Index of "International Narcotics Control Strategy Reports"
Index of "Treaties and Legal Information" ||
Electronic Research Collections Index ||
US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
BUREAU OF INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS MATTERS
INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL STRAGEGY REPORT
SOUTH AMERICA 85
Argentina is primarily a transit route for Andean narcotics sent to the US and Europe. As elsewhere in the region, domestic consumption of narcotics has risen with increased trafficking. Government and public awareness has increased of the threat posed by narcotics trafficking, money laundering and other attendant ills.
The Argentine Government has taken important steps to combat the problem on its own and in cooperation with neighboring countries and the US. The Secretariat for Programming for Drug Prevention and the Fight Against Narcotics Trafficking, under the direction of Dr. Alberto Lestelle, coordinated all aspects of Argentina's narcotics control efforts, and is pursuing legislative reforms to strengthen cases against traffickers and money launderers. Limited Argentine resources and the lack of adequate laws are obstacles to a more effective counternarcotics strategy. Argentina ratified the 1988 UN Convention in 1993.
II. Status of the Country
Argentine drug production and trafficking is still modest compared with its Andean neighbors, but consumption increased in 1993, according to the police. Argentine authorities seized about 1.1 metric tons of cocaine and 1.8 metric tons of marijuana during the year but the number of small seizures nationwide increased sharply, indicating an increase in domestic consumption. Authorities believe that more than 70,000 Argentines are now addicted to illicit drugs and many others abuse legal pharmaceutical products.
With its highly developed petrochemical industry, Argentina is one of the largest South American producers of precursor and essential chemicals. The government is attempting to enforce a law which requires the registration of all importers, exporters and producers of these chemicals. Joint Argentine-DEA investigations have identified manufacturers and distributors diverting chemicals to Bolivia for coca processing.
Money laundering occurs in Argentina, although inadequate laws, regulations, and record keeping, and the large quantity of cash in circulation in the economy, limit the compilation of accurate information on its extent. Several joint investigations have targeted major money laundering organizations operating in Europe, South America and the US with direct ties to businesses and banks in Argentina.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. Recognizing that the lack of effective enforcement tools is seriously hampering drug investigations, Drug Control Director Lestelle introduced legislation permitting the use of informants and undercover agents, controlled deliveries, and plea bargaining. Other versions of the bill also are pending in the congress. The GOA is interested in strengthening its financial control laws, but it has not yet presented a comprehensive proposal, and it is likely to face strong opposition from the banking and business community.
The Joint Information Coordination Center (JICC) is expected to be fully operational by early 1994. Training and technical assistance for the JICC was provided by members of the Costa Rican JICC. Intended to improve information sharing and record keeping among the antidrug authorities, the JICC may eventually share information with Argentina's neighbors. To promote regional cooperation on narcotics trafficking, Argentina continued its trilateral meetings with the authorities of Bolivia and Paraguay. It also worked through the Southern Cone permanent conference, comprised of Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile.
Enforcement Efforts. Law enforcement agencies have improved their performance over the past year as a result of a greater appreciation of the trafficking problem, increased high-level interest, and USG-sponsored training to improve the capabilities of and cooperation among various law enforcement agencies. However, cocaine seizures and arrests have not risen because police are focusing on cases against the leaders of the large trafficking organizations. Because Argentine law does not provide for the use of informants, cooperating witnesses run the risk of being identified and prosecuted for illicit association. As a result, few witnesses volunteer information.
Corruption. The extent of drug-related corruption is difficult to gauge or distinguish from other forms of corruption, but it is assumed that traffickers' assets enable them to corrupt law enforcement officials. Several police officers in Rosario were arrested and are awaiting trial on drug-related charges. Prosecution of the 1991 "Yomagate" money laundering case continues, although in 1993, a key witness changed his testimony. Moreover, prosecutors and judges originally involved have moved on, weakening the case. As a matter of policy, the GOA is strongly opposed to narcotics trafficking and supports drug prevention and control programs. No senior officials have been convicted of involvement in drug production or distribution or in money laundering.
Agreements and Treaties. Argentina became party to the 1988 UN Convention in 1993, and the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) signed with the US in 1990 entered into force. The first action taken under the MLAT was to share with cooperating Argentine authorities approximately $160,000 in assets seized in the US from a Bolivian trafficker arrested in Argentina. Argentina makes effective use of its asset seizure laws. As its actions on law enforcement and demand reduction demonstrate, the GOA is working toward the goals and objectives of the UN Convention, but still lacks adequate laws to prosecute drug offenses. In 1993, the GOA denied a USG request on nationality grounds for the extradition of an Argentine sought in the US on narcotics charges. It is possible, however, that the GOA may pursue domestic prosecution of the case. Several other narcotics-related extradition requests are pending. Cooperation is limited between the US and Argentina on controlling precursor chemicals. The GOA does meet the terms of our annual bilateral Letter of Agreement on narcotics control through its efforts to improve its laws and enforcement techniques, and its demand reduction programs.
Cultivation/Production. Chewing coca leaves is accepted and legal in northwest Argentina, but it is illegal to import coca. There is no known major cultivation of coca or opium poppy. There is some cocaine production in small laboratories.
Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine enters Argentina through its lengthy borders with Bolivia and Paraguay. In accordance with an international free trade agreement, containers loaded in Paraguay can pass through Argentina without inspection, providing ample opportunities for smuggling. Drugs have been found concealed in luggage, clothing, furniture, building materials, and processed foods. They depart Argentina via merchant ships or scheduled airlines. Argentina's growing economy has increased the domestic demand for drugs as well.
Domestic Programs. Demand reduction is a major element of the GOA's narcotics control strategy. The GOA established drug prevention programs in Argentine schools and each year sponsors a drug awareness campaign at summer resort areas. USIS media presentations, expert visitors, and study trips to the US have played an important role in increasing public awareness about the drug problem. The OAS, the UNDCP, and the Inter-American Development Bank, have provided funds to government and private organizations for prevention and rehabilitation. Argentina has many private organizations that work on drug abuse, but resources are scarce and more needs to be done at the provincial level.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG seeks to increase awareness of the threat posed by drug trafficking and consumption, and money laundering, and to enhance the capability of the government to deal with these problems.
Bilateral Cooperation. The USG provided $766,000 in direct assistance in FY 1993 to support enforcement. In October, three Argentine drug-detector dog handlers were trained and equipped at the US Customs Training Center in Front Royal, Virginia. By the end of December, one of the detector dog teams had made two cocaine seizures totaling 13 kgs at the Aeroparque Internacional airport in Buenos Aires. An additional six handlers are scheduled for training in 1994. The DEA conducts joint investigations with Argentine authorities. Cooperation is excellent between the USG, the Anti-narcotics Secretariat, the police, and the internal security organizations.
Road Ahead. The USG hopes to encourage greater interagency cooperation in Argentina, using USG multiagency training programs, and to increase GOA willingness to direct more resources to narcotics control. We also look toward greater military support for narcotics operations, as required, within Argentine political guidelines. The USG will press Argentina to remove legal obstacles to the effective prosecution of traffickers, while preserving protection of individual rights, and to deal vigorously with precursor chemicals trafficking and money laundering in what is currently a largely unregulated economy.
Bolivia is a major drug producing country, responsible for nearly one-third of the world's raw coca leaf production. The election of a new president in mid-1993 marked the twelfth year of a democratically-elected government in Bolivia. In 1993, the Government of Bolivia (GOB) continued to make progress in interdiction, conducting some 45 percent of operations without USG direct participation. Bolivia fell far short of meeting coca eradication goals set in bilateral agreements with the US. Government transition and other factors contributed to a particularly low rate of coca eradication. The outgoing administration's eradication performance declined considerably during the election campaign, due to opposition from coca farmers, while the new administration's efforts lagged because of its preoccupation with government reorganization. Bolivia also failed to comply with its international legal obligations in the area of extradition. In the final analysis, success in some law enforcement activities did not adequately compensate for failure to attack the root cause of Bolivia's contribution to the drug problem, the cultivation of coca for the illicit market.
II. Status of Country
Bolivia is the world's second-largest producer of coca leaf after Peru, and the second-largest producer of cocaine HCl after Colombia. Bolivia is not a major producer of chemicals used in processing cocaine. These are smuggled in from neighboring countries, or diverted from legitimate use to traffickers.
The Chapare Valley is Bolivia's largest growing region for coca leaf destined for the illegal drug trade. In 1993, large trafficking networks based in Bolivia but controlled by Colombians moved in to replace the numerous Bolivian-run coca leaf collection organizations which had been disrupted by enforcement operations the previous year. These networks are becoming increasingly linear, converting Chapare coca leaf into cocaine base and then transporting the base to the Beni Department or to Colombia for further processing. There is a growing trend toward shipments of cocaine base to clandestine labs located in western Brazil.
