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A. Introduction

Chile is not a major producer of organic or synthetic drugs. It is, however, a significant transit country for Andean cocaine shipments destined for elsewhere, particularly Europe. Chile is a source country for precursor chemicals used for cocaine production in Peru and Bolivia, as well as a source for Mexico-bound ephedrine, a critical ingredient used in the production of methamphetamine. According to the 2011 UN World Drug Report, Chile is the second largest consumer of marijuana and cocaine per capita in South America.

Due to its long and difficult-to-monitor borders with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, Chile faces a special challenge in combating drug trafficking. Furthermore, inspection restrictions established by the treaty ending the War of the Pacific require Chilean authorities to seek permission from the Government of Bolivia to inspect cargo originating in that country and transiting Chile. These inspection restrictions impede efforts to interdict shipments of illegal narcotics, allowing some cargo to pass through Chilean ports without inspection.

The Government of Chile considers counternarcotics one of its top priorities and has a national strategy for combating narcotics trafficking and demand reduction. The Ministry of Interior is responsible for Chile's institutional drug control efforts, overseeing the Carabineros (uniformed police), Policia de Investigaciones (investigative police, known as the PDI), and SENDA (Chile's national drug control commission, formerly CONACE).

Chile is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

Chile recognizes the threat posed by illicit narcotics and has 1,215 officers dedicated exclusively to anti-narcotics units nationwide. This includes personnel from all public agencies commissioned to investigate drug crimes or seize narcotics. In May, the Pinera government launched a three-year national strategy with the goal of reducing marijuana and cocaine use among students and vulnerable population groups. The plan includes a focus on prevention programs in schools and the community, treatment and rehabilitation, and ultimately reintegration into society.

On October 4, the Interior Minister launched Plan Frontera Norte ("Northern Border Plan"), a three-year plan with a budget of over $70 million to combat narcotics trafficking in Chile's northern border and coastal regions. The program, which incorporates land, air, and maritime elements, focuses on control and observation, mobility and reaction, and intelligence. It also calls for the use of new technologies such as high-resolution cameras, surveillance antennae, and specially-equipped vehicles. Plan Frontera Norte furthers the efforts of Plan Secure Chile, Chile's public security initiative launched in 2010, which itself includes a drug control strategy developed in consultation with international law enforcement organizations.

Chile is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Chile is also a party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking

in persons and migrant smuggling, as well as the UN Convention Against Corruption. The U.S.--Chile Extradition Treaty of 1900 is still in force. However, a new treaty was signed in January 2010 and awaits ratification by both countries. Chile has also signed, but not yet ratified, the Inter-American Convention on Extradition.

2. Supply Reduction

Through June 2011, Chilean government officials seized approximately 1,467 kilograms (kg) of cocaine; 3,776 kg of cocaine paste; 6,127 kg of processed marijuana; and 211 marijuana plants. Statistics were not available for heroin, ecstasy, or LSD. According to host-nation counterparts, there was a 12% increase in seizures of cocaine and a 48% increase in seizures of marijuana from January--June 2011 as compared with this same period in 2010.

According to Chilean counterparts, the most significant trend is the increase in Bolivian cocaine production and the influx of Bolivian drug trafficking organizations operating within Chile. There has been an increase in containerized shipments of cocaine transiting Chile from Bolivia. Many of these shipments employ extremely sophisticated concealment methods, such as disguising narcotics in ceramic tiles, machine equipment and even scrap metal. However, wood products such as flooring and furniture, were the concealment methods most commonly used.

