policy statement on illegal drugs was issued in 1998; the statement articulated a zero-tolerance policy regarding narcotics. However, a 2001 law created a system of fines for simple possession offenses rather than jail time. The fine system enjoys widespread popular support and is chiefly used to punish youth found in possession of small quantities of marijuana, hashish, or ecstasy. Some Finnish authorities have expressed concern that this system sends a mixed message to Finns about drug use and would prefer stiffer penalties. There is limited political and public support for demand reduction through stronger punitive measures, however. In 2005, Parliament passed a law expanding the authority of the Frontier Guard to cover the entire country (not just immediate border areas), thereby enhancing the Guard’s ability to combat narcotics trafficking.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The police report that arrests and seizures in 2005 remained stable (statistics are not yet available). Law enforcement focuses limited police resources on major narcotics cases and significant traffickers. Finland in 2005 continued its impressive record of multilateral cooperation. Finnish police maintain liaison officers in ten European cities (six in Russia).

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Finland 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. Finnish officials do not engage in, facilitate, or encourage the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Official corruption is not a problem in Finland. There have been no arrests or prosecutions of public officials charged with corruption or related offenses linked to narcotics in Finnish history.

Agreements and Treaties. Finland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and its legislation is consistent with all the Convention’s goals. Finnish judicial authorities are empowered to seize the assets, real and financial, of criminals. Finland is also a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Finland is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Crime, and is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Corruption. A 1976 bilateral extradition treaty is in force between the United States and Finland. Finland signed the bilateral instrument of the EU-U.S. Extradition Treaty in 2004; however, the Parliament has not yet ratified the treaty, and some Parliamentarians have linked this nonratification to discomfort with certain U.S. rendition practices, which some believe might violate. Finland has also concluded a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement with the United States. Finland is a member of the major Donor’s Group within the Dublin Group. The vast majority of Finland’s financial and other assistance to drug-producing and transit countries has been via the UNODC.

Cultivation/Production. There were no reported seizures of indigenously cultivated opium, no recorded diversions of precursor chemicals, and no detection of illicit methamphetamine, cocaine, or LSD laboratories in Finland in 2004; reports for 2005 are not yet available. Finland’s climate makes cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy almost impossible. Local cannabis cultivation is believed to be limited to small-scale, indoor hydroponic culture. The distribution of 22 key precursor chemicals listed by international agencies is tightly controlled.

Drug Flow/Transit. Hashish and ecstasy are the drugs most often seized by Finnish police. Finland is not a major transit country for narcotics. Most drugs trafficked into Finland originate in or pass through Estonia. Finnish authorities report that their land border with Russia is well guarded on both sides to ensure that it does not become a major transit route.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). The central government gives substantial autonomy to local governments to address demand reduction using general revenue grants. Finnish schools in 2005 continued to educate students about the dangers of drugs. Finland’s national public health service offered rehabilitation services to users and addicts. Such programs typically use a holistic approach that emphasizes social and economic reintegration into society and is not solely focused on eliminating the subject’s use and abuse of illegal drugs. The government was criticized in 2005 for failure to provide adequate access to rehabilitation programs for prison inmates.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives/Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. has worked with Finland and the other Nordic countries through multilateral organizations in an effort to combat narcotics trafficking in the Nordic-Baltic region. This work has involved U.S. assistance to and cooperation with the Baltic countries and Russia. Finland in 2005 participated in a DEA-sponsored regional drug enforcement seminar.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. anticipates continued close cooperation with Finland in the fight against narcotics. The only limitations to such cooperation will likely be the smaller resource base that Finnish law enforcement authorities have at their disposal.
France

I. Summary

France is a transshipment point for drugs moving into, from and within Europe. Given France’s shared borders with trafficking conduits such as Spain, Italy, and Belgium, France is a natural distribution point for drugs moving toward North America from Europe and the Middle East.