Coca surveys conducted in 1993 showed increases in cultivation in all three growing areas, the Chapare, Yungas, and Apolo regions. Increased cultivation combined with reduced eradication resulted in a four percent net rise in coca leaf production as compared to the previous year, reversing a three-year downward trend in net cultivation.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. The strategic goal of the counterdrug program is to reduce and ultimately eliminate Bolivian production of illicit coca and cocaine products. The principal objective of the program is to enforce all provisions of the Bolivian drug laws by disrupting trafficker networks, seizing assets, and arresting and prosecuting major traffickers.
The Bolivian counterdrug effort is based on the 1988 Bolivian Coca and Controlled Substances Law (Law 1008) and the 1987 USG-GOB bilateral narcotics agreement. The bilateral agreement is updated annually, last in August 1993 by an exchange of diplomatic notes transmitting amendments to the 1992 agreement. Under the terms of the bilateral agreement, the GOB agreed to provide personnel and materials for counterdrug activities to the extent possible, in return for USG technical and financial support to implement the enforcement and sustainable economic development programs. In the cash transfer agreement for counternarcotics Economic Support Funds, the GOB agreed to eradicate 5,000 hectares of coca and 20,000 square meters of coca seedbeds between January 1, 1993 and March 31, 1994.
To achieve the goals of the bilateral agreement, the GOB is conducting a law enforcement campaign to intercept, seize, and destroy significant quantities of coca products, chemicals, and other property used in drug production and trafficking; to regulate the supply, sale and transportation of chemicals used in processing cocaine; to destroy drug and chemical storage and production sites; and to investigate, arrest, and prosecute major traffickers.
Under the provisions of Law 1008, Bolivia is obligated to implement a program of compulsory coca eradication. When approved in 1988, Law 1008 established coca eradication goals of 5,000 to 8,000 hectares per year, leading ultimately to the eradication of all coca grown outside the traditional coca growing areas, where some coca cultivation is legal. In 1993, the GOB destroyed 2,400 hectares of the estimated 47,200 total coca hectarage in Bolivia.
Accomplishments. In joint operations with DEA, Bolivian forces dismantled four major cocaine trafficking organizations in 1993. Action against members of the largest organization, the "Mariposa" network, resulted in the arrest of Edwin Limalobo-Dorado, his brother, and thirty-six other traffickers. The operation also resulted in the destruction of two laboratories and the seizure of more than 2,000 kgs of cocaine base. Similar operations dismantled the "Christian" and the Ferrufino-Fernandez organizations. In July, Bolivian officers from the Joint Narcotics Intelligence Fusion Center, assisted by DEA, seized a cocaine laboratory capable of producing thousands of kilograms of finished product each month. In all, Bolivian forces seized 5.99 metric tons of cocaine HCl and base (solid and liquid), and over 201 metric tons of coca leaf; it detained 665 persons on drug charges.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The GOB has not systematically enforced all aspects of Law 1008, particularly those sections which address coca control. Although the GOB undertook some important enforcement measures, for the most part it refrained from employing vigorous measures of forced, uncompensated coca eradication.
Corruption. Trafficker corruption of the courts and police impedes effective law enforcement and good governance in Bolivia. When inaugurated, President Sanchez de Lozada made combatting corruption one of the major goals of his administration. The current government does not condone, encourage, or facilitate the participation of its officials in any activity related to drug trafficking or money laundering. When confronted with clear evidence of drug-related corruption, especially involving senior government officials, the GOB has taken forceful steps to address the situation. The arrests of two drug traffickers known to be associated with high ranking officials of the former government sparked renewed interest in the extent of those relationships. Criminal cases are being pursued against three Court of Controlled Substance judges who were removed from office after they were accused in early 1993 of accepting bribes and failing to properly carry out Bolivian Law in giving a trafficker illegal temporary free passage from jail. In November, the GOB arrested the former National Director of Intelligence of the Ministry of Interior for providing government documents to an incarcerated drug trafficker. The Supreme Court President and a Supreme Court Justice are facing impeachment proceedings on non-drug related corruption charges.
Agreements and Treaties. Bolivia is a party to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1972 Protocol thereto, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Convention. Recognizing the need to modernize extradition relations, in 1990 the US and Bolivia, under President Paz Zamora, negotiated a new extradition treaty. Despite repeated commitments by the former Bolivian administration, the treaty was never signed. Therefore, the US must rely on the existing 1900 US-Bolivia extradition treaty, as amended by the 1988 UN Convention, as well as the 1961 Convention and its 1972 Protocol, to make drug-related extradition requests to the GOB.
Since the July 1992 extradition of Asunta Roca Suarez, however, the Bolivian Supreme Court has refused to recognize this vehicle as a legal basis for drug-related extraditions. In late 1992, the Court refused to extradite an alleged drug trafficker at least in part on the grounds that the alleged offense took place prior to the 1988 UN Convention entering into force in Bolivia, regardless of the fact that the earlier convention would have provided a basis for extradition. In 1993, the Court failed to consider four drug-related provisional arrest requests from the US, allowing the fugitives to be released upon resolution of local charges. Two other fugitives who were detained based upon US provisional arrest requests were released in 1993, apparently as a result of corruption in the lower ranks of the judiciary. As a result, at the end of 1993, no drug-related fugitives remained in custody for purposes of extradition to the US.
Cultivation and Production. Bolivia accounts for nearly one-third of the world's coca leaf production. The Chapare and Yungas are the country's principal coca growing regions. Bolivian law allows for the legal cultivation of coca for traditional domestic uses in tea and for chewing, within the regulations regarding production, transport, and sale. The law limits the amount of legal coca to that sufficient to meet the demand for these traditional uses, but in no case to exceed 12,000 ha. At the same time, the law provides for the eradication of all coca in excess of those needs. Under Law 1008, the use of herbicides to eradicate coca is illegal; thus, coca plants must be destroyed manually.
The USG estimates that there were 49,600 hectares of coca under cultivation in Bolivia in 1993, which, after 2,400 hectares were eradicated, could have produced a maximum of 84,400 metric tons of coca leaf. This total leaf production includes illicit coca and those plantings in the Yungas region defined under Bolivian law as legal. The estimate of production averages the yields of plants of varying maturity, location, planting density, and other variables which affect the quantity of leaf harvested. More than half of the total cultivation (26,100 hectares) consists of illicit mature plants growing in the Chapare region.
A joint USG/GOB study revealed that in the cocaine processing method currently used in the Chapare region of Bolivia, more coca leaf is needed to produce cocaine than previously estimated. The previous estimate of 195-330 kgs of leaf per one kg of cocaine base or HCL has been raised to 390 kgs of leaf, based on the year-long study. With coca leaves from the Yungas region, the reported ratio is 330:1. This refinement in the conversion estimate indicates that 30 percent less cocaine is being produced from Chapare coca leaf than previously estimated.
Demand Reduction Programs. Drug abuse is growing within Bolivia, and what was once viewed as an external issue is now recognized as a serious domestic problem. There are three major drug awareness and demand reduction organizations in Bolivia, two in the private sector and one within the government. The two private sector agencies are SEAMOS (the Educational System Against Drug Addiction and for Social Mobilization) and CESE (the Narcotics Education Center). SEAMOS produces radio and television spots in Spanish and in the Indian languages of Quechua, Aymara, and Guarani to develop a national consciousness to the dangers of drug use and trafficking. CESE conducts programs against drug abuse in the Bolivian school system and communities, operates a drug hot-line, and provides advice to drug abusers. The public sector agency, the Directorate for Total Prevention of Drug Dependency and for Mental Health (PREID), is responsible for conducting surveys of the nature and extent of the drug problem, educating the public on the dangers of illicit drugs, and providing treatment and rehabilitation for drug abusers.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs.
Policy initiatives. The US goal in Bolivia is to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the production of illegal coca and cocaine products in Bolivia for export or for domestic abuse. The long-term objective is to assist Bolivia in developing the physical infrastructure and technical capability necessary to conduct independent, effective drug law enforcement activities. This is carried out by helping Bolivia to strengthen its democratic institutions, urging the enforcement of Bolivian drug laws to eliminate the illegal drug industry, and encouraging economic stability and growth. A fundamental element of economic growth is transforming the Bolivian economy from its dependence on illegal coca production.
Bilateral cooperation. In some areas, notably police action against drug traffickers, the GOB is taking adequate steps to comply with bilateral counternarcotics agreements with the US. The GOB, however, has not taken sufficient steps to extradite drug traffickers to the US nor to fulfill bilateral aid agreements to eradicate coca.
Road Ahead. President Sanchez de Lozada has committed his administration to removing all illegal coca from Bolivia by the end of his four-year term of office. He is seeking international financial support to expand economic opportunities to transition coca farmers to legitimate industries. The USG will actively support the president's development efforts, while continuing to press for implementation of the full range of counternarcotics laws and policies.