Between January and July 2011, there were 12 documented cocaine seizures totaling approximately 1.9 metric tons, seized either in Chile proper or while transiting Chilean territory en route to an international destination. With the exception of two seizures, all of the containerized cargo involved originated in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and transited Arica, Chile. Eight of these 12 seizures involved cocaine embedded in wood products in a sophisticated fashion. An additional trend is concealing cocaine within a very small percentage of a large volume of cargo, making detection by law enforcement authorities extremely difficult.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness Demand Reduction and Treatment

Chile is the second largest consumer of marijuana and cocaine per capita in South America, according to the 2011 United Nations Report on Drugs and Crime. SENDA's latest report on drug consumption, published in July, covers the period of 2008 to 2010. The report shows that marijuana consumption in the total population was down from 6.4% to 4.6%, with a drop of nearly 4% among the teenage population. Cocaine consumption was also down, from 1.8% to 0.7%.

In May the government launched a three-year national strategy aimed at reducing marijuana and cocaine use among students and vulnerable population groups. This strategy builds upon the many prevention and treatment programs already in operation. SENDA has offices across the country and offers a wide variety of drug prevention and treatment programs for the general population, including programs targeting adolescents, women and their children, and prisoners. It also has an extensive website with online resources to support its mission. Together with the Ministry of Education, SENDA offers four anti-drug programs in schools, each targeting a specific age range.

Chile offers free drug abuse treatment for citizens who are part of the public health insurance system (FONASA). There are nearly 200 drug treatment facilities in Chile which have agreements with SENDA. Additionally, special treatment programs exist for mothers and juveniles convicted of other legal infractions, and prisoners.

4. Corruption

The Government of Chile does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal transactions. Narcotics-related corruption among police officers and other government officials is not considered a major problem in Chile, and no current Chilean senior officials have been accused of such activities. Swift action is taken in cases where police are discovered to be involved in drug trafficking. Chile is traditionally considered one of the least corrupt countries in the Western Hemisphere and ranked as the least corrupt country in South America in the 2010 Corruption Perception Index Survey released by Transparency International.

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

The United States works closely with Chile to strengthen Chilean institutions' capacity to confront drug trafficking, and the Pinera administration has been very active in fostering bilateral cooperation with the United States. Two Letters of Agreement (LOA) were signed in September between the United States and Chile addressing various bilateral and trilateral law enforcement initiatives. Specific U.S. goals include: enhanced interagency cooperation among Chilean law enforcement agencies, an increase in Chile's ability to conduct international drug investigations, and an increased allocation of resources to anti-narcotics efforts in northern Chile. The majority of U.S. assistance supports law enforcement training, specifically in the areas of container inspection and advanced drug interdiction techniques. Additionally, the United States provides funding for Chilean officials to travel to the United States to observe first-hand methods used by U.S. law enforcement entities to conduct counternarcotics operations. In October 2011, for example, U.S. funding supported a trip to El Paso, Texas for Chilean officials to observe best practices for patrolling and securing expansive borders. In November 2011, with U.S. assistance, Chile hosted an international seminar concentrating on maritime investigations and the value of multidisciplinary task forces in combating maritime threats. In FY11, the U.S. Coast Guard conducted one training related to maritime security and one resident course in law enforcement, professional development, port security and command and control.

D. Conclusion

While not a source country, Chile's vast coastline, shared borders with Bolivia and Peru, and free transit agreement with Bolivia continue to make it vulnerable to narcotics traffickers. The Pinera administration has worked to address all phases of the drug control effort, including Chile's domestic consumption problems. In May the government launched a national drug strategy aimed at reducing marijuana and cocaine use among students and vulnerable population groups and in October, the Interior Ministry launched Plan Frontera Norte to combat drug trafficking in Chile's northern border areas.

Chile should continue its work to increase the capacity of its anti-narcotics units, especially with respect to their efforts to interdict containerized cargo shipments transiting Chile's port cities. Also, Chile must work to commit sustained resources, financial as well as human, to support interdiction efforts. Additionally, more advanced equipment like x-ray scanners, canine units, and more sophisticated radar should be employed to combat drug trafficking organizations infiltrating Chile's northern borders with Bolivia and Peru. The United States stands ready to continue its partnership with Chile as it continues to undertake efforts to combat narcotics trafficking.
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Title Annotation:Country Reports
Publication:International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:3CHIL
Date:Mar 1, 2012
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