France’s colonial legacy in the Caribbean, its proximity to North Africa, and its participation in the virtually Europe-wide Schengen open border system, contribute to its liability as a transit point for drugs, including drugs originating in South America. France’s own large domestic market of predominantly cannabis users is, of course, attractive to traffickers as well. Specifically, in descending order, cannabis originating in Morocco, cocaine originating in South America, heroin originating in southwest Asia, and ecstasy (MDMA) originating in the Netherlands and Belgium all find their way to France.

Increasingly, traffickers are also using the Channel tunnel linking France to Great Britain as a conduit for drugs from mainland Europe to the UK and Ireland. With numbers of drug arrests and seizures increasing again in 2004 (latest figures), Government of France (GOF) counternarcotics initiatives in 2005 included increased cooperation with neighboring countries and Morocco and facilitating confiscation of traffickers’ assets. France is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Cannabis users are the largest group of drug users in France, according to official French statistics. By contrast, users of the next most popular drugs, heroin and cocaine, account for approximately four percent and two percent of users respectively.

The number of fatal drug overdoses decreased in 2004 compared to 2003, continuing a trend that began in 1995 (with the exception of a small up-tick in 2000). There were only 69 deaths due to drug overdose in 2004, compared to 89 in 2003, indicating a 22 percent decrease.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Policy Initiatives. France’s drug control agency, the Mission Interministerielle de la Lutte Contre la Drogue et la Toxicomanie (MILDT, or the Interministerial Mission for the Fight Against Drugs and Drug Addiction), is the focal point for French national drug control policy. Created in 1982, MILDT coordinates the 19 ministerial departments that have a role in establishing, implementing, and enforcing France’s domestic drug control strategy. The French also participate in regional cooperation programs initiated and sponsored by the European Union.

Late in 2004, France launched a five-year action plan called “Programme drogue et toxicomanie” (Drug and Addiction Program) to reduce significantly the prevalence of drug use among the population and lessen the social and health damage caused by the use and trafficking of narcotics. In 2005, as part of that plan, the French Government launched a 38 million euro national information campaign as well as a program to boost France’s medical treatment for cannabis and heroin users/addicts. The plan also provided funding (up to 1.2 million euros) for France’s contributions to EU and UN counternarcotics programs in four priority areas: Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, Central Asia, and Latin America/Caribbean. While France’s bilateral counternarcotics programs focus on the Caribbean basin, special technical bilateral assistance has also been provided to Afghanistan through France’s Development Agency (AFD). Ten million euros went to training Afghan counternarcotics police and to fund a crop substitution program that will boost cotton cultivation in the provinces of Konduz and Balkh.

Law Enforcement Efforts. French counternarcotics authorities are efficient and effective. In 2005, French authorities made several important seizures of narcotics. In addition, they dismantled fifteen drug rings across France, with a total of 90 arrests. French authorities report that France-based drug rings appear to be less and less tied to one product, and are also increasingly involved in other criminal activity such as money laundering and clandestine gambling. Some of the larger 2005 seizures include: On January 3, French Customs stopped a tractor-trailer arriving in France from Spain. A search revealed over 4.5 tons of hashish within a cargo of sand. On January 11, French authorities at the Belgian border seized 14 kilograms of heroin from a Spanish vehicle. On January 17, French authorities seized 15 kilograms of heroin and 1 kilogram of cocaine from the luggage of two passengers as they arrived at the train station in Lille from Belgium. On November 1, Interior Ministry officials carried out a large raid involving over 160 officials. The raid, in the Drome department of southeastern France, led to the seizure of 17.6 kilograms of heroin and yielded 43 arrests. On December 2, French Customs officials at Lyon airport seized 24 kilograms of cocaine hidden in packets of dog biscuits and Chinese noodles. There were several other important seizures throughout France.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the Government of France 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. Similarly, no senior government official is alleged to have participated in such activities.

Agreements and Treaties. France is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol. The USG and the French government have bilateral narcotics-related agreements in place, including a 1971 agreement on coordinating action against illegal trafficking. France and the U.S. share an extradition treaty and an MLAT. The U.S. also has a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with France. France is a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption, and the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons.