[Chart: Statistical Tables]
President Franco declared that 1993 would be the "year to fight narcotics," but the government dedicated few new resources to combatting a rising trafficking and consumption problem. With substantial USG help, the Federal Police had a highly successful year in interdicting cocaine shipments. They seized 7.7 metric tons, up from just 2.8 metric tons in 1992, and contributed information which enabled Spanish authorities to seize another two mt. This success is an indication of both the increased police ability to carry out investigations and the rise in the quantity of cocaine transiting Brazil. The GOB extradited three Americans charged with narcotics offenses and approved construction of a radar system that would monitor air traffic in the Amazon. The GOB created a new antidrug secretariat within the Ministry of Justice, an important step toward developing a comprehensive national strategy. However, the scope of its authority is still unclear.
The GOB has not yet acted to increase the operating budget of the Federal Police drug unit (DPF/DRE). The agency remains severely undermanned and underfunded, although the government in November held the first entrance exam for police agents in eight years. The congress has not yet passed legislation, introduced in 1991, that would update narcotics laws and facilitate police investigations and prosecutions. Brazil is a party to the 1988 UN Convention.
II. Status of Country
Brazil is an increasingly significant route for cocaine destined for Europe and the US. The authorities exercise little control over its borders with Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru, nor do they adequately secure the major river and sea ports and international airports. The government has limited authority over domestically-produced precursor chemicals, but none over imported chemicals. However, the police occasionally investigate individuals who purchase large quantities. Pending legislation would give the police the means to conduct criminal investigations of transactions of specific precursor chemicals.
Several international investigations point to a significant increase in money laundering in Brazil. However, information on narcotics-related money laundering continues to be limited and bank secrecy laws hamper investigation of the extent of the problem.
Coca cultivation is insignificant and the product is of poor quality. Marijuana remains a major internal problem, but no exports to other countries have been reported.
III. Country Action Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. The GOB established the Antidrug Secretariat within the Ministry of Justice. It appears that this body will have policy making authority only on demand reduction activities. Pending narcotics legislation remained stalled while the congress's attention was devoted to its highly publicized internal investigation into the conduct of some of its members. The GOB did not appear to make any effort to lobby the congress for passage of the legislation. The GOB did demonstrate its opposition to the decriminalization of drug use by replacing the president of CONFEN for her stand in favor of such a policy. It also approved construction of a radar system that would enhance counternarcotics efforts in the Amazon region.
Accomplishments. The GOB's most significant new progress toward meeting the goals and objectives of the UN Convention was in the area of law enforcement. The Federal Police carried out a number of successful operations to curtail drug cultivation, production and transport, notably the seizure of 7.7 metric tons of cocaine, cooperation with Spanish authorities which led to the confiscation of another 2.1 metric tons, the destruction of several production facilities, and the eradication of 20 metric tons of coca leaf.
The government makes ample use of its asset seizure laws. CONFEN is the agency charged with distributing the proceeds of seized assets, which are used mostly for demand reduction purposes; it is working with the UNDCP to strengthen its ability to manage this fund. Alternatively, Brazilian judges have authority to award seized assets to other government entities, such as the Federal Police. The support ship used in the Federal Police riverine program was a seized asset. The GOB extradited 30 persons at the request of several countries, including three Americans wanted on narcotics charges. However, the GOB did not address its inadequate financial and chemical control laws which facilitate money laundering and the trade in precursor chemicals.
The GOB has complied with the terms of its 1993 assistance agreement with the USG and the overall 1986 Mutual Cooperation Agreement. It has cooperated in our efforts to increase the capabilities of the DPF/DRE and has worked closely with the USG on investigations against major narcotics trafficking organizations.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Brazil had notable results from its efforts to improve its law enforcement techniques. In addition to the seizures noted above, the DPF/DRE destroyed a cocaine laboratory in Sao Paulo, and eliminated two synthetic drug labs in the state of Santa Catarina producing MDMA destined for the US market. Local police in Rondonia destroyed a cocaine lab. The DPF/DRE eradicated 20 metric tons of coca leaf at four sites in the Amazon region.
Corruption. As a matter of policy and practice, the GOB does not condone illicit production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of drug money. We know of no senior GOB officials engaged in or encouraging such activity. The congress is
investigating allegations that several members of congress stole public funds. The findings are likely to result in stricter anti-corruption measures that might benefit narcotics control efforts. Two DPF/DRE agents in Manaus were imprisoned for selling seized cocaine; to ensure no further complicity in this unit, an entirely new staff was assigned. Corruption is not a major threat in the DPF, although it is a serious problem in the state and local police.
Agreements and Treaties. Brazil ratified the 1988 UN Convention in 1991. While comprehensive narcotics legislation to implement effectively the goals and objectives of the Convention remains in congressional committee, the GOB has made efforts to comply with the intent of the convention. It continues to cooperate internationally on narcotics investigations, cocaine interdiction, chemical controls, and extradition. In August, the GOB signed a memorandum of understanding with the USG, outlining the use of USG assistance to the DPF/DRE. Brazil undertook several initiatives with law enforcement entities from Bolivia and Colombia, reinforcing narcotics control cooperation agreements with those countries.
Drug Flow/Transit. Shipments of cocaine transiting Brazil have increased. Several shipments of 100 kgs or more were seized in route to the US or Europe. International drug cartels have established operations in Brazil.
Demand Reduction Efforts. Local governmental and private organizations are the backbone of Brazil's demand reduction efforts. CONFEN leadership changed early in 1993, but its effectiveness is hampered by a lack of policy focus. Through the GOB's 1991 bilateral agreement with the USG, CONFEN continues to approve small assistance grants to support local and regional prevention efforts. It is also cooperating with UNDCP in studying the feasibility of establishing a technical secretariat in CONFEN to better manage and distribute the funds from the forfeiture assets program.
USG-assisted prevention efforts include INM-funded training in the rehabilitation of addicts in Rio through the Daytop Therapeutic Communities model. A third year of training, which includes two one-week seminars, has been approved for 1994. Through a program development grant, the USG funded D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) training of Rio de Janeiro Military Police (uniformed state police who serve under the governor) conducted in July by a team of police officers from Los Angeles and San Diego. In November, a Rio police team trained 28 Sao Paulo military police to work with children in the Sao Paulo schools. The Rio police themselves worked in 100 schools during 1993 and brought the D.A.R.E. program to 12,859 children in the third and fourth grades of the State of Rio de Janeiro.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. USG counternarcotics assistance is designed to support operations against major narcotics traffickers and promote the seizure of cocaine shipments transiting Brazil. The USG provides training, equipment, and operational support to the DPF/DRE and signed an agreement in August for $1.3 million in enforcement assistance. The GOB did meet two major goals in our agreements; establishing a riverine base in Manaus, and providing training to support operations in Belem and Guajara-Mirim. The quantity of cocaine seized by the authorities exceeded the USG projections for the year. US Customs will provide an advisory team in Rio and Sao Paulo to train drug control and career personnel to conduct on-site drug control surveys in port facilities.
The USG also provides financial and technical support to demand reduction projects. The USG provides small grants to local and regional demand reduction projects through CONFEN. USAID has a small program ($250,000) which supports drug awareness activities in the states of Ceara and Sao Paulo, with strong support from local officials. USAID also has trained over a dozen professionals from Sao Paulo who meet periodically to plan coordinated drug awareness activities.
The USG initiated the formation of an international consultative group in Brasilia to coordinate donor assistance and to present the views of the Dublin Group nations to the GOB. Since its inception in May, the group has met on three occasions and has opened dialogue with the government.
Road Ahead. We will encourage the GOB to become more fully engaged in and to contribute more resources to narcotics control efforts. We will also urge the GOB to undertake an active lobbying campaign to push expeditious and positive action on legislation to implement the substantive provisions of the 1988 Convention. The USG will focus its enforcement assistance on operations against major cocaine trafficking organizations and on institution-building projects. Our demand reduction aid will help establish the DARE program nationally; USAID will support state and community efforts, similar to those conducted in Sao Paulo and Ceara.
[Chart: Statistical Tables]
Chile is a transit route for South American cocaine destined for the US, Europe, and Asia. Chilean authorities report a noticeable increase of cocaine in the domestic market and suspect that transit traffic is rising. Chile also serves as a money laundering center and as a major supplier of precursor chemicals for cocaine processing operations in Bolivia and, to a lesser extent, Peru. To enable the authorities to better combat the expanding drug trade, the Government of Chile (GOC) presented the congress with new antidrug legislation in 1992. The bill passed in the Chamber of Deputies in early 1993, but is still pending in the Senate. Law enforcement authorities seized record amounts of cocaine products and marijuana in 1993 and cooperated with the USG on several investigations. In recognition of the growing threat posed by drug trafficking, the government issued a national drug control strategy in May. Chile is a party to the 1988 UN Convention.
