The Bahamas is a major transit country for cocaine and marijuana bound for the U.S. from South America and the Caribbean. The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas (GCOB) cooperates closely with the USG to stop the flow of illegal drugs through its territory, to target Bahamian drug trafficking organizations, and to reduce the domestic demand for drugs within the Bahamian population. In 2006, the GCOB extradited drug trafficker, Samuel "Ninety" Knowles, who had been fighting his extradition to the U.S in the courts since 2001. The GCOB also seized or froze nearly $2 million in assets derived from drug trafficking and money laundering. A joint GCOB/USG investigation into narcotics smuggling at the airport resulted in the arrest of nine baggage handlers in the U.S. and The Bahamas. The Bahamas is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
The Bahamas, a country of 700 islands and cays distributed over an area the size of California astride maritime and aerial routes between South American drug producing countries and the U.S., is an attractive location for drug transshipments of cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs. Based upon seizures, cultivation of marijuana on remote islands and cays appears to have increased in 2006. The Bahamas is not a producer or transit point for drug precursor chemicals. In 2006, The Bahamas continued to participate as an active partner in "Operation Bahamas and Turks and Caicos" (OPBAT)--a multi-agency international drug interdiction effort established in 1982.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2006
Policy Initiatives. In furtherance of its efforts to implement the 2004 National Anti-Drug Plan, in June 2006 the GCOB dedicated office space for the National Drug Secretariat but has yet to name someone to head it. The Cabinet approved draft precursor chemical control legislation and sent it to the Law Commission for reconciliation with existing laws. The measure should be introduced into Parliament in early 2007. The GCOB and the Government of Haiti began negotiations concerning the placement of Haitian National Police officers on Great Inagua Island to improve the collection of intelligence from Haitian trawlers passing through Bahamian waters.
Accomplishments. In 2006, the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) cooperated closely with the U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies on drug investigations. In August 2006, the GCOB extradited accused drug trafficker, Samuel, "Ninety" Knowles to the U.S. Knowles was designated as a drug Kingpin by President Bush in 2001, and his extradition was a top USG priority. During 2006, including OPBAT seizures, Bahamian authorities seized 1.6 metric tons of cocaine (double that seized in 2005) and over 140 metric tons of marijuana (a ten-fold increase over 2005). The DEU arrested 1,399 persons on drug-related offenses and seized drug-related assets valued at nearly $2.5 million.
Law Enforcement Efforts. During the year, the RBPF participated actively in OPBAT whose mission is to stop the flow of cocaine and marijuana through The Bahamas to the U.S. U.S. Army and Coast Guard helicopters intercepted maritime drug smugglers detected by Department of Homeland Security surveillance aircraft and on occasion, the Cuban Border Guard. Officers of DEU and the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police also flew on OPBAT missions and made arrests and seizures. Aerial reconnaissance identified marijuana fields under cultivation on remote islands and cays leading to record seizures of marijuana by the GCOB in 2006. GCOB law enforcement officers have noted that Haitian traffickers are concealing their drugs in hidden compartments in sailing vessels, commingling of drug trafficking networks with illegal migrant smuggling organizations. Following an eight-month long RBPF/DEA investigation into narcotics smuggling at the airport, five baggage handlers were arrested in the U.S. and four others were arrested in The Bahamas.
To enhance the results of drug interdiction missions, The Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) provided vetted officers to the DEU in 2006. The RBDF also agreed to position a DOD funded fast-boat in Great Inagua to provide OPBAT endgame capabilities. The DEA in conjunction with the DEU and Bahamian Customs initiated a program in Great Inagua to enforce GCOB requirements that vessels entering Bahamian waters check-in with Bahamian Customs. In September, the GCOB and the Government of Haiti reached an agreement in principle to provide Haitian National Police officers to work with Bahamian counterparts to interview Creole-speaking crewmembers of trawlers that are interdicted or that register with Bahamian Customs in Great Inagua. During 2006, the RBDF assigned three ship-riders each month to Coast Guard Cutters. The ship-riders extend the capability of the U.S. Coast Guard into the territorial seas of The Bahamas.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, The Bahamas does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, nor the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior official in the GCOB was convicted of drugrelated offenses in 2006. The RBPF anticorruption unit reported that during 2006 there were eight allegations of corruption brought against officers, three pending prosecutions and five ongoing investigations. The RBPF uses an internal committee to investigate allegations of corruption involving police officers instead of an independent entity.
Agreements and Treaties. The Bahamas is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and is party to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1988 UN Drug Convention, and the 1990 U.S.-Bahamas-Turks and Caicos Island Memorandum of Understanding concerning Cooperation in the Fight Against Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs. The GCOB is also a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.
The U.S. and the Bahamas cooperate in law enforcement matters under an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT). The MLAT facilitates the bilateral exchange of information and evidence for use in criminal proceedings. There are currently 30 U.S. extraditions pending in the Bahamas. GCOB prosecutors pursue USG extradition requests vigorously and, at times, at considerable expense. However, in the Bahamian justice system, defendants can appeal a magistrate's decision, first domestically, and ultimately, to the Privy Council in London. This process often adds years to an extradition procedure. In the case of Samuel Knowles the process took five years. The USG also has a Comprehensive Maritime Agreement (CMA) with The Bahamas, which entered into force in 2004 replacing a patchwork of disparate safety, security and law enforcement agreements. Among its provisions, the CMA permits seamless cooperation in Counterdrug and migrant interdiction operations in and around Bahamian territorial seas, including the use of ship riders and expedited boarding approval and procedures.
Cultivation and Production. The majority of marijuana seized in 2006 was in plant form grown by Jamaican nationals on remote islands and cays of the Bahamas. OPBAT and the RBPF cooperated in identifying, seizing and destroying the marijuana. Although there are no official estimates of marijuana hectarage in the islands, cultivation of marijuana by Jamaicans is a new trend.
Drug Flow/Transit. The cocaine flow originates in South America and arrives in The Bahamas via go-fast boats, small commercial freighters, or small aircraft from Jamaica, Hispaniola and Venezuela. According to USG law enforcement, sport fishing vessels and pleasure crafts then transport cocaine from The Bahamas to Florida, blending into the legitimate vessel traffic that moves daily between these locations. Larger go-fast and sport fishing vessels regularly transport between 1,000 to 3,000 pounds of marijuana shipments from Jamaica to The Bahamas. These shipments are moved to Florida in the same manner as cocaine. During 2006, law enforcement officials identified 35 suspicious go-fast type boats on Bahamian waters. In addition, there were 11 drug smuggling aircraft detected over Bahamian territory. Small amounts of drugs were found on individuals transiting through the international airports in Nassau and Grand Bahamas Island and the cruise ship ports.
In 2006 Bahamian law enforcement officials also identified shipments of drugs in Haitian sloops and coastal freighters. According to the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force--South, multi-ton cocaine shipments to the Turks and Caicos Islands and The Bahamas from Venezuela and Colombia took place during the year. However, none of these shipments were successfully interdicted. Illegal drugs have also been found in transiting cargo containers stationed at the Port Container facility in Freeport. DEA/OPBAT estimates that there are a twelve to fifteen major Bahamian drug trafficking organizations.
Domestic Programs. In 2006, the quasi-governmental National Drug Council coordinated the demand reduction programs of the various governmental entities such as Sandilands Rehabilitation Center, and of NGO's such as the Drug Action Service and The Bahamas Association for Social Health. The focus of the prevention/education program in 2006 was schools and youth organizations.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The goals of USG assistance to The Bahamas are to dismantle drug trafficking organizations, stem the flow of illegal drugs through The Bahamas to the United States, and strengthen Bahamian law enforcement and judicial institutions to make them more effective and self-sufficient in combating drug trafficking and money laundering.
Bilateral Cooperation. During 2006, INL in coordination with the U.S. Embassy's Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS), funded training, equipment, travel and technical assistance for a number of law enforcement and drug demand reduction officials. In 2006, the U.S. and the CGOB concluded negotiations to include the Freeport Container Port as part of the Department of Homeland Security's Container Security Initiative (CSI). NAS procured computer and other equipment to improve Bahamian law enforcement capacity to target trafficking organizations through better intelligence collection and more efficient interdiction operations. NAS also provided funding to the National Drug Council and the Drug Action Service to extend their demand reduction education campaign throughout Bahamian public schools and to the Family Islands.
Road Ahead. The Bahamas will likely continue to be a preferred route for drug transshipment and other criminal activity because if its location and the expanse of its territorial area. We encourage the Bahamian Government to continue its strong commitment to joint counternarcotics efforts and its cooperative efforts to extradite drug traffickers to the U.S. The GCOB can further enhance its drug control efforts by integrating Creole speakers into the DEU and work with HNP officers stationed in Great Inagua to develop information on Haitian drug traffickers transiting the Bahamas, as well as introducing precursor chemical control legislation to the Parliament. The USG will continue to support RBPF efforts to convert seized boats for use in interdiction operations, and plans to assist the Bahamians in identifying innovative technologies to obtain important intelligence to thwart the flow of drugs.
Cuban territorial waters and airspace are within the transshipment corridor for narcotics trafficking in the Caribbean. A key factor exposing Cuba to the dangers of narcotics trafficking is residual shipments of drugs that sometimes wash ashore. Over 600 kg (kg) of marijuana and cocaine was recovered by Cuban Border Guard troops along the Cuban shores in 2006 and another 943 kg of marijuana was seized from a go-fast boat in Cuban waters. Cuba is also exposed to drug trafficking by foreign tourism, trade, and economic relations with other source and transit countries.
This drug problem has been fought as part of the "Battle of Ideas", a national propaganda campaign launched by the Cuban government in 2000.Enforcement activities during 2006 were limited. The GOC national strategy for maritime and aerial interdiction stems from its continued execution of Operation Hatchet III, a multi-force initiative. Although there was a slight increase in aerial and maritime sightings in Cuban territory in 2006 compared to 2005, drug seizures declined to the lowest level in 10 years.
The GOC pursues an aggressive internal enforcement and investigation program against its incipient drug market. It has increased the range and effectiveness of its drug law enforcement authorities. Cuba has maintained Operation Popular Shield, its effective nationwide drug prevention and awareness campaign. This social-order approach to combating illicit drug trafficking is established through a national crime watch-training program for neighborhood organizations to reinforce control of drug trafficking and other crimes in the community. The training, organized by the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), is within the scope of the control and surveillance activities performed by the CDR.
II. Status of Country
Although Cuba is not a major drug-producing country and its level of internal consumption is small compared to other countries in the region, Cuban officials acknowledge an incipient market does exist. There are Cubans willing to cultivate low quality marijuana or tempted to try to sell contraband that may have been found washed ashore. According to the Cuban Government, the Border Guard interdicts ninety percent of the drugs that Cuban law enforcement authorities seize. The lead investigative law enforcement agency on drugs in Cuba is the Ministry of Interior's National Anti-Drug Directorate (DNA).
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2006
Policy Initiatives. The Government of Cuba enforced its Decree 232 "On the Confiscation for Deeds Related with Drugs, Acts of Corruption and Other Illicit Behavior" which entered into effect in 2003 and is in agreement with Article 60 of the Cuban Constitution. This became the GOC's "legal framework" for a nation-wide security crack down, cast as a "battle against international drug trafficking and the incipient internal market." The decree authorizes arrests and confiscation of property of drug producers, traffickers or users, and those guilty of "corruption, pimping, pornography, corruption of minors, human trafficking and other similar crimes." The Ministry of Interior investigates suspected narcotics traffickers, and works with the drug commission to carry out a nation-wide public awareness campaign.
In December of 2006, the GOC hosted the eighth bi-annual International Penal Science Congress in Havana to modernize legal frameworks and criminal justice systems. The congress brings together lawyers, judges, prosecutors and criminologists and provides a forum to discuss more effective prosecution of major criminals.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Cuba's Operation Hatchet, in its sixth year, disrupts maritime and air trafficking routes, recovers washed-up narcotics, and denies drug smugglers shelter within the territory and waters of Cuba. In addition to using Cuba's fleet of Cuban Border Guard regular patrols, Operation Hatchet relies on shore-based patrols, visual and radar observation posts, and the civilian fishing auxiliary force and civilians ashore to report suspected contacts and contraband. Operation Hatchet includes vessel, aircraft and radar surveillance from the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (Navy and Air Force), coastal patrol vessel and radar surveillance from the Ministry of Interior Border Guard, and participants from the DNA, National Police, and the National Park Rangers.
Cuba maintains a self-defense use-of-force policy when dealing with suspected narcotics trafficking vessels transiting its territorial seas and low flying planes violating its air space. Cuban law enforcement reported to U.S. Coast Guard authorities sightings of 33 suspect targets (9 aircraft and 24 go-fasts) in 2006 transiting their airspace or territorial waters, a slight increase over the 31 sightings (7 aircraft and 24 go-fast) in 2005. They have also provided, albeit with occasional impediments, investigative criminal information on drug trafficking cases.