Cultivation/Production. French authorities believe the cultivation and production of illicit drugs is not a problem in France. France cultivates opium poppies under strict legal controls for medical use, and produces amphetamines as pharmaceuticals. It reports its production of both products to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and cooperates with the DEA to monitor and control those products. According to authorities, there are no significant ecstasy laboratories in France, although there may be some small kitchen labs.

Drug Flow/Transit. France is a transshipment point for illicit drugs to other European countries. France is a transit point for Moroccan cannabis (hashish) and South American cocaine destined for European markets. Most of the heroin consumed in or transiting France originates in southwest Asia (Afghanistan) and enters France via the Balkans after passing through Iran and Turkey. New routes for transporting heroin from southwest Asia to Europe are developing through Central Asia and Russia and through Belgium and the Netherlands. West African drug traffickers (mostly Nigerian) are also using France as a transshipment point for heroin and cocaine. These traffickers move heroin from both Southwest Asia and Southeast Asia (primarily Burma) to the United States through West Africa and France, with a back-haul of cocaine from South America to France through the United States and West Africa. Law enforcement officials believe these West African traffickers are stockpiling heroin and cocaine in Africa before shipping it to final destinations. There is no evidence that significant amounts of heroin or cocaine enter the United States from France. Most of the South American cocaine entering France comes through Spain and Portugal. However, officials are seeing an increase in cocaine coming directly to France from the French Caribbean, giving impetus to the creation of the Martinique Task Force-a joint effort with Spain, Colombia, and the UK. Most of the ecstasy in or transiting France is produced in the Netherlands or Belgium.

Domestic Programs. MILDT is responsible for coordinating France’s demand reduction programs. Drug education efforts target government officials, counselors, teachers, and medical personnel, with the objective of giving these opinion leaders the information they need to assist those endangered by drug abuse in the community. The government is continuing its experimental methadone treatment program. Although the public debate concerning decriminalizing cannabis use continues, the French government is opposed to any change in the 1970 drug law, which criminalizes usage of a defined list of illicit substances, including cannabis. There are currently 85,000 persons taking Subutex in France now, and 25,000 on methadone.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives/Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. and GOF counternarcotics law enforcement cooperation remains excellent, with an established practice of information sharing. Since October 2001, the DEA’s Paris Country Office (CO) and OCRTIS (French Central Narcotics Office) have been working together on operations that have resulted in the seizure and/or dismantling of 25 operational, or soon-to-be-operational clandestine MDMA (Ecstasy) laboratories, the arrests of more than 44 individuals worldwide, and 16 lab seizures in the United States, two in France, three in Germany, two in Australia, and one each in Ireland, New Zealand and Spain.

French Naval vessels operating in the eastern Caribbean Sea cooperate with Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) by conducting counternarcotics patrols. They have seized several drug-laden vessels. During the spring, French Naval Forces conducted a large counternarcotics operation concurrent with JIATF-S involving several warships northeast of the Leeward Islands in the southern North Atlantic Ocean.

The Road Ahead. The United States will continue its cooperation with France on all counternarcotics fronts, including through multilateral efforts such as the Dublin Group of Countries Coordinating Narcotics Assistance and UNODC, and look forward to their signing the Caribbean Regional Maritime Counterdrug Agreement.
Georgia

I. Summary

Georgia has the potential to be a transit country for narcotics flowing from Afghanistan to western Europe. In 2004 and 2005, however, there were no transit-size seizures of narcotics. Subutex, a licit pharmaceutical produced in France, is moving from Europe to Georgia and has quickly become the drug of choice for intravenous drug users. Breakaway territories not controlled by Government of Georgia (GOG) South Ossetia and Abkhazia also provide additional routes for drugs flow and other contraband. The GOG has taken steps to make their borders less permeable with USG support. There have been notable improvements in border control on the Black Sea coast with Turkey and along the Russian border. These border control improvements have resulted in an increase in the seizure of contraband goods, and, to a lesser extent, of narcotics. Statistics on seizures, arrests, and prosecutions for narcotics-related crime in the country are poorly kept. Georgia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and receives assistance from the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODC).