II. Status of Country
South American traffickers use Chile's maritime industry to move cocaine to world markets. Cocaine enters across the long, porous borders with Peru and Bolivia, and leaves through ports on the northern and central coast. Chile exports large quantities of chemicals, some of which are diverted to cocaine processing in Bolivia. Chile's booming and stable open market economy attracts drug-related money laundering. Moreover, it is not yet an offense under Chilean law to invest proceeds from narcotics trafficking.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. In May, the GOC issued a drug control policy and national action plan. It includes plans to improve prevention training for professionals, support demand reduction, and conduct public awareness campaigns. It also charges the Ministry of Health and the law enforcement authorities to increase efforts to control drug trafficking and improve international cooperation. Its effectiveness will depend greatly on passage of the narcotics control legislation, which the congress failed to enact in 1993. This includes provisions on money laundering, precursor chemical controls, police undercover operations, forfeiture of trafficker assets, penalties for drug use, and reduced sentences for traffickers who cooperate with the authorities. Passage of the bill is anticipated in 1994.
Accomplishments. The national strategy and the pending legislation represent good faith efforts by the GOC to meet the objectives of the 1988 UN Convention, which the GOC signed and ratified. The GOC's most notable successes during the year came in law enforcement. The police seized record amounts of cocaine and marijuana, including 155 kgs of cocaine base in a night operation using USG-provided night vision goggles. They initiated information exchanges with police in neighboring Peru and Bolivia under agreements signed in 1992. The GOC cooperated with USG law enforcement agencies and made some important arrests. These actions demonstrated that the GOC is complying with our bilateral narcotics agreement.
Law Enforcement. Beyond the increased seizures and investigations in 1993, the government allocated more equipment and training for law enforcement and customs narcotics officials, particularly in northern Chile, where the problem is most serious.
Corruption. Chilean authorities have a reputation for honesty, but they are not completely immune from the corruptive effects of drug money. In October, the uniformed Carabinero police arrested the head of the Calama Antinarcotics Brigade of the Investigations Police on trafficking charges; the case is being prosecuted.
Agreements and Treaties. Chile signed agreements with Peru and Bolivia in 1992 for the exchange of narcotics-related information, including chemical shipments. The GOC convened a meeting of the countries' interior ministers in early 1994 to improve cooperation.
Cultivation/Production. Coca is not cultivated in Chile nor is cocaine produced. Authorities destroyed the remaining 20 hectares of cannabis grown legally in Chile, some of which reportedly was being diverted to the illicit market. In January 1993, Carabineros located and destroyed a cannabis plantation near Los Vilos which would have produced approximately two metric tons of marijuana.
Drug Flow/Transit. GOC authorities reported an increase in the flow of cocaine into and through Chile. Cocaine use, already widespread in northern Chile, increased in the Santiago area where prices, and profits, are higher. There is strong evidence that Chile's maritime facilities are used by traffickers. In November, New York authorities discovered 605 kgs of cocaine shipped from Chile in four refrigerated containers.
Domestic Programs. The GOC agrees on the need for effective programs in drug abuse prevention, but funding is insufficient. The Carabineros have a longstanding program offering prevention training to school teachers. The Ministries of Health and Education train social workers and teachers, and the University of Chile has started an advanced course for prevention professionals. Communities in northern Chile, where drug consumption has already reached alarming levels, are organizing their own prevention efforts, at least partially funded locally. The private sector is giving more emphasis to drug and alcohol abuse education programs for employees.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
USG goals and objectives in Chile include assisting the GOC in the interdiction of cocaine from the Andean countries; supporting improved Chilean-Bolivian control of precursor chemicals; assisting efforts to reduce money laundering; and supporting demand reduction programs.
Bilateral Cooperation. Chile and the US signed a narcotics cooperation agreement August 27 under which the USG provides $270,000 in assistance to curb narcotics trafficking. The USG provided training and essential equipment for Chilean antidrug units which contributed to record drug seizures. DEA shares information and conducts joint investigations with the authorities. In May, the GOC extradited a convicted American drug trafficker who fled to Chile after escaping from prison. However, the Chilean courts' interpretation of domestic law and the Chile-US Extradition Treaty make the extradition of narcotics traffickers from Chile almost impossible; it requires the personal appearance of witnesses, agents, and informants, and the hiring of private counsel to represent USG interests. In prevention, USIS has conducted several programs with the GOC and the Chilean private sector. GOC cooperation demonstrates that it is complying with our drug control agreement.
Road Ahead. The USG plans to expand cooperation with Chilean law enforcement entities by providing training in the investigation of drug-related money laundering. Once counternarcotics legislation is approved, the USG will promote more formal exchanges of information on money laundering activities and on the flow of precursor chemicals in the region. The USG also will support the training of drug prevention counselors as well as drug public awareness efforts. The USG will seek opportunities to improve bilateral extradition relationships, particularly with regard to the current Chilean requirements for meet USG extradition requests for narcotics trafficking and money laundering fugitives.
Colombia is central to the world's cocaine processing and trafficking; it also produces heroin. The Government of Colombia (GOC) cooperates with the USG on a broad range of narcotics control activities. However, its efforts to prosecute key traffickers have produced mixed results, at best. Eighteen months after his escape from prison, Medellin Cartel chief Pablo Escobar was located following an extensive manhunt and killed in a clash with police. The Medellin Cartel lost control of its trafficking empire due both to GOC actions and rival trafficker retribution. The Cali Cartel, however, is still strong. The GOC has conducted several operations to seize records, financial data, and assets, but most major Cali traffickers remain free. Cocaine seizures declined in 1993, while seizures of cocaine base and marijuana increased. Heroin seizures decreased slightly.
Although security forces seized only a small percentage of Colombia's estimated cocaine exports, authorities did eradicate drug crops, both manually and with herbicides. Colombia achieved many of the objectives set forth in the US-Colombia drug control agreement, particularly in opium poppy eradication and an increased police presence throughout the country. However, seizures of cocaine and base declined 16 percent from 1992 levels, and the Colombian National Police's (CNP) counternarcotics airwing (DISAP) was not at optimum operational levels. The CNP is cooperating closely with neighboring countries. The Department of Administrative Security (DAS) participated in several successful cases in Europe, leading to arrests and some significant drug seizures. GOC agencies regularly participate in international fora on money laundering, chemical controls, and drug abuse prevention. Colombia issued its first, comprehensive national drug survey in April, and approved for ratification the 1988 UN Convention. It will be formally ratified only after favorable review by the constitutional court.
II. Status of Country
Colombia is the world's leading supplier of cocaine. Colombian traffickers virtually control cocaine processing as well as international wholesale distribution chains and markets. Traffickers rely mostly on cocaine base from Peru and Bolivia, but also use limited quantities of cocaine base from Colombia's estimated 39,700 hectares of low-quality coca. Most essential chemicals are imported, with some diverted and smuggled into the interior of the country. Drug-generated income appears to remain largely outside of Colombia, but increasing amounts are repatriated. Colombia was a major producer of marijuana through most of the 1980's, but authorities effectively eradicated most of the 15,000 hectares cultivated; about 5,000 hectares are still under cultivation, some of which is processed into hashish oil. Commercial opium poppy cultivation gained a strong foothold in 1991, but may have stabilized at about 20,000 hectares following the introduction of aerial herbicidal eradication. GOC forces are seizing greater quantities of opium gum, morphine base, and heroin. The first national drug abuse survey indicated that Colombians increasingly abuse drugs; basuco (impure cocaine base) is very popular.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. The Colombian Congress approved, with reservations, the 1988 UN Convention, but ratification is dependent upon mandatory review by the constitutional court. The Colombian judicial system continues its transition, begun three years ago, from the inquisitorial system traditional to Latin America, to an accusatorial system. To date, these changes have not resulted in effective prosecution of major traffickers, or the disruption of their organizations. Traffickers still manipulate the system through bribery and intimidation; a Medellin trafficker who surrendered and received a sentence of eight years may win a generous reduction in his sentence, based on changes in the law. Authorities conduct aerial and manual eradication of illicit crops, while closely monitoring their environmental impact.
Accomplishments. Pablo Escobar was killed on December 2 in a shootout with police and military forces after his escape from prison 18 months earlier. The amenities of his detention and the casual security entailed in his imprisonment, as well as his escape caused the GOC considerable embarrassment. The violent elimination (attributed to Escobar) of several lieutenants of the Medellin cartel, competition from other Colombian trafficking organizations and Escobar's death weakened significantly the Medellin Cartel. The GOC also attacked the Cali Cartel infrastructure, with raids on its drug processing laboratories, offices, and residences. However, no major Cali leaders were arrested in 1993. According to the GOC, Colombian authorities seized 32 metric tons of cocaine and cocaine base, a 16 percent decline from 1992. They destroyed 400 laboratories.