The lead investigative law enforcement agency on drugs is the Ministry of Interior's National Anti-Drug Directorate (DNA). The DNA is comprised of criminal law enforcement, intelligence and justice officials. Cuban Customs maintains an active counternarcotics inspection program at maritime ports and airports. In 2004, Cuba re-established its International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) office in Havana. The GOC works with the World Customs Organization and in 2005 established an integrated container examining facility at the port of Havana to house a large custom's x-ray system.
Cuba has received counternarcotics training from Canada, France and the United Kingdom. The GOC has set up an internal program to pass this knowledge on to over 300 of their customs officers. The training extends from narcotic dog handling to x-ray techniques for the detection of suspected "mules" and "swallowers".
Drug Seizures/Arrests. Drug seizures declined during 2006 to their lowest level in ten years. The GOC reported the seizure of 1.5 metric tons of illicit narcotics. In October, Cuban Border Guard disrupted, chased and recovered seventy-three bales of marijuana from a drug laden go-fast boat. The marijuana, weighing 943 kg, marked Cuba's largest seizure of drugs for 2006. An additional 600 kg. (525 kg. of marijuana and 75 kg. of cocaine) were confiscated from the recovery of washed-up contraband picked up by Cuban Border Guard troops and coastal watch stations. Eleven cases of airport seizures netted 14 kg. of narcotics. All eleven cases took place at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. In almost all cases involving foreign tourists detected with narcotics for personal consumption, after being fined, they are allowed to continue their visit. Operation Popular Shield resulted in the final 22kg of narcotics (20kg of marijuana and 2kg of cocaine) seized from Cuba's domestic market. Since Operation Popular Shield began in 2003, the GOC has reported the detention of over 3,000 people, of whom 65 percent were sentenced to six or more years of imprisonment for trafficking drugs in the internal market.
Corruption. The U.S. government does not have direct evidence of current narcotics-related corruption among senior GOC officials, although regular anecdotal reports of corruption throughout all levels of Cuban society and government continue to circulate. No mention of GOC complicity in narcotics trafficking or narcotics-related corruption was made in the media in 2006; however, the media in Cuba is completely controlled by the state, which permits only laudatory press coverage on itself. Crime is almost never reported. Cuba has not signed the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.
Agreements and Treaties. Cuba is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1961 UN Single Convention.
The GOC cooperates with the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention and maintains bilateral narcotics agreements with 33 countries and less formal agreements with 16 others. Counternarcotics coordination between the U.S. and Cuba occurs only on a case-by-case basis. In an effort to demonstrate international collaboration, Cuba is an active participant in the annual Latin America and the Caribbean meeting for Heads of National Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA).
Cultivation/Production. Cuba's National Revolutionary Police and National Association of Small Farmers acknowledge the smuggling of marijuana seeds into the country. In 2006, GOC seized 2,115 plants of marijuana and 16,839 marijuana seeds. Cuba is not a source of precursor chemicals, nor have there been any incidents involving precursor chemicals reported in 2006.
Drug Flow/Transit. According to JIATF-S, narcotics smuggling through Cuban territory decreased in 2006. Traffickers take advantage of Cuba's 4,000 small keys and the 3,500 nautical miles of shoreline, which create ample opportunities for clandestine smuggling operations. Traffickers use high-speed boats to bring drugs northward from Jamaica to the Bahamas, Haiti and to the U.S. around the Windward Passage or small aircraft from clandestine airfields in Jamaica. Small quantities of narcotics are trafficked via Cuba's international airports, in which drug couriers or "mules" carried narcotics to and from Europe.
Domestic Programs. The governing body for prevention, rehabilitation, and policy issues is the National Drug Commission (CND), formed in 1989 after the GOC contrived a scandal involving the conviction and execution of an Army major general, a Ministry of Interior colonel, and several other officials for purported involvement in narcotics trafficking. This interagency coordinating body is headed by the Minister of Justice, and includes the Ministries of Interior, Foreign Relations, Public Health and Public Education. Also represented on the commission are the Attorney General's Office and the National Sports Institute. There is a counternarcotics action plan that encompasses the Ministries of Health, Justice, Education and Interior, among others. In coordination with the United Nations, the CND aims to implement a long-term domestic prevention strategy that is included as part of the educational curriculum at all grade levels.
The majority of municipalities on the island have counternarcotics organizations. Prevention programs focus on education and outreach to groups most at risk of being introduced to illegal drug use. The GOC reports that there are 195 mental health community centers in Cuba consisting of family doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, and 150 social, educational and cultural programs dedicated to teaching drug prevention and offering rehabilitation programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Narcotics cooperation occurs only on a case-by-case basis, primarily through the U.S. Coast Guard Drug Interdiction Specialist (DIS) assigned to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. In January 2006, the GOC invited the DIS to provide technical assistance and observe Cuban officials conduct an inspection of the M/V "Megan". A specialized Cuban team conducted a three-day search, complete dockside boarding and sounding of the vessel, which yielded negative results for drugs. At the GOC request, DIS has provided briefings on compartmentalized search techniques. These professional exchanges cover specific U.S. Coast Guard boarding methods. DIS was also taken for a site visit in November and given an operational synopsis of Cuba's only maritime drug disruption of the year, a go-fast vessel that eluded capture and discarded 943kg of marijuana.
Cuban authorities, on occasion, have arrested individual drug traffickers and provided investigative information on narcotics trafficking cases. The sharing of this information, however, is never systematic. In May 2006, the GOC denied permission for a DEA delegation to meet and debrief incarcerated drug trafficker Luis Hernando Gomez-Bustamante, of Colombia's Norte del Valle cartel, who was detained on immigration charges.
The Road Ahead. Cuban officials profess interest in developing with the U.S. government bilateral agreements to combat drug trafficking. Such agreements are not possible until the Cuban regime grants access to international narcotics traffickers seeking refuge and protection under the GOC and the regime stops using alleged counternarcotics efforts as a pretense to also repress economic and political activities. When Cuba transitions to the post-Fidel-Castro era, cooperation on law enforcement could become more significant. Additionally, both the USG and Cuba could be more successful if cooperation were more systematic. Cuba's geographic position alone makes it a key to halting the flow of drugs through the Caribbean to the United States. A post-Castro, democratic Cuba could be a valuable ally in the war against drugs.
The Dominican Republic (DR) is a major transit country for illicit drugs from South America, with cocaine transiting to Europe, and both cocaine and heroin to the United States and Europe. In 2006, the DR saw a surge in air smuggling of cocaine out of Venezuela. The DR continued cooperation in extraditing fugitives to the U.S. and increased deportations of criminals. Seizures of heroin, cocaine and MDMA increased. The DR made advances in its domestic law enforcement capacity, institution building and interagency networking; and made progress in prosecuting major bank fraud and government corruption cases. In spite of these positive signs, corruption and weak governmental institutions remained an impediment to controlling the flow of illegal narcotics. The DR is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
There is no significant cultivation, refining, or manufacturing of illicit drugs in the Dominican Republic. Dominican criminal organizations are involved in international drug trafficking operations and use the DR as a trans-shipment hub. According to the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force -South (JIATF-S) the number of drug smuggling flights from Venezuela to Hispaniola increased by 167 percent from 2005 to 2006. Approximately two thirds of the flights went to the DR. Fishing and "go-fast" boat crews involved in drug trafficking in the Caribbean include Dominican nationals. Interdicted MDMA (Ecstasy) was most often transported from Europe to the United States. The DR does not import or export a significant amount of ephedrine or any other precursor chemicals utilized in the manufacture of amphetamines or methamphetamines.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2006
Policy Initiatives. In 2006 the DR continued to struggle to implement anti-money laundering legislation passed in 2002; and its Financial Analysis Unit, which became operational in 2005, still lacks the resources and institutional support to perform effectively. The U.S. is working with DR prosecutors and law enforcement agencies on joint money-laundering investigations. In 2006, the DR signed the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange System agreement allowing the installation of equipment to track and respond to suspected drug smuggling aircraft headed for the DR.
Accomplishments In 2006 Dominican authorities seized 5 metric tons of cocaine, 236.8 kg. of heroin, 363,433.6 units of MDMA, and 362.4 kg. of marijuana. One single seizure in September netted a record 2.5 metric tons of cocaine. The DNCD made 8,809 drug-related arrests in 2006. Of these, 8,563 were Dominican nationals and 246 were foreigners.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The DEA Center for Drug Information (CDI), housed in the DR National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD), serves as a clearinghouse for intelligence within the Caribbean, and this intelligence sharing plays an important part in interdiction efforts. Maritime seizures remain a challenge for the DR, especially drugs hidden in commercial vessels for shipment to the U.S. and/or Europe and drugs arriving by "go-fast" boats from South America. The DNCD and DEA counterparts concentrated on investigations leading to the takedown of large criminal organizations.
In 2006, the DR supported its counternarcotics and explosive detection canine units at its international airports and major seaports. Canine units at the five major airports in the country also received updated explosives training and certification in 2006. Plans are underway to establish a canine training facility at an active Army base, and the DNCD is purchasing additional canines for training in drug detection. The DNCD continued to upgrade its equipment, train technicians, and develop new software in furtherance of a multi-year, USG-supported effort to share data among Dominican law enforcement agencies and to make information available on demand to field officers. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) executed two joint maritime operations with the Dominican Navy that focused on the human smuggling and illicit drug threats from DR to Puerto Rico via maritime routes in the Mona Passage.
Cultivation/Production. There is no known cultivation of coca or opium poppy in the DR. Cannabis is grown on a small scale for local consumption.
Drug Flow/Transit. In 2006, the DNCD focused interdiction operations on the drug-transit routes in Dominican territorial waters along the northern border and on its land border crossings with Haiti, while attempting to prevent air drops and maritime delivery of illicit narcotics to remote areas. According to JIATF-S, there were 75 suspect drug flights from Venezuela where a permissive environment is allowing smuggling aircraft to operate with impunity. During the year, drugs were easily accessible for local consumption in most metropolitan areas. In 2006, the Dominican Navy focused efforts on shore patrol operations. Examination of captured smuggling vessels indicated a strong link between illegal migration and drug smuggling. On a typical voyage, several passengers carry backpacks containing one or two kg of cocaine.
Extradition. The U.S.-Dominican Extradition Treaty dates from 1909. Extradition of nationals is not mandated under the treaty, but, in 1998, President Fernandez signed legislation permitting such extraditions. During 2005, judicial review was added to the procedure for extradition, making extraditions more transparent. In 2006, the U.S. Marshals Service continued to receive excellent cooperation from the DNCD Fugitive Surveillance/Apprehension Unit and other relevant Dominican authorities in arresting fugitives and returning them to the United States to face justice. The DR extradited 26 Dominicans, notable among them Luis de la Rosa Montero, the head of a well-organized international drug trafficking organization responsible for transporting thousands of kg. of cocaine and heroin into Puerto Rico from the DR and neighboring islands using go-fast boats. The DR also arrested and deported 21 U.S. and third-country national fugitives back to the U.S. for prosecution purposes. Of these 47 cases, 38 were narcotics-related.
Agreements and Treaties. The DR is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In 1984, the USG and the DR entered into an agreement on international narcotics control cooperation. In May 2003 the Dominican Republic entered into three comprehensive bilateral agreements on Cooperation in Maritime Migration Law Enforcement, Maritime Counter-Drug Operations, and Search and Rescue, granting permanent over-flight provisions in all three agreements for the respective operations. The DR signed, but has not yet ratified, the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement. The DR is not party to the OAS Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and no bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty is in effect. Direct requests for judicial cooperation continue to be made through letters derogatory, but are always scrupulously honored. The DR signed the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange System agreement in 2006.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the DR does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, and other controlled substances, nor does it contribute to drug-related money laundering. The DR has made efforts to reduce the influence of narcotics traffickers in the judicial system--removing at least 24 judges from office in 2006 for improperly handing out favorable sentences to known narcotics traffickers. Dominican institutions nevertheless remain vulnerable to influence by narcotics traffickers. Aggravating this situation is the fact that endemic corruption and favoritism among the DR's law enforcement elite lead to frequent changes in office among its command-level officers, retarding any progress made with prior officials. In October 2006, the DR prosecuted its first money laundering case, filing charges against drug trafficker Quirino Paulino and member of his family. The DR has moved forward on implementing the 2003 Career Law for Prosecutors, graduating 100 newly hired prosecutors from the National School of the Public Ministry and converting another 27 prosecutors from provisional status. The Attorney General pursued several corruption investigations in 2006, at least one of which resulted in the arrest of a senior DNCD official for extortion. A financial disclosure law for senior appointed, civil service and elected officials has been implemented in the DR, but lack of auditing controls and sanctions weakened the effectiveness of this measure. The DR is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.