II. Status of Country

Georgia’s geography and transit status between Europe and Asia make it a potential narcotics trafficking route. Asian-cultivated narcotics destined for Europe probably enter Georgia from Azerbaijan via the Caspian sea and exit through the northern Abkhaz or Southern Ajaran land and water borders. Thinly staffed ports of entry and confusing and restrictive search regulations encourage traffickers to use Trans-International Route trucks as their main means for westward-bound narcotics trafficking in the region. Judging from Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) statistics, there does not appear to have been transit-sized seizure of drugs moving west in 2004 or 2005. There were, however, two smaller seizures of heroin at the Red Bridge crossing point with Azerbaijan in December 2005. Conversely, licit drugs, namely Subutex, are trafficked from Europe in small quantities via used-car trade routes, where vehicles acquired in Western Europe are driven through Greece and Turkey destined for Georgia. There have been public reports of major seizures of Subutex, a synthetic opiate analog used in drug treatment in France, entering the country for domestic consumption. Anecdotal evidence indicates a growing problem. The GOG is working with France to limit the diversion of Subutex to Georgia for abuse.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Law Enforcement Efforts. Arrests for narcotics offenses decreased slightly from 2004 to 2005, though seizures increased. According to the MOIA, its counternarcotics unit uncovered 1,702 drug-related cases, compared to 1,763 in the previous year. According to GOG statistics, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and raw opium seizures all rose in 2005, but quantities seized were small (raw opium 38 kilograms). Since 2001, the Southern Caucasus Anti-Drug Program has been implementing projects that address the strengthening of interdiction capacities at sea ports and land borders, and the development of compatible systems of intelligence gathering and analysis.

Corruption. After the 2003 Rose revolution, the GOG declared war against corruption and still remains committed to this effort. A considerable number of corrupt former government and law enforcement officials were arrested, their property was confiscated, and large fines were levied. The government is working on civil service, tax and law enforcement reforms aimed at deterring and prosecuting corruption. It is also building a professional police force and streamlining the bureaucracy. As a result of the counter corruption campaign, the head of a police sub-station, and some customs employees were arrested and charged for bribery. A number of policemen and high-ranking officials, including the Georgian Consul to Ivory Coast and an employee of Chamber of Control were also recently arrested for drug trade in Georgia. Georgia is not a party to the UN Convention against Corruption.

Agreements and Treaties. Georgia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substance and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Georgia has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Cultivation and Production. Given the small amount of low-grade cannabis grown for domestic use, Georgia does not appear to be a significant producer of narcotics. There is no other known narcotics crop or synthetic drug production in Georgia. Although Georgia has the technical potential to produce precursor chemicals, it has no known capacity for presently producing in significant quantities.

Drug Flow/Transit. The GOG has no reliable statistics on the volume of drugs transiting through Georgia. MOIA figures appear to indicate the absence of transit size seizures in 2004 and 2005. Prices for drugs in Georgia are currently estimated at the wholesale price of $100-$120 for one gram of heroin. The decrease in price for heroin was (in 2004 it was $150-$200) mainly caused by emergence of a new synthetic drug on Georgian Market—Subutex. According to law enforcement officials, Subutex appears to have replaced heroin as the main intravenous drug of choice: 65 percent of drug addicts have switched to Subutex in the last 3 years. One tablet of Subutex can be dissolved into an injectable solution for seven to eight people. One “hit” costs approximately $12-$15.

Demand Reduction. There are no widely accepted figures for drug dependency in Georgia. Press reports indicate at least 350,000 drug users in Georgia during 2005; the government puts the number at 240,000. Any increase in drug consumption is probably due to the growing popularity of Subutex.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. In 2005, the USG continued assistance on procuracy reform, anticorruption efforts, money laundering, writing a new criminal procedure code, upgrading the forensics lab, remodeling the police academy and introducing a new curriculum, fighting human trafficking, and equipping the patrol police with modern communication equipment.