All branches of the Ministry of Defense (MOD), including the CNP, Army, Navy, Marine Infantry, and Air Force, participated in, and contributed to, interdiction efforts. Nearly 10,000 hectares of illicit crops were eradicated manually; environmental experts monitored the aerial application of herbicides to opium poppy. Colombia completed its first national drug abuse survey in April; the USG and the GOC coordinate closely on the methodology.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The GOC passed a revised criminal procedures code in late October which permits traffickers to surrender and cooperate, thus providing the possibility of lenient sentences, including house detention. The USG is concerned that these provisions will permit key traffickers to receive light sentences, keep their illicit gains, and continue trafficking operations. The Prosecutor General, a judicial branch official with primary responsibility for prosecuting drug cases, has publicly criticized the USG and GOC drug strategy, called for legalization of drugs, and has been more lenient in his negotiations with major traffickers than the USG feels is appropriate, given the severity of the crimes. The Department of Administrative Security (DAS), roughly equivalent to the FBI, developed its money laundering unit and focused intelligence resources on international connections. DAS information led to the seizure in Moscow of one metric ton of cocaine and the arrest of several Colombian traffickers in Italy and Spain.
Corruption. Widespread corruption, as well as intimidation by traffickers, complicated the drug control efforts of many Colombian institutions, including the judicial branch, attorney general's office, police, and armed forces. Each military and law enforcement organization has its own inspector general's office which pursues allegations of corruption. As part of the police reform law, the government in December named a civilian commissioner to investigate charges of corruption and abuse within the CNP. These investigations occasionally lead to dismissal or retirements, but rarely to criminal prosecution. However, the GOC is currently investigating the fourth-ranking member of the attorney general's office for alleged connections to the Cali Cartel.
The Colombian Government, as a matter of policy, does not encourage or facilitate the production or distribution of drugs or the laundering of drug profits.
Agreements and Treaties. Colombia is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Drugs, and is a signatory to the 1988 UN Convention. As noted, congress approved the 1988 Convention in 1993; it must be reviewed by the constitutional court before the GOC can deposit the instruments of ratification. Colombia has signed agreements with the US on asset sharing, chemical control and money laundering. The GOC and USG also signed a declaration of intent to share evidence. Colombia participated actively in the Organization of American States' drug body (CICAD) and in the CICAD-sponsored Caribbean Task Force meeting on money laundering, but few measures have been adopted in Colombia. The CNP cooperates closely with neighboring countries. It conducted combined operations with Venezuela and Ecuador, and fostered both intelligence exchanges and combined training with other countries.
Cultivation/production. Colombia's primary illicit crop is coca. The USG estimates that, after eradication, there were 39,700 hectares of coca under cultivation in 1993. Laboratory tests indicate Colombian coca has a relatively low alkaloid yield of 0.32 percent, roughly one-half that of Bolivian and Peruvian coca. Cultivation techniques used in Colombia yield only 800 kgs of dry leaf per hectare annually; about 500 kgs of dry leaf yields one kg of cocaine base.
Colombia's coca cultivation, found mostly in the Caqueta, Putumayo and Vaupes departments, could yield some 31,700 metric tons of dry leaf. Domestic consumption of leaf and refined leaf product do not markedly affect the amount of cocaine available for export. Manual eradication operations are minimal and dangerous. Much of the coca is cultivated in isolated areas where guerrillas are active. Ministry of Defense (MOD) forces destroyed 793 hectares of coca through November. The CNP conducts most cocaine interdiction; it seized approximately 32 metric tons of cocaine HCl and base in 1993.
Cannabis cultivation is increasing and is now estimated at 5,000 ha, based on visual reconnaissance of traditional growing areas. Authorities believe some of the 549 metric tons of marijuana seized in 1993 was grown on the Venezuelan side of the contiguous Perija mountain range. Some is processed into hashish oil.
Commercial opium poppy cultivation, while documented as early as the mid-1980s, gained a solid foothold only in 1991. Aerial survey data is insufficient for an accurate estimate of total cultivation, and information on crop cycle is inconclusive. Many fields contain plants of varying maturities. Extensive aerial overflights associated with fumigation suggest the crop may have stabilized at around 20,000 ha. Opium gum tests suggest the morphine content is relatively high; each cultivated hectare may be capable of yielding 10 kgs of gum, equivalent to one kg of heroin, if there are multiple harvests of opium poppy.
Cultivation is concentrated in Huila, Tolima, and Valle del Cauca departments, with smaller growing areas in Narino and Boyaca departments. Authorities aggressively fumigate opium poppy, using a safe, agricultural herbicide (Glyphosate) registered and widely used in Colombia. Environmental experts carefully monitor these operations, and the environmental impact has been minimal. The GOC destroyed 9,821 hectares of opium poppy during the year.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. USG programs are designed to address all aspects of the 1988 UN Convention, the Cartagena accords, and the newly developed Western Hemisphere Drug Strategy. USG narcotics control goals include the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of key narcotics traffickers and the dismantlement of their organizations, the aerial and manual eradication of opium poppy, coca and marijuana crops, denying necessary chemicals to traffickers, and the strengthening of Colombian institutions to pursue these objectives within a legal and constitutional framework that respects human rights.
The Colombian constitution prohibits the extradition of Colombian nationals, but the GOC does extradite non-Colombians, pursuant to its laws. In 1993, the GOC extradited an Argentine national wanted in the US on narcotics charges.
A judicial attache is assigned to the US Embassy to facilitate evidence sharing between the GOC and the US Department of Justice (DOJ). This improved the flow of information and evidence between the two governments. However, the parameters by which the USG exchanges information with the office of the Prosecutor General are being reviewed as a result of the Prosecutor's questionable actions (see section on law enforcement). The USG objective is a reaffirmation by the GOC of its commitment to prosecute major traffickers and to take necessary steps to protect witnesses and their families from violent retribution by the traffickers. Although Colombia indicted and convicted 15 traffickers in the past two years (with sentences of 44 months to 12 years), the USG does not believe that the sentences actually imposed on major traffickers were commensurate with the seriousness of the demonstrated criminal activities. USAID commits significant resources to judicial reform, focusing on the criminal justice sector, including the five regional courts and prosecutorial units charged with handling narcotics and terrorism cases; it assists the prosecutor general's office as well.
The USG helped the GOC improve its judicial protection system. Most USG support is for training and technical assistance. In 1993, 641 judges and prosecutors received training from USAID, and 921 investigators, forensic technicians, and others attended courses in Colombia and in the US offered by the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), a DOJ program financed by USAID. In May, DOJ conducted a one-week seminar attended by senior DOJ prosecutors and their Colombian counterparts responsible for the investigation and prosecution in Colombia of major Colombian traffickers. USAID also agreed to let the GOC use aid-generated funds to help finance local projects encouraging the voluntary eradication of opium poppy.
USG resources improved MOD and DAS capabilities to investigate trafficker organizations and interdict illicit drugs. Colombia purchased additional helicopters for the FAC and CNP fleets and radars to control vital trafficker air routes along the southern border. It is in the process of procuring radars to control vital trafficker air routes along the southern border. At the request of DEA, US Customs conducted a specialized airport drug interdiction training program for 22 Colombian National Police Officers.
[Chart: Statistical Tables]
Ecuador is a transit country for drugs shipped from Colombia to the US and Europe, as well as for precursor chemicals smuggled into Colombia. The Cali Cartel expanded its drug transport operations in Ecuador, and the USG estimates it ships at least 30 metric tons of cocaine annually through Ecuador's poorly monitored ports. Drug trafficker aircraft regularly overfly Ecuador between Peru and Colombia. Ecuador is also a money laundering site for Colombian traffickers.
The Government of Ecuador (GOE) cooperates with the USG in counternarcotics efforts. In 1993, the USG and GOE negotiated an asset sharing agreement which is expected to be signed early in 1994. Ecuadorian judges and prosecutors participated in training on the narcotics law. The GOE arrested members of four narcotics trafficking groups. The government enacted legislation to meet the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Convention, ratified in 1990.
II. Status of Country
Ecuador is not a major coca producing or processing country, but it is an important transit route for unrefined coca products moving from Peru to Colombia. Cocaine HCl transits the country from Colombia to the US and Europe. With USG support, the GOE maintains an active detection and monitoring program.
There is strong evidence that significant amounts of narcotics proceeds are laundered in Ecuador through investments in property and goods, or transactions in local financial institutions. Ecuador began to conduct more effective money laundering investigations domestically and in its off-shore banks. However, much more needs to be done.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. The USG and the GOE negotiated an agreement to share assets from drug related seizures. We expect it to enter into force in early 1994. The GOE also issued its first four-year national drug strategy required by the 1990 narcotics law.
The National Drug Council (CONSEP) facilitated an inter-agency agreement to provide police controlled access to private banks in order to investigate money laundering. However, this access may be too limited to produce meaningful results. The USG works with GOE agencies to improve investigative procedures on money laundering. In addition, CONSEP, with USG assistance, is conducting the first comprehensive study in Latin America of legitimate national demand for precursor chemicals.