Demand Reduction. In 2006, the DNCD conducted 155 sporting events and seminars regarding the effects and use of narcotics and drugs. Approximately 300,000 Dominican youths participated in these events. The USG believes that the demand for narcotics in the Dominican Republic is increasing because narcotics are often used as a method of payment for transit. No official surveys regarding domestic drug use have ever been undertaken due to a lack of resources.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. During 2006, the USG continued to provide equipment and training to maintain the drug and explosive detection canine units, support the DNCD's vetted special investigation unit, enhance DNCD computer training, database expansion and systems maintenance support, improve the DNCD's capability to detect drugs smuggled through airports, and provide training and equipment to enhance the DR's anti-money laundering capacity. The FBI office presented a course on Basic Crime Scene Investigation in March 2006. FBI instructors taught 30 National Police Officers and 10 prosecutors about the collection and preservation of crime scene evidence. The 30 police officers that graduated were presented with Crime Scene Kits for use in their investigations.
The USCG participated in joint counternarcotics and illegal migrant operations. In addition, the USCG held two training exercises for the benefit of the Dominican Navy--the Annual Interoperability Conference aimed at improving coordination in maritime interdictions and the International Shipping and Port Security Conference geared toward enhancing port security in the DR.
The Law Enforcement Development Program, implemented by the Embassy's Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) to assist in reforming the DR's National Police, progressed more rapidly in 2006. Internal Affairs (IA) was restructured and is operating efficiently. In the last few months of 2006, approximately 60 police officers were terminated who tested positive for drug use. IA investigators also completed 20 internal investigations against police personnel, which were referred to the Prosecutor General's office. Deaths as result of police involved shootings have declined considerably due to a new training curriculum for basic police training developed and implemented in 2006. A community based policing program was initiated in several barrios with preliminary positive results. National Police and Prosecutors continue to receive combined training, which promises to further enhance institutional cohesion. In 2006, the Public Prosecutor's office continued to strengthen the forensics lab to improve security, handling, and processing of the drugs and arms it receives as evidence.
In 2006, the Dominican chapter of the Business Alliance for Secure Commerce (BASC), a voluntary alliance of manufacturers, transport companies, and related private sector entities, expanded its training program and was cited by CBP officials as one of the most effective BASC chapters worldwide. In 2006, the BASC DR chapter expanded to 30 the number of companies who met the strict criteria for certification.
The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to help the DR to institutionalize judicial reform and good governance in furtherance of U.S. narcotics control strategy. The DR is working to build coherent counternarcotics programs that can resist the pressures of corruption and can address new challenges presented by innovative narcotics trafficking organizations. Money laundering will be a priority, and the USG will provide prosecutors and police investigators the training necessary to help the DR conduct complex financial investigations. Anti-corruption efforts within the Law Enforcement Development Program will continue with a focus on special training for IA investigators. The DR will expand its community-policing program to additional neighborhoods in Santo Domingo through the training of in-house Nation Police instructors in the concepts of community-based policing.
Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The two Caribbean parts of the Kingdom have autonomy over their internal affairs, with the right to exercise independent decision making in a number of counternarcotics areas. The Government of the Netherlands (GON) is responsible for the defense and foreign affairs of all three parts of the Kingdom and assists the Government of Aruba (GOA) and the Government of the Netherlands Antilles (GONA) in their efforts to combat narcotics trafficking. Dutch Sint Maarten continues to serve as a staging ground for moving cocaine and heroin into the U.S. market. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and all three parts are subject to the Convention. Both Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are active members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
Netherlands Antilles. The islands of the Netherlands Antilles (NA) (Curacao and Bonaire off the coast of Venezuela; and Saba, Saint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten east of the U.S. Virgin Islands) serve as transshipment points for cocaine and heroin, chiefly Colombia, Venezuela, and to a much lesser extent, Suriname. These shipments typically are transported to U.S. territory in the Caribbean by "go-fast" boats although use of fishing boats, freighters, and cruise ships is becoming more common. Direct transport to Europe, and at times to the U.S., is by drug couriers using commercial flights. The DEA and local law enforcement saw continued go-fast boat traffic in 2006 with some load sizes reduced because of a potential detection by the Antilles new ground based radar system capable of identifying inbound vessels.
The hardening of border controls in Curacao in 2006 resulted in a marked increase of drug traffic to Sint Maarten from the source zones. These shipments were generally enroute to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, but Sint Maarten continued to serve as a gateway for couriers to Europe. In addition to go-fast boat activity and smuggling via commercial airlines, large quantities of narcotics moved through in shipping containers. Recreational sailing vessels were sometimes identified as being used to move multi-hundred kg shipments of cocaine.
Significant seizures in 2006 indicate that Dutch Sint Maarten serves as a staging ground for moving cocaine and heroin into the U.S. market. Officials in Sint Maarten have responded to this threat by initiating joint U.S. cooperative investigations as well as by adopting new law enforcement strategies to combat the problems.
In October 2006, the Antillean authorities reported a significant reduction in courier traffic as a result of efforts to crackdown on "mules"--who either ingest or conceal on their bodies illegal drugs at Curacao's Hato International Airport, and the "100 percent Check" instituted by Dutch officials in The Netherlands on all passengers arriving at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport from the Antilles. 95 percent of the drug courier traffic was destined for Europe, and from 2002 to 2006, at least 13,000 persons were denied boarding based on suspicion of drug trafficking. As Hato airport tightened controls, traffickers shifted their activities to regional airports. Law enforcement reporting indicated a rise in Dutch passport holders being detained in the neighboring countries of Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba. French Guyana and Peru also reported notable increases in Dutch passport holders being involved in drug trafficking. Dutch Sint Maarten, to a lesser extent, detected increasing numbers of "mules."
Elected officials, law enforcement and the judicial community recognize that the Netherlands Antilles, chiefly due to geography, faces a serious threat from drug trafficking. The police, who are understaffed and need additional training, have received some additional resources. This included support, from the National Guard, which was given authority in 2004 to participate in the crime reduction effort. The rigorous legal standards that must be met to prosecute cases constrain the effectiveness of the police; nevertheless, local police made some progress in 2006 in initiating complex, sensitive investigations targeting upper-echelon traffickers.
Successful joint Antillean/Dutch investigations conducted by the Hit and Run Money Laundering Team (HARM) became commonplace during 2006. The specialized Dutch police units (Recherche Samenwerking Teams--RSTs) that support law enforcement in the NA cooperated with local Antillean officers in the development of investigative strategies to ensure exchange of expertise and information. During October 2006, the RST Sint Maarten cooperated with five other countries in a multi-jurisdictional investigation that resulted in the seizure of 1,900 kg (kg) of cocaine and 28 arrests.
The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba Coast Guard (CGNAA), in coordination with RST Curacao, seized approximately 40 kg of cocaine and a go-fast vessel. Seizures like this by the CGNAA have become commonplace and highlight the CGNAA's desire to be a regional player in law enforcement. The CGNAA's three cutters, outfitted with rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) and new 'super' RHIBs designed especially for counternarcotics work in the Caribbean, have demonstrated their utility against "go-fast" boats and other targets. The CGNAA remained, in 2006, a valuable law enforcement partner with the U.S. Coast Guard and DEA
Under the leadership of the Attorney General, the GONA strengthened its cooperation with U.S. law enforcement authorities throughout 2006. This cooperation extended to Sint Maarten, where the United States and the GONA continued joint efforts against international organized crime and drug trafficking.
In 2006, the Dutch Navy operated in the Netherlands Antilles under the auspices of Component Task Group 4.4 (CTG 4.4), under the oversight of the Joint Inter Agency Task Force (JIATF) South. The U.S. Coast Guard routinely deployed Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETs) on Dutch Navy vessels conducting counter drug patrols in the Caribbean. Under blanket Netherlands clearances renewed annually, the USG placed assets in the territorial waters of Netherlands Antilles and Aruba as well as its airspace/airfields to carry out detection and monitoring operations in support of the counter drug mission. As a result, several notable seizures occurred during 2006, including approximately 3,000 kg of cocaine following a one-week joint surveillance operation on a shipping vessel west of Aruba.
The GONA also supported the U.S. Forward Operating Location (FOL) at the Curacao Hato International Airport. Under a ten-year use agreement signed in March 2000, U.S. military aircraft conduct counternarcotics surveillance flights over both the source and transit zones from commercial ramp space provided free of charge.
Aruba. Aruba is a transshipment point for heroin, and to a lesser extent cocaine, moving north, mainly from Colombia, to the U.S. and secondarily to Europe. Drugs move north via cruise ships and the multiple daily flights to the U.S. and Europe. While Aruba enjoys a low crime rate, there are indications of established drug traffickers operating on the island. Various types of drugs are easily purchased within walking distance of Oranjestad's cruise pier and are frequently peddled to cruise ship tourists. Cruise lines that call on Aruba have instituted strict boarding/search policies for employees to thwart trafficker's efforts to establish regular courier routes back to the United States. The expanding use of MDMA (Ecstasy) in clubs has also attracted increasing attention. Private foundations on the island work on drug education and Aruba government's top counternarcotics official reaches out to U.S. sources for materials to use in his office's prevention programs. The police also work in demand reduction programs for the schools and visit them regularly. In 2006, the government established an interagency commission to develop plans and programs to discourage youth from trafficking between the Netherlands and the U.S. The Aruba Government has been very clear that it intends to pursue a dynamic counternarcotics strategy in close cooperation with its regional and international partners.
In 2006, Aruba law enforcement officials investigated and prosecuted mid-level drug traffickers who use drug couriers. In 2006, there were several instances where Aruba authorities worked with the U.S. to prosecute American citizens arrested in Aruba while attempting to transport multi-kg quantities of drugs to the U.S.
In 2006, the GOA continued to make valuable commercial ramp space at Reina Beatrix International Airport available to both U.S. military and U.S. Customs aircraft conducting counternarcotics surveillance missions. Further development of the U.S. Customs Forward Operating Location (FOL) facilities on Aruba is underway. The GOA also continued to host the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Bureau of Customs and Border Protection preinspection and pre-clearance personnel at Reina Beatrix airport. These officers occupy facilities financed and built by the GOA. DHS seizures of cocaine, heroin, and Ecstasy declined slightly in 2006. Drug smugglers arrested are either prosecuted in Aruba or returned to the U.S. for prosecution. . The GOA established special jail cells in which to detain those suspected of ingesting drugs. Aruba participated in the Coast Guard of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.
III. Actions Against Drugs in 2006
Accomplishments: Available drug seizure statistics as of November 2006 show that Aruba seized 3,006 kg of cocaine and 3 kg heroin; and the Netherlands Antilles seized 1,989 kg of cocaine, 18.5 kg of heroin and 6 kg of marijuana.
Corruption: As a matter or policy, no senior GOA and GON officials, nor GOA and GON encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The effect of official corruption on the production, transportation, and processing of illegal drugs is not an issue for Aruba. During 2006, the NA continued an aggressive and notably successful program to identify links between prominent traffickers in the region and law enforcement officials. The NA is quick to investigate evidence of corruption and monitors law enforcement officials in sensitive positions. The judiciary maintains close ties with the Dutch legal system and has a reputation for integrity. It is involved in the seconding of Dutch prosecutors and judges to fill positions for which there are no qualified candidates among the small Antillean and Aruba populations.
Agreements and Treaties: The Netherlands extended the 1988 UN Drug Convention to the NA and Aruba in March 1999; with the reservation that its obligations under certain provisions would only be applicable in so far as they were in accordance with NA and Aruban criminal legislation and policy on criminal matters. The NA and Aruba subsequently enacted revised, uniform legislation to resolve a lack of uniformity between the asset forfeiture laws of the NA and Aruba. The obligations of the Netherlands as a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, apply to the NA and Aruba. The obligations of the Netherlands under the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances have applied to the NA since March 10, 1999. The Netherlands's Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the
United States applies to the NA and Aruba. Both Aruba and the NA routinely honor requests made under the MLAT and cooperate extensively with the United States on law enforcement matters at less formal levels. In 2002 the NA, followed by Aruba signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the U.S. In September 2004 Aruba ratified the agreement; ratification in the NA remains pending. Aruba has limited legislation dating from May 1996 regulating the import and export of certain precursor and essential chemicals, consistent with the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction) Both the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba have ongoing demand reduction programs, but need additional resources. The Korps Politie of Curacao includes a well-trained demand reduction staff, which does presentations at local schools.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
The United States encourages Aruba and Netherlands Antilles law enforcement officials to participate in USG-funded regional training courses provided by U.S. agencies at the GOA and GONA's expense. Chiefly through the DEA and DHS/Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States is able to provide assistance to enhance technical capabilities as well as some targeted training. The U.S. continues to search for ways in which locally assigned U.S. law enforcement personnel can share their expertise with host country counterparts. Appreciation of the importance of intelligence to effective law enforcement has grown in the Dutch Caribbean and the USG has expanded intelligence sharing with GOA and GONA officials. Because U.S.- provided intelligence must meet the strict requirements of local law, sharing of intelligence and law enforcement information requires ongoing, extensive liaison work to bridge the difference between U.S. and Dutch-based law.