The Road Ahead. The GOG is capable of fighting the transit of narcotics through its territory. Ongoing efforts by the USG to help the GOG to strengthen its borders have already resulted in some narcotics seizures and indicate a greater willingness by the GOG to address drug trafficking at entry points.
Germany

I. Summary

Although not a major drug producing country, Germany continues to be a consumer and transit country for narcotics. The government actively combats drug-related crimes and focuses on prevention programs and assistance to drug addicts. In 2005, Germany continued to implement its Action Plan on Drugs and Addiction launched in 2003, with a specific focus on prevention. Cannabis is the most commonly consumed illicit drug in Germany. Continuing a trend from recent years, the consumption of amphetamines and cannabis increased in 2004. The use of cocaine and ecstasy also rose in 2004, whereas the use of heroin decreased slightly. In the first half of 2005, the numbers of drug-related deaths were up only 1.3 percent over the figures for the first half of 2004. The number of first-time users of illicit drugs dropped 6 percent in the first half of 2005 compared to the first half of 2004. Organized crime continued to be heavily engaged in narcotics trafficking. The number of drug-related crimes has increased continuously in the last ten years, with a rise of 11 percent in 2004, compared to 2 percent in 2003. Germany is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The Federal Criminal Investigative Service (BKA) publishes an annual narcotics report on illicit drug related crimes, including data on seizures, drug flows, and consumption. Their report was a key source document for this report. The most recent complete German drug statistics available cover the year 2004, although a few series are available covering the first half of 2005.

II. Status of Country

Germany is not a significant drug cultivation or production country. However, Germany’s location at the center of Europe and its well-developed infrastructure make it a major transit hub. Ecstasy transits from the Netherlands through Germany to Eastern and Southern Europe. Heroin transits Germany from Eastern Europe via the Balkan route to Western Europe, especially the Netherlands. Cocaine transits through Germany from South America, the Netherlands, and for the first time in 2004 to a more than marginal degree from African states, such as Ghana and Nigeria. Germany is a major manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, making it a potential source for precursor chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Policy Initiatives. Germany continues to implement the Health Ministry’s “Action Plan on Drugs and Addiction” adopted by the cabinet in 2003. The action plan establishes a comprehensive multi-year strategy to combat narcotics. The key pillars are (1) prevention, (2) therapy and counseling, (3) survival aid as immediate remedy for drug-addicts, and (4) interdiction and supply reduction. The National Drug Commissioner at the Federal Health Ministry continues to coordinate Germany’s national drug policy. A new Drug Commissioner was nominated in November 2005 after the parliamentary elections September 18. The agreement of the new CDU/CSU—SPD coalition that took power in November 2005 lists key policy issues of the new German government and confirms the action plan as the new Coalition’s counternarcotics strategy.

Law Enforcement Efforts. German law enforcement agencies scored numerous successes in seizing illicit narcotics and arresting suspected drug dealers. The number of cases of cocaine, opium, heroin, amphetamine, and ecstasy seizures increased in the first half of 2005 compared to the first half of 2004, while the numbers of crack (Crystal Form of Cocaine) seizures dropped; the amounts of cocaine and crack seized rose, while the amounts of heroin, opium, amphetamine, and ecstasy seized went down. German law enforcement agencies scored numerous successes in seizing illicit narcotics and arresting suspected drug dealers. The Customs Criminal Police established a telephone hotline in March 2005 for anonymous tips regarding illegal smuggling of goods, including narcotics. According to the Customs Criminal Police, since establishment of the hotline callers have provided useful tips for a number of investigations. In one of the largest German narcotics trafficking investigations of the last 50 years, the State Criminal Investigative Service of North Rhine-Westphalia disrupted a ring of Lebanese cocaine traffickers with world-wide operations after a four year investigation. Brazilian officials arrested twenty ringleaders in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in July 2005. Since the beginning of the investigation in 2001, law enforcement agencies in several EU countries have arrested over 200 members of this ring, and seized 1100 kilograms of cocaine, worth over 110 million Euros.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Germany does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