Accomplishments. The GOE arrested members of four narcotics trafficking groups tied to the Cali Cartel during the year. Police destroyed several hectares of opium poppy near Quito and made two seizures of opium poppy seeds. The Ecuadorian military also destroyed 15,000 coca plants. It also participated in regional military drug interdiction efforts in which USG forces took part. The Armed Forces provide air support for counternarcotics police operations.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Ecuador has passed laws based on the 1988 UN Convention and OAS model regulations to criminalize the production, transport and sale of controlled narcotic substances; the import, diversion and use of precursor chemicals for illicit purposes; money laundering, the intimidation or subornation of judicial and public authorities for drug crimes; and illegal association related to drug trafficking and profiteering. It is now seeking to implement these laws effectively. The GOE has centralized drug enforcement in the Narcotics Police, while giving the military a legitimate role in drug control. The government has adopted bilateral accords to control chemicals and money laundering. CONSEP, the ministerial-level drug council, coordinates the national drug control program. Ecuador is active in regional, OAS, and UN drug control initiatives.
Ecuadorian police and military personnel conducted Amanecer I, a combined riverine and land drug interdiction operation in remote northeast Ecuador, along the Colombian border. Suspected Colombian narcoguerrillas attacked the unit on December 16 and killed 11 Ecuadorians. Through November, law enforcement agencies seized 1.4 metric tons of cocaine hydrochloride, down from 3.75 metric tons in 1992. Heroin seizures increased from three to 27 kgs over 1992. Authorities arrested 2,745 Ecuadorians and 212 foreign nationals on drug charges.
Ecuadorian drug enforcement capabilities improved. The Police Combined Intelligence Center (CICC) began to collect and analyze data from field operations for tactical use. The INTERPOL (Ecuadorian Drug Police) training center conducted several narcotics programs. However, Ecuador's counternarcotics performance in seizing drugs and precursor chemicals during the year was disappointing.
Corruption. The GOE has taken a strong public stance against drug trafficking, bribery, and intimidation related to drug crimes. A local judge was dismissed by the president of the Superior Court in Guayaquil for accepting a bribe to free an accused drug trafficker. The judge and his secretary are both facing criminal charges. As a matter of policy, the GOE does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or other controlled substances or the laundering of drug money. To date, no current senior official has been identified as engaging in, facilitating or encouraging the production or distribution of drugs or in the laundering of drug proceeds. Nonetheless, corruption remains a serious problem as demonstrated by the languishing prosecution of members of the Reyes Torres organization.
Agreements and Treaties. Ecuador is a party to the 1988 UN Convention. The GOE enacted legislation criminalizing drug trafficking, chemical diversion, and money laundering. In 1991, the GOE and the USG entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on Measures to Prevent the Diversion of Chemical Substances. In 1992, Ecuador signed the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, but the convention is not in force. Ecuador entered into a bilateral narcotics agreement with Colombia in 1993.
The US and Ecuador concluded a money laundering agreement to share information on currency transactions over $10,000 in 1992. The two Governments concluded three bilateral project agreements on INTERPOL, the Military Customs Police, and CONSEP during the year. These agreements include anti-corruption and other judicial training initiatives.
While the GOE has made progress in generally meeting the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Convention, it could do more. The GOE has signed counternarcotics agreements with its neighbors and with the US, undertaken successful eradication initiatives, and crippled a major trafficking network, the Jorge Reyes Torres Organization (JRTO). However, the GOE needs to improve its effectiveness in other areas. It has been slow to prosecute traffickers, lagged on money laundering efforts, and failed to exercise effective control of chemical traffic through Ecuadorian ports.
There is a bilateral extradition treaty between the US and Ecuador, but the Ecuadorian Constitution prohibits the extradition of the country's own nationals, and the treaty does not provide for provisional arrest. The GOE, however, does support extradition of non-Ecuadorians. The government has cooperated with the USG in efforts to deport or investigate foreign drug traffickers.
Cultivation/production. While there has been no drug cultivation other than the opium poppy plots and coca plants noted earlier, there is a continuing need for vigilance to prevent illicit crop cultivation in Ecuador.
Drug flow/transit. Ecuador is a transit route for drug processing chemicals destined for Colombia and Peru. It is also transit area for unrefined cocaine moving from northern Peru to Colombia for processing, and for cocaine hydrochloride moving from Colombia to markets in the US and Europe. Traffickers are believed to use the Pan American highway, as well as Ecuador's poorly monitored ports. Aircraft fly large quantities of coca paste and cocaine base from Peru through Ecuadorian airspace to Colombia, although there is evidence that the presence of Peruvian interdiction aircraft are forcing drug pilots to shift their routes to Brazil.
Since the GOE alone does not have the capability to intercept trafficker aircraft, a USG radar site provides temporary coverage while the GOE and USG plan the construction of a permanent radar station in eastern Ecuador.
Demand Reduction. Drug consumption in Ecuador remains relatively low, but CONSEP believes it is increasing in the major cities. Ecuadorian drug law and policy continue to emphasize drug prevention, education, and rehabilitation. CONSEP, with USG assistance, is increasingly involved in prevention campaigns. Two CONSEP representatives participated in a November regional drug prevention conference in Colombia community drug prevention partnerships. The Catholic Church is working to define its role in drug education and rehabilitation, particularly in provincial areas. All public institutions, including the military, are required to establish drug prevention programs in the workplace.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs.
Policy Initiatives. USG policy is to strengthen Ecuador's political will and build institutions to curb drug and chemicals trafficking and money laundering. The USG works with a range of Ecuadorian entities, including CONSEP; the attorney general's office; the National Police (including INTERPOL); the Military Customs Police; the Ecuadorian military; and voluntary organizations (NGOs).
USAID also has an Administration of Justice program designed to address institutional weaknesses in the judicial system.
The US Embassy, in collaboration with the Superintendency of Banks, CONSEP and the police, is working to improve the GOE's ability to curb money laundering. Bilateral cooperation has enhanced Ecuador's ability to reduce drug trafficking. USG assistance enabled Ecuadorian drug enforcement agencies to expand drug police presence to all 21 provinces and to establish a nationwide secure radio communications network.
Ecuador has detector dog programs at both major international airports and is planning, with USG assistance, to conduct mobile roadblock operations and expand coverage to the major seaports and at the Peru and Colombia borders.
The police receive USG assistance to establish a professional counternarcotics intelligence center and to improve investigative abilities of their financial investigations unit. CONSEP receives assistance to conduct more effective chemical control and financial investigations.
The USG and the GOE are negotiating an agreement to construct a road and radar site on the eastern slope of the Andes. Ecuador plans to use one of its two radars to monitor drug aircraft overflying eastern Ecuador between Colombia and Peru. USG-provided communications equipment will enable the USG, Peru, and Colombia to share information on narcotics flights in the Andes.
The Road Ahead. We expect improvements in the GOE's capacity to collect and analyze drug intelligence on narcotics trafficking groups. We also believe it will tighten controls over the flow of precursor chemicals. Hopefully, the police will be able to conduct reconnaissance missions for coca and opium poppy cultivation and for illegal laboratories. Targetting illegal financial transactions, opening discussions on a maritime counternarcotics agreement, and executing an asset sharing agreement are strong possibilities for 1994. The USG will continue to press for progress on the prosecution of the Reyes Torres Organization (JRTO).
[Chart: Statistical Tables]
Paraguay is a transit route for Andean cocaine shipped to Brazil, Argentina and Europe and possibly to the US. Marijuana is produced in significant quantities in the northeastern region of the country, but there is no evidence that it is exported to the US. The Government of Paraguay (GOP) recognizes that the country's diverse and growing financial sector provides the potential for money laundering, and both the government and opposition parties have prepared anti-money laundering legislation for the 1994 congressional session. President Juan Carlos Wasmosy took office on August 15 as Paraguay's first democratically elected civilian president, committed his government to combat narcotics trafficking. The president took several important initial steps to fulfill that commitment. The GOP permitted the staging of surveillance aircraft from Paraguayan soil, and, on November 30, signed a financial information exchange agreement with the US. Official corruption remains the most serious problem impeding narcotics control efforts. Paraguay is a party to the 1988 UN Convention.