Road Ahead. Drug trafficking and related money laundering and criminal violence will remain a threat to the Dutch Caribbean. Vigorous law enforcement against the traffickers and money launderers will be necessary to prevent the Dutch Caribbean from becoming a haven for illegal activity.
The seven Eastern Caribbean countries-Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines-form the eastern edge of the Caribbean transit zone for drugs, mostly cocaine and marijuana products, going from South America to U.S., Europe and other markets. Illicit narcotics transit the Eastern Caribbean mostly by sea, in small go-fast vessels, larger fishing vessels, yachts and freight carriers. Drug trafficking and related crimes, such as money laundering, drug use, arms trafficking, official corruption, violent crime, and intimidation, have the potential to threaten the stability of the small, democratic countries of the Eastern Caribbean and, to varying degrees, have damaged civil society in some of these countries. In 2006, the seven Eastern Caribbean countries supported the treaty-based Regional Security System (RSS). Barbados funds 40 percent of the RSS's budget.
The seven Eastern Caribbean states are parties to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Each one individually also has signed bilateral maritime counter-drug agreements with the U.S. allowing expedited cooperation.
II. Status of Countries and Actions Against Drugs
In 2006, the seven Eastern Caribbean countries supported the treaty-based Regional Security System (RSS). Barbados funds 40 percent of the RSS's budget. The RSS operated a maritime training facility in Antigua for member-nation forces. The USG provided partial support to the RSS for its twice-yearly basic training course for marijuana eradication exercises for police special services units. Additionally, the USG provided the maritime security forces of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia with various training courses that prepared them to conduct counter-drug operations including maritime law enforcement, port security, engineering, seamanship, and professional development. In 2006, the U.S. Coast Guard continued to operate a three person Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT) in a security assistance partnership with the RSS nations. This team provides engineering, technical, procurement and logistics advice and support to the RSS maritime forces.
Antigua and Barbuda. The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are transit sites for cocaine moving from South America to the U.S. and global markets. Narcotics entering Antigua and Barbuda are transferred mostly from go-fast boats, fishing vessels, or yachts to other go-fasts, powerboats or local fishing vessels. Secluded beaches and uncontrolled marinas provide excellent areas to conduct drug transfer operations. Marijuana cultivation in Antigua and Barbuda is not significant, and is imported primarily from St. Vincent.
According to Government of Antigua and Barbuda (GOAB), in 2006, approximately 75 percent of the cocaine that transits Antigua and Barbuda was destined for the United Kingdom--a 15 percent increase from the previous year, while the percentage transited to the United States dropped by five percent--from 20 percent in 2005 to 15 percent in 2006. Approximately 10 percent of the cocaine transiting Antigua and Barbuda is destined for St. Martin/Sint Maarten. Through October 2006, GOAB forces seized eight kg (kg) of cocaine and 75 kg of marijuana, arrested 112 persons on drug-related charges, and prosecuted five traffickers. Eradication efforts increased significantly from the previous year, from 500 marijuana plants in 2005 to more than 25,000 marijuana plants in 2006.
Antigua and Barbuda is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda (GOAB) is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention on Extradition, the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Inter-American Firearms Convention), and the Inter-American Convention on Extradition. The GOAB has signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, but has not signed any of its three protocols.
In 2006, the police operated a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, and lectured church groups and other civic organizations on the dangers of drugs. Local organizations such as the Optimist Club and Project Hope conducted their own school programs or assisted groups that work with drug addicts.
The USG provided technical assistance in 2006 during the dry-docking of the patrol boat LIBERTA and restored the Antigua and Barbuda Coast Guard's three patrol vessels to operational readiness after they sustained damages during operations.
Barbados. Barbados is a transit country for cocaine and marijuana products entering by sea and by air. Smaller vessels or go-fast boats transport marijuana from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and cocaine from South America.
In 2006, GOB agencies reported seizing 92.6 kg of cocaine and 4,698 kg of marijuana. The GOB brought drug charges against 623 persons during 2006, five of whom were major drug traffickers. Total reported drug charges in 2006 were significantly lower than the previous year, which reported 2,551. In 2006, 2,583 cannabis plants were eliminated; more than triple the amount eliminated in 2005. A new trafficking trend encountered in 2006 was the use of yachts to move drugs between the islands, and onward to Europe and the United States. The Barbados Police Force estimates 60 percent of the cocaine that transits Barbados is destined for the UK, 15 percent to Canada. Approximately 10 percent is destined to the U.S., representing a 50 percent reduction from the previous year. Most of the cannabis that enters Barbados is consumed locally, while local consumption of cocaine represents only five percent of the amount thought to transit the island.
Barbados is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Barbados has signed, but not ratified, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and is a party to the Inter-American Firearms Convention. Barbados has not signed the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters or the Inter-American Convention on Extradition. The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act allows Barbados to provide mutual legal assistance to countries with which it has a bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty, Commonwealth countries, and states-parties to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Barbados has an asset-sharing agreement with Canada. Barbados has signed but has not yet ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols.
In 2006, the GOB's National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) and various concerned NGOs sponsored prevention and education efforts, skills-training centers, a "Drugs Decisions" program in 45 primary schools, prison drug and rehabilitation counseling, and the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) and Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education (P.R.I.D.E.) programs.
Commonwealth of Dominica. The Commonwealth of Dominica serves as a transshipment and temporary storage area for drugs, principally cocaine products, headed to the U.S. and to Europe, mostly via the French Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Go-fast boats bring shipments from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and elsewhere. In addition, marijuana is cultivated in Dominica. The Dominica police regularly conduct round-based marijuana eradication missions in rugged, mountainous areas.
From January through October 2006, Dominican law enforcement agencies reported seizing 50.85 kg of cocaine and 583.5 kg of marijuana. Most of the more than 92,000 marijuana plants under cultivation were eradicated. Dominica police arrested 287 persons on drug-related charges, double that of the previous year, and prosecuted eight major drug traffickers. According to the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica (GCOD) Police, most of the drugs that transit through Dominica are intended for foreign markets: 10 percent to Canada; 10 percent to the U.S.; 20 percent to the U.K.; and 20 percent to France. Within the region, 40 percent of marijuana is intended for Guadeloupe and 10 percent for Antigua. Approximately 20 percent of cocaine is intended for St. Martin and 10 percent for St. Thomas. Domestic consumption of marijuana is approximately 90 percent of all drug consumption on the island, while cocaine is at 10 percent.
The Ministry of Health oversees drug demand reduction efforts. The Ministry and its National Drug Abuse Prevention Unit have been successful in establishing a series of community-based drug use prevention programs including the D.A.R.E. Program. The GCOD continued to implement its 2005-2009 National Drug Prevention Program.
Dominica is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Dominica is a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Inter-American Firearms Convention, and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.
In 2006, the USG provided technical assistance to restore the Marine Police Unit's patrol boat MELVILLE and rigid hull inflatable to operational readiness.
Grenada. South American and Caribbean drug traffickers use Grenada's coastal waters and its often un-policed islands to transship cocaine and marijuana en route to U.S., Canada and the UK, including by drug couriers on commercial aircraft and via yachts. A small percentage of the cocaine smuggled through Grenada remains on the island and is converted to crack cocaine for local consumption. In 2006, the police drug squad collaborated closely with DEA officials in the targeting and investigation of a local drug trafficking organization associated with South American and other Caribbean traffickers. 2006 saw an increase in violence and gang activity associated with the drug trade, including armed robbery and kidnapping. Additionally, there was a slight increase in petty crimes, including theft and break-ins for cash, to pay for drugs. On May 1, 2006, police drug squad carried out an operation that resulted in four arrests, 2.5 kg of cocaine, a quantity of ammunition and an unlicensed firearm.
Through October 2006, Grenadian authorities reported seizing approximately 20.52 kg of cocaine; 8,149 marijuana plants; 98.61 kg of marijuana; and 1,934 marijuana cigarettes. During that period, they arrested 407 persons on drug-related charges. Regular rural patrols continue to contribute significantly to deter marijuana cultivation on the island, which usually consists of around 50 or fewer plants in any one plot. Marijuana is smuggled through Grenada from both St. Vincent and Jamaica. Of the total smuggled, local officials estimate that about 75 percent remains on the island. The remaining 25 percent is destined for Canada and the UK.
The 2005 draft Precursor Chemical Bill that would implement controls preventing the diversion of controlled chemical substances, remained with the Ministry of Legal Affairs in 2006. However, the Prevention of Corruption Act, which has been languishing in Parliament for 18 months, had its first reading in the House of Representatives (the lower house of Grenada's parliament) on October 30, 2006. An additional two readings in the House and passage by the Senate are required for the bill to become law.
Grenada is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Grenada also is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, Inter-American Firearms Convention and the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. Grenada is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. An extradition treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) are in force between the U.S. and Grenada.
The Drug Control Secretariat of the National Council on Drug Control undertook a number of demand reduction initiatives, including Community Caravan, D.A.R.E., and other community outreach programs. Drug use prevention education remains incorporated into all levels of the educational curriculum, and "Living Drug Free," a one-hour television program aired on the public access channel to sensitize the public to the dangers of drugs. In 2006, Grenada, with OAS assistance, began working on a new national master plan for drug control to run through 2009.
In 2006, USG assistance to the Royal Grenada Police Force Marine Unit included replacing a patrol vessel engine and restoration of two additional patrol boats to operational readiness following damage sustained during operations.
St. Kitts and Nevis. St. Kitts and Nevis is a transshipment site for cocaine from South America to the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as to regional markets. Drugs are transferred out of St. Kitts and Nevis primarily via small sailboats, fishing boats and go-fast boats bound for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Trafficking organizations operating in St. Kitts are linked directly to South American traffickers, some of whom reportedly are residing in St. Kitts, and to other organized crime groups. Marijuana is grown locally, 90 percent of which is consumed locally.
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis (GOSKN) Defense Force augments police counternarcotics efforts, particularly in marijuana eradication operations. GOSKN officials reported seizing 21.4 kg of cocaine, representing a 50 percent reduction in seizures from the previous year, and approximately 57.5 kg of marijuana from January through October 2006. From January to October 2006, 67 arrests were made, almost double the number of arrests in 2005. Eradication of marijuana plants increased from approximately 6,243 in 2005 to over 31,000 in 2006. According to the GOSKN, this figure does not represent an increase in cultivation, but rather an increase in eradication efforts. Despite these successes in 2006, the police drug unit on St. Kitts remained largely ineffective due to insufficient political will and the lack of complete independence for police to operate.
The GOSKN is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. St. Kitts and Nevis is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and the Inter-American Firearms Convention, but has not signed the Inter-American Convention on Extradition or the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. St. Kitts and Nevis is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols.
In 2006, drug demand reduction programs included D.A.R.E. and Operation Future. There are no drug rehabilitation clinics in SKN and persons seeking such treatment are sent to St. Lucia.
USG provided technical assistance in 2006 with the dry-docking of the St. Kitts and Nevis Coast Guard's two patrol boats, STALWART and ARDENT, to repair damage sustained during operations.
French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, the French side of St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy are all overseas departments of France and therefore subject to French law, including all international conventions signed by France. With the resources of France behind them, the French Caribbean Departments and French Guiana are meeting the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The French Judiciary Police, Gendarmerie, and Customs Service play a major role in narcotics law enforcement in France's overseas departments, just as they do in the rest of France. Cocaine moves through the French Caribbean and from French Guiana to Europe, and to a lesser extent, to the United States.
French officials are seeing an increase in cocaine coming directly to France from the French Caribbean, and created the Martinique Task Force in response. The USG is concerned that some of this increased in trafficking could flow to the United States. French Customs also takes an active part in the undertakings of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (C.C.L.E.C.), which was established in the early 1970's to improve the level of cooperation and exchange of information between its members in the Caribbean. C.C.L.E.C. has broadened its scope to include training programs, technical assistance and other projects.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs
In 2006, there were some 7,600 French troops in the Caribbean area and Guiana who played a major role in countering drug trafficking alongside the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South. During the year, important drug seizures in the French Caribbean included the April 29, discovery by French Customs agents of 808 kg of cocaine on board a Gibraltar flagged sailboat named "le Canito" in the open seas near Guadeloupe. Three Italian nationals were arrested. On May 2, French sailors aboard a patrol boat stopped a sailing vessel named "Ocean Breeze" approximately 700 kilometers from Martinique, and recovered some 50 kg of cocaine (it was suspected that the boat originally carried approximately a ton of cocaine, but much of the cargo was thrown overboard by the traffickers before the ship could be stopped). On July 2, two large drug seizures of cocaine--14.044 kg and 14.124 kg respectively--were discovered in the suitcases of two passengers arriving at Orly airport from a flight originating from Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe.
