Georgia is a significant transit country for illicit drug flows. Seizures made in 2015 at the airport and at overland points of entry illustrate that Georgia has emerged as a viable trafficking corridor for transnational criminal organizations to smuggle increasingly large shipments of cocaine, marijuana, heroin, amphetamine, and synthetic drugs to markets in Western Europe, Russia and Turkey. In 2014, Georgian authorities seized a record 2.8 tons of liquid heroin. Significant seizures of illicit drugs through the first ten months of 2015 included a 37 kilogram (kg) seizure of cocaine and a 60 kg seizure of amphetamine. In an effort to improve tracking of these routes, the Ministry of Internal Affairs created a special analytical unit in December 2014, which contributed to multiple seizures of cocaine at the Tbilisi Airport.
In 2015, the United States continued to strengthen counternarcotics institutional capacity through operational and training efforts for both law enforcement officers and prosecutors. Specific assistance included further training for the Counternarcotics Division of the Central Criminal Police, including in anti-money laundering techniques, analytical tradecraft and interdiction, as well as expanded cooperation with Georgia's Customs service. The United States completed a two-year project to develop an interagency counternarcotics canine unit at the Tbilisi International Airport in September 2015.
In terms of international cooperation, 2015 highlights included the introduction of two more Georgian police attaches, stationed in Germany and Spain, with plans to deploy attaches in the near future to Poland, Kazakhstan and Italy. Georgia continues to implement its National Drug Strategy and Action Plan and focused its 2015 program on juveniles with positive public messaging promoting a healthy lifestyle. Georgia established a National Drug Monitoring Center in November and signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction to promote information sharing between the two institutions.
Based on information from non-governmental organizations, the estimated number of injecting drug users is around 50,000, out of a population of 3.7 million. Georgia is also using U.S.-developed curriculum to support training and professionalization of its substance use treatment workforce. With U.S. support, the program is establishing a cadre of national trainers who will disseminate the training throughout the country.
The United States encourages Georgia to continue its strong law enforcement response to drug trafficking and its focus on investigating and prosecuting the leaders of transnational criminal organizations operating in the country. The United States will continue to provide training and technical support on narcotics control issues and encourage interagency and regional cooperation.
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|Title Annotation:||Country Reports|
|Publication:||International Narcotics Control Strategy Report|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2016|
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