II. Status of the Country
Paraguay's geographic position and porous borders offer a route for cocaine from Bolivia and other Andean producers to Brazil and Argentina for onward distribution. Multi-ton seizures of cocaine in other countries bordering Bolivia indicate the likely transit of large volumes of cocaine through Paraguay. Paraguay's extensive, unpatrolled land borders with Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil, and numerous unregulated airstrips facilitate the movement of contraband, including drugs. With a diverse financial sector, Paraguay has the potential to become a significant money laundering center. Paraguay may also be a transit route for precursor and essential chemicals from Argentina and Brazil to Bolivia. There is no evidence of cocaine processing labs in Paraguay. Marijuana produced in the northeastern region of the country is consumed domestically and exported to Brazil and Argentina. Poor farmers, hired mainly by Brazilian traffickers, cultivate marijuana in small plots (0.5 to 1.0 ha) in dense forests. The GOP estimates that approximately 2,300 hectares are under cultivation, but the USG cannot confirm this figure.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. President Juan Carlos Wasmosy took office in August and immediately affirmed his government's commitment to combat narcotics trafficking. He appointed an honest and respected military officer, General Mario Escobar Anzoategui, backed by an aggressive and competent senior staff, to head the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD). President Wasmosy welcomed increased deployments of US counternarcotics aircraft to Asuncion; the deployments were enthusiastically endorsed by the opposition-controlled congress. The GOP signed a financial information exchange agreement with the US to facilitate the investigation of money laundering. Both the administration and several members of congress began drafting legislation to criminalize money laundering and to strengthen other sections of the country's narcotics control laws. A chamber of deputies resolution called for more active government measures against trafficking and money laundering.
Accomplishments. Under General Escobar's leadership, SENAD moved swiftly to improve narcotics enforcement. SENAD worked closely with the USG to revamp the organization and improve its efficiency. General Escobar also established a financial investigations unit within SENAD and created a joint DINAR/Customs task force for the new container port at Villeta. SENAD ended unauthorized and unconventional "controlled deliveries" to Europe, and opened investigations into three cases involving possible high-level protection of narcotics trafficking. This promising start ended abruptly in November when the military promotion board mandated Escobar's retirement and transferred his two principal deputies to other duties. The GOP replaced the SENAD director in January 1994.
The GOP's most significant accomplishment in furthering the intent of the UN Convention was the signing of the financial information exchange agreement with the USG, allowing the bilateral exchange of currency transaction reports and records. Both the executive and the legislature are looking at various versions of a money laundering bill, in addition to one already introduced.
Law Enforcement Efforts. SENAD's joint police/military task force carried out 17 operations during the year to eradicate cannabis cultivation, monitor airstrips, and mount roadblocks and random check points. The largest single seizure of cocaine was 23 kgs in Asuncion. Cocaine seizures totaled 44 kgs, down from 70 kg in 1992. The GOP's much publicized effort to curb illicit activity, "Operation Cleanup," involving the deployment of hundreds of military troops and police over a period of several weeks, was not coordinated with SENAD/DINAR and did not result in any drug arrests or seizures.
Corruption. No high-ranking military officers and civilian politicians implicated in contraband or corruption cases that came to light in 1992 and 1993 has yet been brought to trial for alleged illicit activities. There were unconfirmed reports that drugs were included with the contraband goods investigated in these cases. A free press and congressional investigations on illegal activities have made the Paraguayan public more aware of the extent of corruption and the threat it poses to democracy, but corruption remains the most serious impediment effective narcotics control efforts. The GOP does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate the production or distribution of illicit drugs, nor the laundering of drug money. However, the size of the contraband sector combined with strong circumstantial evidence, suggests that high-level officials protect and benefit from illicit contraband.
Agreements and Treaties. Paraguay ratified the 1988 UN Convention in 1990. Article 71 of the 1992 Paraguayan constitution requires the government to suppress drug trafficking and production, combat money laundering, and create drug prevention programs. Paraguayan law prohibits the cultivation, production, distribution, sale, transport, and financing of illicit drugs. It also requires the registration of precursor and essential chemicals, and provides for asset seizures, although procedures are cumbersome. Money laundering is not yet a crime, but several bills, including one based on model OAS legislation, are pending in the congress. The GOP has stated its intention to enact money laundering legislation in the coming year. There were no USG requests for extradition or mutual legal assistance in narcotics cases in 1993, but the GOP cooperated in these areas in previous years.
Paraguay pledged to cooperate in enforcement efforts through a tripartite narcotics control agreement with Argentina and Bolivia, and bilateral agreements with other countries, including Brazil and Venezuela. Paraguay is a member of CICAD. The GOP meets the requirements of the Chiles Amendment through a 1987 bilateral assistance agreement. That agreement, extended annually, calls for the establishment and support of a project designed to eliminate the illicit production, trafficking and consumption of narcotics within Paraguay. The FY93 amendment required the reprogramming of funds unspent from FY91 and FY92. The GOP complied by agreeing to dedicate the funds to professional development for SENAD forces, money laundering legislation, and training, and technical and operational support to DINAR.
Cultivation and Production. Cannabis is the only illicit drug cultivated in Paraguay. The warm climate and fertile soil allow at least two crops per year. In 1993, law enforcement authorities eradicated an estimated 640 mt. There is no evidence that marijuana produced in Paraguay is exported to the US.
Demand Reduction Programs. A USAID-funded 1991 epidemiological study indicated that Paraguay has a small, but growing substance abuse problem. SENAD coordinates Paraguay's national prevention plan which is implemented through the ministries of public health and education in cooperation with several non-governmental organizations. USAID's support for drug awareness and education programs ends in 1995.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The US seeks to improve Paraguay's capability to disrupt narcotics trafficking, to prevent Paraguay from becoming a money laundering center, and to increase public awareness of the threat narcotics trafficking and money laundering pose to Paraguay's nascent democratic institutions.
Bilateral Cooperation. Between August-November 1993, cooperation with USG enforcement agencies was excellent. SENAD and DINAR pursued narcotics investigations into cocaine trafficking with unprecedented vigor and efficiency. Throughout 1993, the USG assisted the GOP with communications and intelligence support for 17 SENAD field operations. INM provided funding for the training of counternarcotics officials, detector dog support, communications and computer equipment, vehicles, and drug abuse and education programs.
The Road Ahead. The USG will urge an increase in the number and quality of investigations by Paraguayan authorities, expand training for law enforcement and financial institution personnel to combat money laundering, and work with the congress to enact effective asset forfeiture and money laundering legislation. The extent of future USG cooperation will depend on the government's demonstration of political will to fight trafficking, including narcotics-related corruption. The performance of drug control agencies in cocaine seizures and arrests of traffickers and their protectors will be the measures of the GOP's dedication to these objectives.
Nearly two-thirds of the world's cocaine supply originates in coca leaf grown in Peru. The Government of Peru (GOP) has demonstrated the political will to act against cocaine trafficking, but will not eradicate coca cultivations without alternative development programs for coca growers. Peruvian criminal law conforms to UN Convention obligations, but despite successes, GOP capabilities are insufficient for comprehensive enforcement actions. The GOP has not taken appropriate measures, in terms of the UN Convention mandates, to eradicate illicit coca cultivations. Despite the lack of eradication in coca-growing communities, a 30% reduction did occur in 1993 in the amount of coca leaf available for drug production in 1993. This was the result of a debilitating coca fungus, as well as cultivation shifts from traditional areas with high yield coca fields to new cultivation areas where leaf yields have yet to reach mature levels. The GOP is in the process of defining a national counternarcotics strategy that integrates enforcement with alternative development leading to coca eradication by or with the consent of producers. While GOP counternarcotics efforts have succeeded in arresting key traffickers and disrupting trafficking operations, these accomplishments were marred by corruption in the judicial system and among military and police elements in the field.
II. Status of Country
Although nearly two-thirds of the global supply of cocaine is produced from coca leaf grown in Peru, USG estimates showed 108,800 hectares of coca under cultivation in 1993, a 16% decrease from 1992 estimates. Less than half of the coca is now in the Upper Huallaga Valley due to coca blight and the advanced age of the cultivation in that area. Although nearly 12,000 hectares of new coca have been planted in other areas, these fields will not become productive until 1995. Coca leaf production for 1993 fell to 155,500 metric tons from 223,900 metric tons in 1992. Coca leaf is normally processed to cocaine base near its point of cultivation and moved by air, mostly to Colombia. Cocaine hydrochloride (HCl) probably amounts to ten percent or more of Peruvian cocaine exports, a share which is increasing. There are numerous reports of poppy cultivation but no opium production has been identified. Most essential chemicals are not produced in Peru, but enter through legitimate commerce and are diverted to drug processing. Peru is not a major money laundering center; there is laundering of funds repatriated by trafficking organizations for raw material acquisition, or for personal consumption by traffickers.
The GOP has demonstrated the political will to act against cocaine trafficking, despite limited resources. However, this effort has not included mature coca eradication, which is perceived by the GOP as difficult to implement, due to the lack of economic alternatives for coca farmers. President Fujimori specifically banned aerial herbicidal eradication of coca, although tests in other countries have shown that glyphosate is effective against coca without damaging the environment.