Agreements and Treaties. In addition to the agreements and treaties discussed in the report on France, USG and Government of France (GOF) counter narcotics cooperation in the Caribbean is enhanced by a 1997 multilateral Caribbean customs mutual assistance agreement that provides for information sharing to enforce customs laws and prevent smuggling, including those relating to drug trafficking. The assignment of a French Navy liaison officer to the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) at Key West, Florida has also enhanced law enforcement cooperation in the Caribbean. In October 2005, the French Parliament approved the "Aruba Accord" (formally the "Accord Concerning the Cooperation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Aeronautical Trafficking in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Region") and in February 2006, France deposited its instrument of ratification in Costa Rica, completing action on the French side. In October 2006, France, along with 11 other nations, signed the "Paramaribo Declaration" at a conference in Suriname, which is an agreement to establish an intelligence sharing network, to coordinate and execute drug sting operations among countries, and to address money laundering.
The French Customs and Excise Service operates, together with the French National Police and French National Mounted Police, the Inter-ministerial Drug Control Training Center (CIFAD) in Fort-de-France, Martinique. CIFAD offers training in French, Spanish and English to law enforcement officials in the Caribbean and Central and South America, covering such subjects as money laundering, precursor chemicals, mutual legal assistance, international legal cooperation, coast guard training, customs valuation and drug control in airports. CIFAD coordinates its training activities with the UNDOC, the Organization of American States/CICAD, and individual donor nations. U.S. Customs officers periodically teach at CIFAD. French Customs is co-funding with the Organization of American States (OAS), on a regular basis, training seminars aimed at Customs and Coast Guard officers from O.A.S. member countries.
France supports European Union initiatives to increase counternarcotics assistance to the Caribbean. The EU and its member states, the United States, and other individual and multinational donors are coordinating their assistance programs closely in the region through regular bilateral and multilateral discussions. The GOF participates actively in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) as a cooperating and support nation (COSUN).
Guyana is a transshipment point for cocaine destined for North America, Europe, and the Caribbean. Interdictions and seizures of drugs in Guyana decreased from 2004 to 2005. Poor economic, social, and political conditions make Guyana a prime target for narcotics traffickers to exploit as a transit point. The Government of Guyana (GoG) launched its National Drug Strategy Master Plan (NDSMP) for 2005-2009 in June 2005. However, the GoG has yet to implement any of the NDSMP's substantive initiatives. Guyana is a party to the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (the 1988 UN Drug Convention) but still needs to pass and implement additional legislation to meet its obligations under the convention.
II. Status of Country
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime last estimated the quantity of cocaine transiting Guyana in 2000-2001 at 20-25 metric tons annually. Using those figures, the U.S. Embassy in Guyana estimates that narcotics traffickers earn US$150 million annually, and possibly much more, by trafficking cocaine through Guyana. This amount is equivalent to twenty percent or more of Guyana's reported gross domestic product. Accurately determining the trend in drug transit is difficult given the wide yearly swings in seizures. There have not been any large domestic seizures since a 1998 joint Guyanese/U.S. operation seized 3,154 kg of cocaine from a ship docked in Georgetown. Publicly reported seizures for 2005 totaled approximately 43kg.
Drug traffickers appear to be gaining a significant foothold in Guyana's timber industry. In 2005, The Guyana Forestry Commission granted a State Forest Exploratory Permit for a large tract of land in Guyana's interior to Aurelius Inc., a company controlled by known drug trafficker Shaheed 'Roger' Khan. Such concessions in the remote interior may allow drug traffickers to establish autonomous outposts beyond the reach of Guyanese law enforcement.
Government counternarcotics efforts are undermined by the lack of adequate resources for law enforcement, poor coordination among law enforcement agencies, and a weak judicial system. The Guyanese media regularly report murders, kidnappings, and other violent crimes commonly believed to be linked with narcotics trafficking. Guyana produces cannabis but not coca leaf or cocaine. Guyana is not known to produce, trade, or transit precursor chemicals on a large scale.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005
Policy Initiatives. Guyana launched its ambitious 2005-2009 NDSMP in June. The NDSMP's programs are divided into Supply Reduction and Demand Reduction. The Supply Reduction agenda calls for improving the justice system's ability to handle drug cases, making the Joint Intelligence Coordination Center (JICC) operational, closer cooperation between and better technology for law enforcement agencies, and tighter control of border posts and airstrips. The Demand Reduction agenda includes developing rehabilitation capabilities as well as media and education programs. The government estimates that implementing the 2005-2009 NDSMP will cost approximately US$3.3 million. The FIU, established in 2003 with material support from the U.S., is handicapped by the lack of effective legislation to deal with money laundering, such as the lack of an amendment to allow for seizing assets.
Accomplishments. The launch of the 2005-2009 NDSMP after a five-year gap was significant. However, the government has not completed any of the short-term milestones mentioned in the plan. Guyana made no other significant progress in achieving or maintaining compliance with the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In 2005, Guyanese law enforcement agencies did not make a single publicly reported cocaine seizure in excess of 10 kg. Nor have Guyanese authorities brought to justice a single important member of a drug trafficking organization.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The GoG's counternarcotics efforts suffer from a lack of adequate law enforcement resources, poor inter-agency coordination, and endemic corruption. Several agencies share responsibility for counternarcotics activities: the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) is tasked with conducting enforcement activities mainly at ports of entry; the Guyana Police Force (GPF) Narcotics Branch is the principal element in the police responsible for enforcement of drug laws domestically; the Guyana Defense Force Coast Guard (GDFCG) has the lead for maritime counternarcotics operations. There is little productive interaction or intelligence sharing among these organizations. For example, according to the 2005-2009 NDSMP, the JICC is supposed "to bring together various counternarcotics agencies in a single work environment, encourage the sharing of information and intelligence", but "has not met for some time."
In 2005, the GPF Narcotics Branch and CANU arrested drug couriers at Guyana's international airport en route to the Caribbean, North America, and Europe. However, the arrests were limited to individuals with small amounts of marijuana, crack cocaine or powder cocaine, usually on charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking. For example, a 16 year-old-girl was arrested in February with 1.3 kg of cocaine in her suitcase. In October, a player on the Guyanese national soccer team died when one of the cocaine-filled bags he had swallowed burst in his stomach after he had smuggled the drugs to Barbados. Authorities have not successfully acted against major traffickers and their organizations. According to publicly reported arrests, authorities recovered only 43 kg of cocaine in 2005. This represents a significant decrease from 2004 and 2003, when authorities recovered 269 kg and 277 kg of cocaine, respectively. Government and DEA officials believe that counternarcotics agencies interdict only a small percentage of the cocaine that transits Guyana. The U.S. donated a fast interceptor boat to the GDFCG in May 2005. The GDFCG conducts patrols with the interceptor boat, but has not yet interdicted any narcotics shipments. The discovery in March at a remote airstrip of an abandoned Cessna aircraft, which had probably been used to smuggle drugs into Guyana, underscored the GoG's inability to monitor such locations.
Corruption. The GOG does not facilitate the production, processing, or shipment of narcotic and psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, and does not discourage the investigation or prosecution of such acts. The GOG takes legal and law enforcement measure to prevent and punish public corruption. Guyana is party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (IACAC) but has yet to fully implement its provisions, such as seizure of property obtained through corruption. News media routinely report on instances of corruption reaching to high levels of government that go uninvestigated and unpunished. The former Minister of Home Affairs, who had been implicated with an extra-judicial killing squad and who had improperly issued firearm licenses to known criminals, resigned in 2005. The new Minister of Home Affairs has shown greater commitment to fighting drug trafficking and corruption. The Police Commissioner is making strong efforts to reduce corruption within the GPF. Guyana is not a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption.
Agreements and Treaties. Guyana is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Guyana also is a party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on trafficking in persons. The 1931 Extradition Treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom is applicable to the U.S. and Guyana. Guyana signed a bilateral agreement with the U.S. on maritime counternarcotics cooperation in 2001, but has not yet taken the necessary internal steps to bring the agreement into force. Guyana has bilateral agreements to cooperate on drug trafficking issues with its neighbors and with the United Kingdom. Guyana is also a member of the Organization of American States' Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD).
Cultivation and Production. Cannabis cultivation occurs in Guyana on a limited scale, primarily in the intermediate savannahs. Police regularly discover and eradicate cannabis cultivation sites when conducting area sweeps. The 2005-2009 NDSMP reported that authorities destroyed a total of 68.5 hectares and over 63,000 kg of cannabis plants during the 1999-2003 period.
Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine flows through Guyana's remote, uncontrolled borders and coastline. Light aircraft land at numerous isolated airstrips or make airdrops into rivers where operatives on the ground retrieve the drugs. Smugglers use small boats and freighters to enter Guyana's many remote but navigable rivers. Smugglers also take direct routes, such as driving or boating across the uncontrolled borders with Brazil, Suriname, and Venezuela. Inside the country, narcotics are normally transported to Georgetown by road, water, or air and then sent on to the Caribbean, North America, or Europe via commercial air carriers or cargo ships. "Go-fast" speedboats may also carry cocaine from Guyana's rivers to mother ships in the Atlantic. Authorities have arrested drug mules attempting to smuggle cocaine on virtually every northbound route out of the international airport.
In April 2005, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation led to arrests of 27 members of a Guyana-based drug importation and distribution ring responsible for bringing in hundreds of kg of cocaine from Guyana on board flights arriving in New York. They concealed the drugs inside frozen fish and chow mein containers.
Drug traffickers also use cargo ships to export narcotics from Guyana either directly to North America and Europe or through intermediate Caribbean ports. In March 2005, British authorities arrested a man who attempted to smuggle 572 kg of cocaine into the UK in bags of coconuts from Guyana. In November, Barbadian authorities discovered 120 kg of cocaine in a shipment of lumber from Guyana. Drug traffickers have used virtually every commodity that Guyana exports as a cover for shipping cocaine out of the country.
Demand Reduction (Domestic Programs). Marijuana is sold and consumed openly in Guyana, despite frequent arrests for possessing small amounts of cannabis. CANU and the 2005-2009 NDSMP both note that consumption of cocaine powder, crack cocaine, Ecstasy, and heroin has risen-and the latter two have appeared on Guyana's streets in the past year. This increase in domestic drug use is occurring despite the high cost of the drugs relative to local incomes. A survey cited in the 2005-2009 NDSMP reported that 27 percent of the 11-19 year-old children interviewed nationwide had seen cocaine. The same survey reported that 60 percent of children in Region 1 (on the border with Venezuela) said they had seen cocaine. The 2005-2009 NDSMP includes several measures to reduce demand for narcotics. The strategy includes safe lifestyle programs, stronger health and family life education, targeted surveys and compilation of social statistics, and a media strategy to promote drug awareness. The Ministry of Health and the Office of the President will administer most of these plans. As with the 2005-2009 NDSMP's other components, the government has yet to take concrete action to reduce demand for illegal drugs. Guyana's ability to deal with drug abusers is severely limited by a lack of financial resources to support rehabilitation programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
U.S. Policy Initiatives. U.S. policy focuses on strengthening Guyana's law enforcement agencies and promoting good governance. U.S. funded training and technical support are key components of this strategy. U.S. officials continued to encourage Guyanese participation in bilateral and multilateral counternarcotics initiatives. USAID is funding projects to improve governance in Guyana, which includes much needed parliamentary and judicial reform.
Bilateral Cooperation. The DEA works closely with Guyana's government and law enforcement agencies to develop initiatives that will significantly enhance their counternarcotics activities. High-ranking representatives from the GPF and the GDF attended the International Drug Enforcement Conference in 2005. The U.S. government also funded the vetting of selected officers in counternarcotics agencies. U.S. officials continue to work closely with the FIU in its fledgling efforts to curb money laundering.
The Road Ahead. Guyana's contentious and inefficient political system and lack of resources significantly hamper its ability to mount an effective counternarcotics campaign. Legitimate businesses are suffering because money launderers associated with narcotics traffickers distort the domestic economy by pricing their goods and services below sustainable market rates. The drug trade generates violent armed groups who act as if they are above the law and who threaten Guyana's fragile democracy, and drug traffickers may use their ill-gotten gains to acquire political influence. Lastly, the drug trade is corrupting Guyanese society on a dangerous scale. The U.S. will channel future assistance to initiatives that demonstrate success in interdicting drug flows and prosecuting drug traffickers. Efforts in this area include strengthening Guyana's judicial system, law enforcement infrastructure, and counternarcotics legislation. The U.S., along with other international stakeholders, must continue to press for thorough reform. The U.S. will continue to encourage participation in bilateral and multilateral initiatives, as well as implementation of current international conventions and agreements.