Agreements and Treaties. A 1978 extradition treaty and a 1986 supplement treaty are in force between the U.S. and Germany. The U.S. and Germany signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters (MLAT) on October 14, 2003, which the Bundestag is expected to ratify in 2006. The MLAT has also been sent to the U.S. Senate for ratification. In addition, the U.S.-EU Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition is expected to improve further the U.S.-German legal cooperation. Negotiations on the U.S.-German implementing instrument to the U.S.-EU MLAT were concluded in January 2006 and the instrument is expected to be signed later in 2006. The U.S.-German MLAT and the U.S.-EU Agreements on Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition, once they are ratified and implemented, will simplify and expedite law enforcement cooperation. There is a Customs Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (CMAA) between the U.S. and Germany. In addition, Germany is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Germany signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the UN Convention against Corruption. Ratification of both conventions is pending.

Cultivation and Production. Germany is not a significant producer of hashish or marijuana. The BKA statistics reported that all ten synthetic drug labs seized in Germany in 2004 were small and not equipped for large production.

Drug Flow/Transit. Germany’s central location in Europe and its well-developed infrastructure make it a major transit hub. Traffickers smuggle cocaine from South America and from Africa to and through Germany to other European countries. Heroin from Afghanistan transits from Eastern Europe to Western Europe, especially to the Netherlands. Cannabis is trafficked to Germany mainly from the Netherlands. Frankfurt Airport is still a major trans-shipment point for ecstasy destined to the U.S. and other drugs coming into Europe.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Federal Ministry of Health continues to be the lead agency in developing, coordinating, and implementing Germany’s drug policies and programs. Drug consumption is treated as a health and social issue. Policies stress prevention through education. The ministry is expanding Internet-based information and other prevention programs. Addiction therapy programs focus on drug-free treatment, psychological counseling, and substitution therapy. Results of a heroin-based treatment pilot project to treat seriously ill, long-term opiate addicts are expected in 2006.

In 2005, there were 25 “drug consumption rooms” in Germany supplementing therapy programs to offer so called “survival aid.” German Federal law requires personnel at these sites to provide medical counseling and other professional help, and to supervise the addicts to assure an orderly process, while they take a medically approved dosage of their drug of abuse. The 2004 International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Annual Report noted that the establishment of “drug injection rooms” raises “legal and ethical” issues as they are “legal facilities for the purpose of facilitating behavior that is both illegal and damaging.” In July 2005, the second German-French working conference hosted by the French and German Drug Commissioners was held in France to discuss cross-border cooperation to prevent the consumption of cannabis and to treat cannabis addicts. Germany and Switzerland are conducting a bilateral assistance project called “Realize it” to help juvenile cannabis consumers to stop using the drug. Germany, together with four other European countries, also participates in a research project on the treatment of young cannabis addicts.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. German agencies routinely work very closely with their U.S. counterparts in joint investigations, using the full range of investigative measures, such as undercover operations. German-U.S. cooperation to stop diversion of chemical precursors for cocaine production continues to be close (e.g., Operations “Purple” and “Topaz”). A DEA liaison officer is generally assigned to the BKA headquarters in Wiesbaden to facilitate cooperation and joint investigations. Two DEA offices, the Berlin Country Office and the Frankfurt Resident Office, facilitate information exchanges and operational support between German and U.S. drug enforcement agencies. BKA and DEA also participate in a tablet exchange program to compare samples of ecstasy pills.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue its cooperation with Germany on all bilateral and international counternarcotics fronts, including the Dublin Group of Countries Coordinating Narcotics Assistance and the UNODC.
Source: USA Department of State

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