Haiti, a major transit country for cocaine from South America, is experiencing a surge in air smuggling of cocaine out of Venezuela. The new Government of Haiti (GOH) headed by President Preval, like the Interim Government it replaced following elections in 2006, struggled to overcome pervasive corruption, weak governance and mismanagement. Haiti's law enforcement institutions are weak and its judicial system dysfunctional. Another challenge confronting the GOH is the need to curb continuing violence and disorder perpetrated by criminal elements--some of whom are involved in drug trafficking--that continues to undermine efforts to promote the economic, social and political development of the country. The GOH with assistance from international donors--principally the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the USG--took important steps during the year toward restoring the rule of law. President Preval reappointed a reform-minded Haitian National Police Director General to a three-year term in June 2006. The GOH also reached agreement with MINUSTAH on a plan to reform the Haitian National Police (HNP) that includes a vetting and certification process for new police recruits as well as existing officers. With the support of MINUSTAH troops, the GOH initiated a campaign to dismantle and disarm the criminal gangs in Port au Prince involved in kidnappings and other criminal activity. The HNP's anti-drug unit carried out limited operations during the year that resulted in some seizures of drugs and drug-related funds. Haiti is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Haiti is a significant transit country for cocaine destined for the United States and to a lesser extent Canada and Europe. According to the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S), the number of drug smuggling flights from Venezuela to Hispaniola increased by 167 percent from 2005 to 2006. Approximately one third of these flights went to Haiti. In addition to 1,125 miles of unprotected shoreline, uncontrolled seaports, and numerous clandestine airstrips, Haiti's struggling police force, dysfunctional judiciary system, corruption, a weak democracy and a thriving contraband trade contribute to the prolific use of Haiti by drug traffickers as a strategic point of distribution.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2006
During 2006, the HNP trained 1,044 new recruits and provided in-service training to 860 existing officers. In December, the HNP graduated a class of 565 new officers, most of whom were initially assigned to traffic control duties. Since 2004, a total of 2,300 new recruits have been trained and 1,100 existing officers have been given in service training. The HNP and MINUSTAH reached agreement on a reform plan with the goal of creating a police force of 12,000 trained and vetted officers within five years. Since August MINUSTAH troops, United Nations Police (UNPOL) and HNP officers have made progress in dismantling gangs that support drug trafficking organizations. The GOH reaffirmed its support of the DEA-led Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU) with the signing of an agreement in September. With a location for the unit leased and renovated and the procurement of necessary investigative equipment underway, the SIU is expected to become fully operational in early 2007.
The GOH Central Financial Intelligence Unit (French acronym UCREF), and the Financial Crimes Task Force (FCTF) within it, continued to investigate money laundering and corruption cases during the year. However, none of the hundreds of investigations conducted by UCREF and the FCTF since 2004 have been prosecuted. UCREF confiscated $800,000 and froze $1.4 million as well as the equivalent of $5 million in local currency related to money laundering offenses. UCREF provided assistance to DEA in two investigations and to an IRS investigation during the year.
Law Enforcement Efforts. With assistance from DEA and the Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS), the counterdrug unit of the HNP (French acronym BLTS) conducted limited operations against drug trafficking. In August, the BLTS seized 372 kg (kg) of cocaine linked to a Haitian trafficker currently under indictment in the U.S. In November, the BLTS unit at the airport in Port au Prince arrested a former HNP officer and known associate of Colombian traffickers and seized $254,000 before he was able to board a flight to Panama. As a result of an investigation into drug trafficking across the border with the Dominican Republic, the BLTS set up a checkpoint on the main road and seized 238 kg of cocaine. DEA provided training to two BLTS agents in the use of the Centers for Drug Information database that is linked to DEA offices in the Caribbean via the Internet. The BLTS formed a drug detection canine unit with support from American Airlines that will inspect baggage and cargo at the airport. American Airlines provided two dogs and training for four BLTS agents and the Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) contributed a vehicle to the new unit.
The Haitian Coast Guard (HCG) conducted limited drug and migrant interdiction
operations from its bases in Port au Prince and Cap Haitien during the year. The HCG deployed one 40 ft vessel and two 35 ft. "Eduardono" fast boats to Cap Haitien for patrol and port security operations. In May, the HCG successfully interdicted a boat with more than one hundred Haitian migrants aboard that had departed the north coast for The Bahamas.
Corruption. There is rampant corruption in almost all public institutions in Haiti, including the HNP. Since 2004, all new police recruits are vetted and the HNP reached agreement in August 2006 with MINUSTAH on procedures to vet all currently serving police officers. The HNP Director General dismissed 500 officers during the year for misconduct. However, in June, a magistrate ordered the release of funds frozen by UCREF as the result of its investigations into money laundering and corruption and briefly jailed the director of UCREF when he refused to do so. Over $1.4 million were eventually released by the magistrate to the suspected money launderers.
Agreements and Treaties. Haiti is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. A U.S.-Haiti maritime counternarcotics agreement entered into force in 2002. Haiti has signed and ratified the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. Haiti has signed but not ratified the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement, the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention Against Corruption. Haiti has not signed or ratified the OAS Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. There is no bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty between the U.S. and Haiti. Requests for assistance historically have been made through letters rogatory but there have been no formal requests for assistance in years.
Extradition. Haiti and the U.S. are parties to an extradition treaty that entered in force in 1905. Although the Haitian Constitution prohibits the extradition of nationals, in the past Haitians under indictment in the U.S. have been returned to the U.S. by non-extradition means. During 2006, no Haitian fugitives were returned to the U.S. nor were there any extraditions.
Cultivation/Production. There is no known cultivation or production of illicit drugs in Haiti with the exception of low quality cannabis, which is grown on a small scale and sold locally.
Drug flow/transit. For the greater part of 2006, traffickers used small aircraft to make offshore air drops of illegal drugs, however, near the end of 2006, traffickers shifted to land deliveries using clandestine airstrips. According to JIATF-South, in 2006 there were 46 suspect drug flights from Venezuela, where a permissive environment is allowing smuggling aircraft to operate with impunity. Fast boats transporting cocaine from South America to the United States through a variety of strategic Haitian locations frequented the southern coast of Haiti. Drug shipments arriving at the various seaports are transported overland to Port-au-Prince where they are frequently concealed on cargo and coastal freighters destined for the United States and Europe. Marijuana is shipped via fast boats from Jamaica to waiting Haitian fishing vessels and cargo freighters to seaports along Haiti's southern claw. It is then shipped directly to the continental United States or transshipped through the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. Cocaine, crack and marijuana are readily available and consumed in Haiti.
Demand Reduction. Drug abuse is not yet a major problem in Haiti. In 2006, the GOH continued a public awareness campaign designed to discourage drug use launched in 2005 with USG assistance.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Reform of the HNP continues to be the cornerstone of USG efforts to combat drug trafficking in Haiti. In cooperation with MINUSTAH, the USG provided equipment and technical assistance in 2006, aimed at transforming the HNP into an effective law enforcement institution. The NAS Police Advisory Group identified specific requirements and coordinated the procurement of vehicles, radios and other technical equipment for the HNP. The police advisers also oversaw the construction of four model police stations in Leogane, Petit Goave, Carrefour and Thiotte and the installation of 58 solar-powered radio base stations for the HNP throughout the country. The USG contributed 50 officers to MINUSTAH's UNPOL contingent, many of whom are involved in training recruits at the HNP academy. The USG also is contributing three corrections experts to form the nucleus of a sixteen-member UN team that will work on improving the infrastructure and management of Haiti's prison system. In addition, the USG has provided an adviser to help the HNP Director General implement anti-corruption measures. Advisers from U.S. Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance provided training and mentoring in financial investigations to UCREF and the Financial Crimes Task Force. The U.S. Coast Guard supported HCG operations with leadership and technical courses, visits by Mobile Training Teams that advised on boat maintenance and handling, law enforcement techniques and port security operations, and by refitting one 40 ft. patrol vessel.
Road Ahead. Continued USG support for the reform and expansion of the HNP as well as reform of the judicial system is prerequisites for effective counternarcotics operations throughout the country. More importantly, the restoration of the rule of law will provide the security and stability Haiti needs to fully meet the economic, social and political development needs of the Haitian people.
Jamaica is a major transit point for cocaine enroute to the United States and is also a key source of marijuana and marijuana derivative products for the Americas. There is robust cooperation between U.S. Government (USG) and the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) law enforcement agencies. During 2006, the GOJ seized narcotics destined for the United States, arrested key traffickers and criminal gang leaders and dismantled their organizations. The GOJ began 2006 with an ambitious legislative agenda that included financial crimes, port security, and use of DNA in criminal cases, but had little success in moving the legislation through Parliament. The Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) anti-crime program achieved a 16 percent decrease in crime for 2006. The GOJ however, seems unable to move with equal efficacy against official corruption. In 2006, Jamaica's Minister of National Security warned of the dangers of a narcotics/political link within Jamaica, and pledged the GOJ's full support to combat corruption, but there were no prosecutions of high-level officials for corruption over the last 12 months.
II. Status of Country
Jamaica's difficult to patrol coastline, over 100 unmonitored airstrips, busy commercial and cruise ports and convenient air connections make it a major transit country for cocaine. Jamaica remains the Caribbean's largest producer and exporter of marijuana. Consumption of cocaine, heroin and marijuana is illegal in Jamaica. Marijuana is the drug most frequently abused. Consumption of powder and crack cocaine is rising, despite their cost and limited availability. The possession and use of Ecstasy (MDMA) is controlled by the Food and Drug Act and is subject to light noncriminal penalties.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2006
Policy Initiatives/Accomplishments. In 2006, the GOJ announced an ambitious agenda of key security and counternarcotics legislative and policy initiatives: civil forfeiture, use and collection of DNA evidence, port security, human trafficking, digital fingerprinting, and anti-corruption but was unable to move all but the digital fingerprinting program beyond the initial stages.
The Proceeds of Crime Act, which would provide the GOJ with the powerful tool of civil forfeiture and permit a more expeditious seizure and forfeiture process, was stalled in Parliament, despite a lack of opposition. The GOJ also tabled a Human Trafficking Bill in November 2006. However, the GOJ prepared legislation to expand the collection of DNA evidence in criminal cases in late 2006, and signed an agreement with the FBI to share DNA information with the USG through the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database, scheduled to begin in early 2007. Legislation to criminalize the manufacture, sale, transport, and possession of Ecstasy, methamphetamine, and their precursor chemicals, was also drafted in 2006 and is slated for presentation to Parliament in 2007.
In late 2006, the USG Container Security and MegaPorts initiatives began. Although the focus of these two programs is not counternarcotics, the side-by-side working relationship between U.S. and Jamaican customs officials should enhance other USG efforts against narcotics trafficking through Kingston's commercial port.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Both the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) gave priority to counternarcotics missions in 2006. While they were hampered by internal corruption and a lack of sufficient resources, their efforts enabled cannabis seizures to increase by over 200 percent in 2006. The JDF Air Wing and Coast Guard (JDFCG) are involved in maritime interdiction efforts, and they, along with the JCF and Financial Investigations Division worked closely with the USG to investigate significant narcotics trafficking and money laundering organizations. The JCF also continued to implement its 2005-2008 Corporate Strategy for Reform, which includes a reorganization of police divisions. During 2006, the JCF's efforts to control crime and improve community policing, resulted in a reduction in crime by 16 percent overall. In 2006, the JCF arrested 5,409 persons on drug related charges including 269 foreigners.
In August 2006, two priority targets associated with major cocaine trafficking organizations were arrested in Jamaica and await extradition to the United States where they are charged with conspiracy to import illegal drugs. Jeffrey and Gareth Lewis (father and son) allegedly transported cocaine shipments from Colombia to the United States. Jamaican, Colombian, Panamanian, Mexican and U.S. law enforcement agencies cooperated in an operation that resulted in seizure of five tons of cocaine in international waters. The Lewis' cargo vessel was seized by Panama. In conjunction with the arrests in Jamaica, 11 vehicles were seized, along with the equivalent of $70,158 in cash.
Since its inception in October 2004, through December 2006, Operation Kingfish, a multinational task force (GOJ, U.S., United Kingdom and Canada) to coordinate investigations leading to the arrest of major criminals, launched 1,378 operations resulting in the seizure of 56 vehicles, 57 boats, one aircraft, 206 firearms, and two containers conveying drugs. Kingfish was also responsible for the seizure of over 13 metric tons of cocaine (mostly outside of Jamaica), and over 27,390 pounds of compressed marijuana. In 2006 Operation Kingfish mounted 870 operations, compared to 607 in 2005.
In 2006, through cargo scanning, the Jamaican Custom's Contraband Enforcement Team seized over three thousand pounds of marijuana, ten kg of cocaine and approximately $500,000 at Jamaican air and seaports. Nonetheless, the Service is understaffed and ill equipped to combat effectively the ever-complex methods of smuggling illicit drugs in commercial goods.
Corruption. No Senior GOJ official, nor the GOJ as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, USG funded polygraphing of JCF, Immigration, and Customs officers starkly illuminated the pervasive nature of corruption, which continues to undermine efforts against drug-related and other crimes, plays a major role in the safe passage of drugs and drug proceeds through Jamaica and remains a major barrier to improve counternarcotics efforts. High profile corruption scandals plagued the GOJ throughout 2006. The GOJ has a policy of investigating credible reports of public corruption; however, despite stern warnings that corruption at any level would not be tolerated, in 2006, the GOJ made little progress as there were no prosecutions of high-level officials for corruption, or of officials linked by reliable evidence to drug-related activity.
The JCF established a Professional Standards Branch and appears to be taking steps to deal with corruption within the Force's lower levels. The JDF investigates any reports of corruption, and takes disciplinary action when warranted in furtherance of its zero tolerance policy. In Parliament for consideration is the Corruption Prevention Act, which would grant Jamaica's Commission for the Prevention of Corruption greater powers, and make Jamaica's legislation consistent with its commitments under the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.
Agreements and Treaties. The extradition treaty between the USG and the GOJ has been actively used, with the vast majority of cases involving requests to Jamaica. Jamaica and the U.S. regularly use their mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT). The U.S. and Jamaica have a reciprocal asset sharing agreement, and a bilateral law enforcement agreement governing cooperation on stopping the flow of illegal drugs by maritime means. Jamaica is a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. In 2005, the GOJ agreed to participate in the Cooperating Nation Information Exchange System. The GOJ signed, but has not ratified, the Caribbean Regional Maritime Counterdrug Agreement. Jamaica is a party to the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
Cultivation/Production. Jamaica is the Caribbean's largest producer and exporter of marijuana, but exact cultivation levels are unknown due to a lack of crop surveys. Marijuana is grown mostly in smaller plots nested in hilly and rocky terrain inaccessible to vehicular traffic. Jamaica uses manual eradication without the use of herbicides. The GOJ does not have any alternative development or crop substitution programs.
Drug Flow/Transit. In 2006, Cocaine smugglers changed their methods of moving cocaine to Jamaica and through Jamaica to the United States. Smugglers now primarily use container cargo transshipments or sea drops that are then brought on shore for smuggling via checked luggage, couriers and in commercial shipments. It is believed that the volume of cocaine smuggled through Jamaica, which was trending downward in 2005, was on the rise in 2006. However, due to better concealment by traffickers, seizures of cocaine within Jamaica decreased from 153 kg (kg) in 2005 to 109 kg in 2006. With 113 unmonitored landing strips/fields, the potential to also use land drops remains high. In 2006, marijuana seizures increased from 19,777 kg in 2005 to 59,771 kg in 2006, and eradication of marijuana increased from 423 hectares to 524 hectares for the same period. Marijuana traffickers barter for cocaine and finance gunrunning activities.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. A 2006 survey indicates that the use of narcotics and alcohol by youths aged 11to19 remains elevated, with alcohol and marijuana being the substances of choice. There is also evidence that the use of Dutch-produced Ecstasy is on the rise among the "tourist" market. Jamaica has several demand reduction programs including the Ministry of Health's National Council on Drug Abuse that receive U.S. funding support. The UNODC works directly with the GOJ and NGOs on demand reduction; however, due to limited resources these programs make little impact.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2006, the U.S. concluded the four-year tenure of the Law Enforcement Advisor to the JCF's National Intelligence Bureau and the three-year tenure of the Law Enforcement Development Advisor to assist the JCF's strategic planning and reform efforts. Due to a combination of internal resistance to change, and a lack of power to ensure implementation of the programs' recommended changes, neither program fully achieved its goals. The Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team (JFAT) received specialized training, equipment, guidance and operational support from the U.S. Marshals permanently stationed in Kingston. The U.S. Marshals report that there are 210 open/pending cases regarding U.S. fugitives. In 2006, there were 15 arrests, 12 extraditions and 5 deportations.
Operation Riptide allows partner nations to conduct law enforcement operations within each other's maritime zones and is authorized under the Joint Jamaica-United States Maritime Cooperation Agreement. The GOJ participated in one deployment in Jamaican waters during 2006 along with one British vessel and two U.S. vessels. Although no drugs were seized, the deployment provided a useful training opportunity. The JDF continued to work with USG's Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) in 2006 to disrupt maritime trafficking.
Continued use of the USG funded International Organization for Migration (IOM) Border Control System, and follow on DHS training of Jamaican Immigration, and airline staff in 2006 resulted in the detection of over 30 fraudulent Jamaican passports, the interception of more than 100 fraudulent visas and enabled Jamaican authorities to identify a number of victims of human smuggling.
Multi-lateral Cooperation. In 2006, the USG funded renovations and provisioning of computer equipment for the Kingston-based multi-nation (GOJ, U.S., United Kingdom and Canada) Airport Interdiction Task Force. The Task Force, set to begin in early 2007, will combat narcotics and arms smuggling, as well as human trafficking and immigration fraud. The U.S. continues to support the Mini-Dublin Group, and reinvigorated cooperation with the local UK and Canadian embassies to prevent duplication of efforts and ensure the most effective use of our combined counternarcotics resources.
The Road Ahead. Official corruption ranging from petty shakedowns by street cops to higherlevel graft and other criminal activities remains a cancerous force in Jamaica. To prevent Jamaica from becoming a full-fledged kleptocracy, the GOJ must investigate, prosecute and convict corrupt officials at all levels of government service.
In 2007, the U.S. will enhance cooperation with our international partners to better assist the GOJ with tackling corruption. In addition, by partnering with the United Kingdom and Canada, the U.S. intends to rationalize its expenditures on operational equipment for the GOJ, thereby ensuring more uniform provisioning of JCF and JDF units. GOJ plans to push passage and implementation of key security and counternarcotics legislation, such as the Proceeds of Crime Act in early 2007. Once passed, the USG will be able to intensify the capacity building of the FID and JCF Financial Crimes Group. The U.S. urges the GOJ to interdict at least two major cocaine shipments, arrest at least one major target operating within an international drug trafficking organization, and take certain concrete steps to reform the Jamaica Constabulary Force in the coming year.
V. Statistical Tables
Seizures in Jamaica Unit 2006 2005 Cannabis kg 59,770.69 19,777.31 Cannabis kg 0 910.49 Cocaine kg 109.15 152.85 Crack Cocaine 2.62 kg 1.79 kg Ecstasy Tablets 500 13,070 Eradication in Jamaica Unit 2006 2005 Cannabis ha 524 422.96 Nurseries 180 392 Seedlings 9,902,279 7,277,000 Seeds kg 7,677 * 7,603.67 Huts 44 15 Seizures in Jamaica 2004 2003 Cannabis 20,952.14 36,603.60 Cannabis 37.70 1,897 Cocaine 1,736 1,586 Crack Cocaine 3,049 pieces 2,949 pieces Ecstasy 133,032 0 Eradication in Jamaica 2004 2003 Cannabis 411.64 444.639 Nurseries 403 279 Seedlings 5,004,930 3,711,975 Seeds 551.12 NIA Huts *** There was one seizure in 2006 of 7,500 kg of seeds, which is indicative of the suspected massive increase in cultivation on the island. Arrests 2006 2005 2004 2003 Total Arrests 6,793 6,215 3,319 Foreigners 269 203 294 Seizure and Tracking Reports--within Jamaica and overseas Unit 2006 2005 2004 Marijuana KG 33,961 422,842 18,455 Cocaine KG 24,550 40,602 26,598 Cash USD 2,877,233 1,041,375 N/A Go Fast Events 11 60 56
Suriname is a transit point for South American cocaine en route to Europe and, to a lesser extent, the United States. The Government of Suriname's (GOS) inability to control its borders, inadequate resources, limited training for law enforcement, lack of a law enforcement presence in the interior, and lack of aircraft or patrol boats allow traffickers to move drug shipments via sea, river, and air with little resistance. Nevertheless, in 2006, Suriname's law enforcement officials continued their anti-narcotics efforts by arresting and convicting high-profile narcotics traffickers. Over the past five years, the GOS has successfully eliminated eight out of ten major local narcotics organizations. Suriname is a party to the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention but has not implemented legislation to bring itself into full conformity with the Convention. However, in October 2006, the country hosted an international anti-narcotics conference, showing its commitment to combat drug trafficking.
II. Status of Country
Suriname is a transshipment point for cocaine destined primarily for Europe and, to a lesser extent, the United States. The GOS is unable to detect the diversion of precursor chemicals for drug production, as it has no legislation controlling precursor chemicals and hence no tracking system to monitor them. The lack of resources, limited law enforcement capabilities, inadequate legislation, drug related corruption, a complicated and time-consuming bureaucracy, and overburdened and under-resourced courts inhibit GOS's ability to identify, apprehend, and prosecute narcotic traffickers. In addition, Suriname's sparsely populated coastal region and isolated jungle interior, together with weak border controls and infrastructure, make narcotics detection and interdiction efforts difficult.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2006
Policy Initiatives. Suriname's National Drugs Master Plan (2006-2010) was approved in January 2006. The plan covers both supply and demand reduction and includes calls for new legislation to control precursor chemicals. The development of the plan through multi-sectoral consultation was a significant step in fostering national coordination to address Suriname's drug problem. To coordinate implementation of the Master Plan, the Executive Office of the National Anti-Drug Council was established.
Accomplishments. In 2006, the Ministry of Justice and Police and law enforcement institutions in Suriname were more active and effective in pro-actively targeting large trafficking rings and working with international partners. Through September 2006 the GOS seized 577 kilograms (kg) of cocaine and 42 kg of cannabis. 571 persons were arrested for drug-related offenses. While seizures and arrests have significantly decreased compared to 2005, law enforcement sources attribute this to the GOS' renewed focus on targeting major narcotics traffickers--within the past five years GOS law enforcement has rounded up eight of the ten known major criminal organizations operating in the country.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Through September, GOS law enforcement agencies arrested 112 people who were carrying cocaine in their stomachs. Many who evade detection in Suriname are arrested at the airport in Amsterdam, which since 2004 has implemented a 100 percent inspection of all passengers and baggage arriving on all inbound flights from Suriname. In February and March 2006, Surinamese law enforcement officials destroyed marijuana fields in the interior, consisting of four and two hectares, respectively. In 2006, the judiciary handed down several stiff sentences in high-profile drug cases, such as in March, when a judge convicted and sentenced two men to eight and four years' imprisonment, respectively, based on the April 2005 seizure of 118 kg of cocaine that had been hidden in a container of lumber and shipped to France.
In a major success in 2006, Surinamese authorities arrested Shaheed "Roger" Khan, a Guyanese national suspected of narcotics trafficking, on charges of false documentation. He was set to return to Guyana via Trinidad and Tobago, but was deported, instead, to the United States, where he is currently awaiting trial on narcotics-related charges.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, no senior GOS official, nor the GOS, encourages or facilitates the production, processing, or shipment of narcotic and psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, and does not discourage the investigation or prosecution of such acts. Moreover, the GOS has demonstrated some willingness to undertake law enforcement and legal measures to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish public corruption. Through October, nine police officers suspected of narcotics trafficking and membership in criminal organizations were investigated. Public corruption is considered a problem in Suriname and there are reports of drug use and drug sales in prisons. Reports of money laundering, drug trafficking, and associated criminal activity involving current and former government and military officials continue to circulate. According to Customs reports, the GOS loses roughly $45 million annually in uncollected Customs revenues due to corruption and false invoicing. Investigations show that false invoicing occurs daily, despite heavy fines.
Agreements and Treaties. Suriname is party to the 1961 United Nations Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 U.N. Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Suriname is also a party to the 1988 U.N. Drug Convention and has accordingly passed legislation that conforms to a majority of the convention's articles, but it has failed to pass legislation complying with precursor chemical control provisions. The GOS has not ratified the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters or the Optional Protocol thereto. Since 1976, the GOS has been sharing narcotics information with the Netherlands pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement. In August 1999, a comprehensive six-part, bilateral, maritime counter-narcotics enforcement agreement with the U.S. entered into force. The U.S.-Netherlands Extradition Treaty of 1904 is applicable to Suriname, but Suriname's Constitution prohibits the extradition of its nationals. In January 2006, Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement allowing for direct law enforcement and judicial cooperation between the countries, thereby no longer requiring the process to be first routed through The Hague. Parties met in October to discuss progress in implementing the agreement, which covers cooperation with regard to drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, and organized crime. Suriname has also signed bilateral agreements to combat drug trafficking with neighboring countries Brazil and Guyana, as well as with Venezuela. Suriname is an active member of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS/CICAD), to which it reports regularly. Suriname has signed agreements with the United States, Netherlands and France that allow for police attaches to work with local police. Suriname is not a party to the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.
Cultivation and Production. Suriname is not a producer of cocaine or opium poppy. While cannabis is cultivated in Suriname, there is little specific data on the amount under cultivation, or evidence that it is exported in significant quantities.
Drug Flow/Transit. Much of the cocaine entering Suriname is delivered by small aircraft, which land on clandestine airstrips that are cut into the dense jungle interior and sparsely populated coastal districts. The lack of resources, infrastructure, law enforcement personnel, and equipment makes detection and interdiction difficult. Drugs are transported along interior roads to and from the clandestine airstrips. Drugs are also shipped to seaports via numerous river routes to the sea or overland for onward shipment to Caribbean islands, Europe, and the United States. Sea-drops are also used. Drugs exit Suriname via commercial air flights (by drug couriers or concealed in planes) and by commercial sea cargo. European-produced MDMA is transported via commercial airline flights from the Netherlands to Suriname (three to six flights per week, varying seasonally).
Domestic Programs. Suriname has a National Drug Demand Reduction Office, which conducts drug awareness and drug prevention campaigns throughout the year and trained schoolteachers and police officers in early detection of drug use. The Suriname Epidemiological Network on Drug Use (SURENDU), which is a network of governmental and non-governmental organizations, was strengthened in the areas of drug-use prevention and treatment in 2006. With funding from the Organization of American States, the National Anti-Drugs Council (NAR) embarked on a project to survey drug use in Suriname, and will interview approximately 6,000 persons between the ages of 12 and 65. The Council will also do a study on drug use in prisons. In the area of supply reduction, a U.S.-funded computer database was established to keep track of drug criminals from their detention up to their sentencing.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
U.S. Policy Initiatives. The U.S. provides training and equipment to strengthen the GOS law enforcement and judicial institutions and their capabilities to detect, interdict, and prosecute narcotics trafficking activities. In October 2006, Suriname hosted an anti-narcotics conference attended by many regional and international players, including the United States. The "Paramaribo Declaration," which was endorsed in principle by the participants at the end of the conference, proposes a framework to establish an intelligence-sharing network, coordinate and execute sting operations, and tackle money laundering..
Bilateral Cooperation. A high level of cooperation exists between U.S. and GOS law enforcement officials. In 2006, once again the U.S. provided both training and material support to several elements of the national police to strengthen their counternarcotics capabilities and promote greater bilateral cooperation. In May 2006, the U.S. conducted an assessment to assist the Suriname Defense Force (SDF) determine the structure, training, equipment, and facilities needed to support the creation of a Maritime Security Service (Coast Guard). In July 2006, the DEA intensified its cooperation with Surinamese law enforcement by establishing an office in Suriname. The U.S. was a participant and presenter at the October 2006 anti-narcotics conference in Paramaribo.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to encourage the GOS to pursue large narcotics traffickers and to dismantle their organizations. The GOS Ministry of Justice and Police have highlighted this goal to the news media, and the Khan arrest bears out its seriousness and commitment. Port security improved in 2006, and we urge the GOS to continue its efforts to strengthen its focus on port security, specifically seaports, which are seen as the primary conduits for large shipments of narcotics exiting Suriname. The U.S. will continue to provide equipment, training, and technical support to the GOS to strengthen its counternarcotics efforts.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago is a transit country for illegal drugs from South America to the U.S. and Europe. While there has been an increase in illicit drug traffic out of Venezuela, the quantity of drugs transiting Trinidad and Tobago does not have a significant effect on the U.S. Cannabis is grown in Trinidad and Tobago, but not in significant amounts. Trinidad and Tobago's petrochemical industry imports and exports chemicals that can be used for drug production and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GOTT) has instituted export controls to prevent diversion. In 2006, the GOTT cooperated with the U.S. on counter-drug issues and allocated significant resources of its own to the fight against illegal drugs. The GOTT is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Trinidad and Tobago, situated seven miles off the coast of Venezuela, is a convenient transshipment point for illicit drugs, primarily cocaine and marijuana but also heroin. Increased law enforcement success in Colombia has led to greater amounts of illegal drugs transiting the Eastern Caribbean. While the drugs entering the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago do not have a significant effect on the U.S. market, their steady entry into the U.S. occupies the resources of American law enforcement.
Trinidad and Tobago has an advanced petrochemical sector, which requires the import and export of chemicals that can be diverted for the manufacturing of cocaine hydrochloride. Precursor chemicals originating from Trinidad and Tobago have previously been found in illegal drug labs in Colombia. The GOTT is working to track chemical shipments through the country, and export controls have been instituted to prevent future diversion to narcotics producers.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2006
Policy Initiatives. In 2006, the GOTT National Drug Council continued to implement counterdrug policy initiatives, including elements of the country's counter-drug master plan, which addresses both supply and demand reduction. The GOTT also enhanced the capabilities of the Special Anti-Crime Unit (SAUTT), which has responsibility for both anti-drug and anti-kidnapping operations. This unit was provided with training in crime scene management, first responder responsibilities, investigation techniques, forensic evidence gathering, surveillance, interview techniques and also given technical support. In addition, a multi-purpose building was constructed to house the Crime Academy, where police and SUTT officers are taught anticrime techniques.
In 2006, the two major parties set aside political differences to pass anti-crime and law enforcement bills. The bills focus on streamlining the police service and holding it more accountable as well as increasing the penalties for certain crimes, to include kidnapping. These laws significantly enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement in fighting narcotics and other criminal offenses. The GOTT continued to implement training recommendations made by an American criminal justice specialist to improve capacity to detect narcotics and appropriately manage crime scenes. The Government is also considering recommendations from the Department of Justice's International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, which suggested changes in the structure, recruiting and retention of SAUTT officers.
In 2006, the GOTT also upgraded its coastal radar assets, and acquired two armed helicopters, an aerial surveillance system outfitted with radar and imaging systems, a forward-looking infrared camera, and twenty-four mobile police radios.
Accomplishments. As a result of joint operation between GOTT authorities and foreign law enforcement counterparts, there were 43 arrests from January to September 2006 and 2,500 kilograms (kg) of cocaine were seized/intercepted in the Caribbean Sea, Barbados, United Kingdom and Spain, and 3,200 kg of marijuana in Canada and the Netherlands. As of September 30, 2006, the GOTT seized approximately 1,000 kg of cocaine, 162 kg of heroin, and over 1,500 kg of cannabis in various forms. The GOTT also eradicated over 192,550 cannabis plants, 47,400 seedlings, and 271,264 kg of cured marijuana. In a series of operations in April and June, the Organized Crime Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (OCNFB) seized approximately 45 kg of cocaine valued at $5 million. During one incident, a DHL employee was arrested while attempting to ship the drug to London. In another incident, three persons were arrested following a high-speed chase, which netted 23 kg of cocaine. GOTT authorities also arrested a total of 36 foreigners for drug trafficking and for attempting to export narcotics. In July 2006, Dutch national Andre Van Dijk was sentenced to 4 years' hard labor for possession of liquid cocaine valued at over $600,000. In addition nationals from Venezuela, Africa, Canada, Europe and some Americans were arrested for possession of cocaine and marijuana in 2006.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The Coast Guard (TTCG), Organized Crime and Narcotics Unit (OCNU), CDCTF, SAUTT and other specialized police/military units continued drug interdiction and eradication operations throughout 2006, sometimes in cooperation with the DEA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The country has purchased technical equipment to augment human resources. However, some agencies complain that they have been overlooked in budgetary allocations and do not have adequate funds for upkeep or necessary new equipment. The Government hired Scotland Yard officers to work alongside T&T law enforcement agents as "on-the-job mentors" and to provide further technical assistance. The GOTT also provided support for the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), which has its secretariat in Port of Spain, and began to implement several of its recommendations to combat money laundering.
The GOTT also consolidated the OCNU and the Firearms Interdiction unit (FIU) into the Organized Crime Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (OCNFB), resulting in increased seizures of various types of illicit drugs and disruption of the drug trade. Additionally, in 2006, the GOTT established an Incident Coordination Center, staffed by personnel from a number of specialized agencies, to facilitate information sharing and more effective response by law enforcement. The Counter Drug and Crime Task Force (CDCTF) continue to be active in developing and implementing counter drug operations in Trinidad and Tobago. It is also responsible for conducting financial investigations.
Corruption. Trinidad and Tobago is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and has signed the UN Convention against Corruption. During 2006, there were no charges of drug-related corruption filed against GOTT senior officials, and post has no information indicating that any senior government officials encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or the laundering of drug money. The country actively fights against the production or distribution of illicit narcotics and works against laundering the proceeds of such crimes. The 1987 Prevention of Corruption Act and the 2000 Integrity in Public Life Act contain the ethical rules and responsibilities of government personnel. The Integrity in Public Life Act requires public officials to declare and explain the source of their assets and an Integrity Commission initiates investigations into allegations of corruption. At GOTT request, the USG has polygraphed police and mid- and high-level officials selected for training or entering elite units, to ensure that reputable and reliable personnel are chosen.
Agreements and Treaties. Trinidad and Tobago is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties with the U.S. entered into force in November 1999. The GOTT continued to comply with U.S. requests under the extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties. The GOTT updated its domestic extradition legislation in April 2004 to make it consistent with the extradition treaty and to streamline the extradition process. A bilateral U.S.-GOTT maritime agreement is also in force. The GOTT signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants in 2001, but it has not yet ratified those instruments. Trinidad and Tobago is also a member of the Organization of American States' Inter-American Drug Abuse Commission (OAS/CICAD).
Cultivation and Production. Trinidad and Tobago is not a producer of cocaine or opium poppy. Small amounts of cannabis are cultivated year-round in the forest and jungle areas of northern, eastern, and southern Trinidad and, to a lesser extent, in Tobago. The total amount of cultivation cannot accurately be determined because plants are grown in small lots in remote areas.
Drug Flow/Transit. Illicit drugs arrive from the South American mainland, particularly Venezuela, on fishing boats, pleasure craft and commercial aircraft. Sizeable quantities of drugs also transit the country through commodities shipments from South America. Drugs are then smuggled out on yachts, in air cargo, and by couriers. Smuggling through the use of drug swallowers continued to rise in 2006. Cocaine has also been found on commercial airline flights from Tobago en route to North America and Europe. Drug seizures reported by U.S. law enforcement officials at JFK International Airport link directly to Trinidad and Tobago, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) believes there has been an increase in the amount of heroin transiting the country. Some shipments are bypassing Trinidad and Tobago in favor of other islands, due in large part to the counter-drug efforts of GOTT security forces.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The GOTT does not maintain statistics on domestic consumption or numbers of drug users. Demand reduction programs are managed by government agencies such as the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs; the National Drug Council in the Ministry of National Security; the Ministry of Education; and the Office of Social Services Delivery, often with assistance from NGOs. The GOTT also funds the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program, which coordinates the activities of NGOs to reduce demand. In addition, the GOTT promotes job skills training programs for high-risk youths, and supports police youth clubs with its community-policing branch. The GOTT also has a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program. The USG provided funding to enable the NGO Servol to expand its program of early childhood education, and continues to support demand reduction efforts in Trinidad and Tobago through the sponsorship of schools, police youth clubs, football leagues and public awareness campaigns.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. To assist the GOTT to eliminate the flow of illegal drugs through Trinidad and Tobago to the United States, joint U.S./GOTT efforts focus on strengthening the GOTT's ability to detect and interdict drug shipments, bring traffickers and other criminals to trial, attack money laundering, and counter drug-related corruption. The U.S. also seeks to strengthen the administration of justice by providing training and technical assistance to help streamline Trinidad and Tobago's judicial process, reduce court backlogs, and protect witnesses from intimidation and murder.
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2006, the USG provided drug, cadaver and explosive-detection canine/handler training to the Police Service and the Customs and Excise Division as well as assisting in the establishment of a Canine Academy on the island. In addition, the USG offered training courses in crime scene investigation, explosive detection and combating terrorism. Over the past year, the DEA and/or its local counterparts have been involved in investigations that led to the seizure of over 10 metric tons of cocaine that came into or through Trinidadian waters. The GOTT-funded U.S. Customs Advisory Team provided technical assistance to Customs and Excise in tracking and intercepting marine vessels, including cargo container ships. In 2006, an IRS Tax Assistance and Advisory Team assisted the GOTT in developing a Criminal Investigation and Tax Fraud Unit that tracks tax evasion and underreporting usually associated with money laundering.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to work closely with the GOTT's law enforcement agencies to strengthen their counter-drug/crime capabilities and will continue to provide training and operational support to the TTCG to enhance the GOTT's maritime interdiction capabilities. The GOTT needs to pass the outstanding DNA and Wire-Tapping bill, which would strengthen their criminal justice system, starting with the admission of hearsay evidence to lessen the likelihood of witness tampering and decrease witness intimidation. The GOTT needs to strengthen border protection by automating their system to include container scanning. The GOTT should provide additional training to prepare officers to deal with counterfeit merchandise and money. The U.S. will continue efforts to provide the GOTT law enforcement with stronger border patrols on the western side of the island in order to decrease the flow of drugs. The U.S. will also encourage the GOTT to participate in the SOUTHCOM initiative, Carib Ventur, which is a multinational mission on the southern Caribbean focused on stemming the flow of drugs in the region.
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|Publication:||International Narcotics Control Strategy Report|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2007|
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