Terrorism by Sendero Luminoso (SL) and other guerrilla groups hinders all government activity, including law enforcement. Peru has an effective economic stabilization program, but austerity limits the success of GOP drug programs. Institutions are debilitated, especially the judiciary. Yet, polls consistently show public awareness that the GOP must curb cocaine production, which finances terrorism and impedes economic development. Since April 1992, Peru held free and fair elections for a constituent congress and local officials, as well as a constitutional referendum. However, most USG economic and military narcotics-related assistance remains suspended or eliminated, due to concerns over democracy in the wake of the 1992 coup and alleged human rights abuses. Because of funding constraints, the USG terminated its aviation and logistical support for the Santa Lucia police counternarcotics base in the Upper Huallaga Valley. The police and air force continue to conduct counternarcotics operations from the base, using Peruvian resources. USG counternarcotics support shifted to support a more mobile Peruvian law enforcement strategy anchored by the town of Pucallpa in the Ucayali Valley.
III. Country Action Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. Peru is a party to the 1988 UN Convention. President Fujimori's policy is to eliminate cocaine production in stages, as economic assistance provides alternative livelihoods for coca growers. To date, this policy has had little impact on illicit coca production. He favors enforcement methods (e.g., air interdiction) focused on traffickers, leaving coca farmers undisturbed. Counternarcotics increased in importance alongside counterterrorism as the armed forces made progress against the SL, and more resources were redirected to narcotics control . Faced with terrorism and economic problems, the GOP only began to develop an integrated counternarcotics strategy in late 1993.
Accomplishments. Peru's congress adopted stricter penalties including life imprisonment for aggravated drug offenses. The GOP cooperated with other countries prosecuting Peruvians for drug offenses (the most significant case was dismissed by a UK court -- and extradited drug offenders to other countries, including Italy. There were more successful arrests and prosecutions of narcotics traffickers in Peru in the past year, but irregularities in judicial procedures remain a USG concern.
Under the bilateral narcotics control agreement, Peru's coca reduction agency, CORAH, eradicated over 104,000 square meters of coca seedbeds, equivalent to over 6,000 hectares of cultivation. Limited USG funds and helicopter support precluded greater progress in this area. The foreign and interior ministries support coca seedbed eradication, but remain opposed to a mature coca eradication program that lacks a comprehensive alternative development component.
As provided in the USG/GOP agreement, Peruvian Air Force (FAP) and Peruvian National Police (PNP) provide government control and law enforcement over ten municipal airports and have closed clandestine airstrips used by traffickers. Although these efforts were successful in denying traffickers the use of these airports, it only reduced the availability of processed coca products in limited areas. Overall availability of processed cocaine products was not reduced in 1993, and Peru remains the world's largest source of coca.
Criminal laws are generally consistent with the goals and objectives established by the 1988 UN Convention as it relates to the distribution, sale, transport, and financing of drugs, and money laundering, asset seizure, extradition and mutual legal assistance. During 1993, chemical control regulations were strengthened, civil regulatory capabilities and cooperation with PNP diversion enforcement increased. GOP compliance with the goals and objectives of the UN Convention is weak in the areas of conspiracy laws and coca eradication. Although unlicensed coca cultivation is illegal, political decisions not to eradicate illicit mature coca lessen the extent to which the GOP meets the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Convention.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The PNP reported the seizure of 5.3 metric tons of cocaine base, 3.2 metric tons of coca paste, 468 kgs of cocaine HCl, the destruction of 38 cocaine base laboratories, some with sophisticated chemical recycling equipment, and the seizure of over 86 metric tons of controlled chemicals. There were larger numbers of low-level drug and chemical seizures in all parts of the country. The GOP indicted and arrested a sister (later released) and brother of the major trafficker target "Vaticano" on narcotics charges; other USG-supported GOP enforcement actions put greater pressure on the operations of other major trafficker organizations.
The PNP, the armed forces and CORAH, with USG support, blocked over a dozen roads with concrete obstacles to prevent their use by traffickers. An effort to build an illegal airstrip in the Central Huallaga was stopped when a community participating in a USAID-supported alternative development project refused to cooperate with traffickers and requested army assistance to expel them. The GOP continued its vigorous air interdiction program, apprehending numerous drug aircraft both in the air and on the ground.
Over $1 million was seized from two aircraft inspected by FAP personnel. Nevertheless, many drug trafficking aircraft continue to operate without interference from law enforcement operations. Since 1992, PNP personnel have operated USG-owned UH-lH helicopters supporting GOP counternarcotics activities; PNP maintenance personnel are gradually taking over functions previously carried on by US contractors.
Corruption. Corruption is endemic in all GOP institutions, fueled by very low salaries. A 1992 law requires officials assigned in drug areas to report assets, but implementation is spotty. Some officials have been subjected to judicial or disciplinary action for drug-related corruption. The highest ranking official to face such proceedings was the director of the PNP Antidrug Directorate. He was relieved, but subsequently exonerated. Despite successful police efforts to arrest traffickers, there were instances of suspects prematurely released by corrupt judges. President Fujimori has expressed his determination to halt such occurrences. Corruption affecting drug enforcement is a pervasive individual problem, but not an institutional one.
As a matter of policy, the GOP does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of drug money. No senior GOP official is known to engage in production or distribution of drugs or the laundering of drug proceeds.
Agreements and Treaties. The GOP concluded an agreement with the UK for mutual assistance in drug law enforcement, including asset sharing in 1993. There is no comparable mutual legal assistance treaty with the USG. Peru has bilateral narcotics cooperation agreements with the USG and a number of other countries, including immediate neighbors. The GOP attempted to meet the objectives of its narcotics agreement with the US to the extent that its resources permitted. Peru hosted an OAS/CICAD drug experts meeting on alternative development in September.
Cultivation/Production. Coca cultivation is established well beyond the Huallaga Valley. The industry declined in the Upper Huallaga in 1993, while increasing in the Central Huallaga, Ucayali, and other areas. Eradication of mature coca, except in context of an overall alternative development program funded from outside sources, is inconsistent with GOP counternarcotics plans. The GOP's eradication policy, combined with donor funding constraints, made no significant inroads into mature coca production, with the exception of coca reductions in traditional areas due to a combination of coca seedbed eradication, blight and age.
Drug Flow/Transit. There have long been unconfirmed reports of cocaine crossing both ways at the Peru-Bolivia border. Movement of cocaine base is primarily by air from Peru to Colombia.
Domestic Programs. There is considerable public awareness of cocaine abuse and concern over about the quality of drug education and treatment. While survey data are imprecise, eight percent of respondents in a recent national survey reported knowing at least one family member, neighbor or acquaintance who was a significant consumer of drugs; this figure exceeded 11 percent in the Lima metropolitan area. The most active drug education/demand reduction agency is the USAID-supported Center of Information and Education for the Prevention of Drug Abuse (CEDRO). Education ministry drug awareness material is incorporated in primary and secondary school curricula.
IV US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG seeks to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the production of cocaine by developing Peru's institutional capabilities to implement a comprehensive counternarcotics strategy. The USG encourages the GOP to reduce illicit coca production with or without the consent of growers, and is prepared to provide alternative development support for that purpose. The GOP is dependent on USG and other donor support for economic development programs for coca-growing communities. USG funding constraints and lack of a commensurate increase of GOP commitment to fund development programs have precluded any GOP mature coca eradication strategy. The USG policy approach must promote GOP definition of a strategy which provides for law enforcement, coca eradication and economic development activities, while developing institutional capabilities that permit the GOP to implement the strategy over the long term. A broad strategy will be required to persuade other international donors to support the GOP counternarcotics effort.
Peru has bilateral agreements with the US for essential chemical control and information exchange on cash transactions (Kerry Amendment). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will consider narcotics-related USG extradition requests under the existing bilateral extradition treaty as amended by the 1988 UN Convention. The USG made no requests in 1993, and has not sought to negotiate a new bilateral extradition treaty or a mutual legal assistance treaty. The current INM narcotics control project agreement was signed on April 30; negotiation for FY-94 will begin shortly. GOP fulfillment of the terms of the project agreement was uneven, since resources were limited and the terms closely followed the criteria set forth in the UN Convention. For example, law enforcement efforts were more focused, with greater support from the Peruvian military. On the other hand, drug seizures declined, despite the significant disruption of trafficker activities. Elements of the Peruvian-USG counternarcotics agreement pertaining to alternative development and eradication also remained unfulfilled.
The USG approach under the 1993 narcotics control agreement enhances the effectiveness of specific enforcement measures, while encouraging development of Peru's institutional capabilities to sustain a general drug enforcement program. The USG must encourage a GOP counternarcotics strategy reliant on third country, multilateral donor or host government financial and material support for alternative development programs leading to eradication of coca crops by or with the cooperation of their growers.
Road Ahead. The GOP must develop a national counternarcotics strategy, and shape a political consensus to eradicate mature coca. It must also expand efforts to reduce cocaine exports. The GOP appears willing to use its limited resources for counternarcotics purposes, and third country interest has increased. Nevertheless, obstacles are formidable to successful implementation of counternarcotics goals. Peru must continue to develop authentic democratic political institutions, improve respect for human rights, and surmount the challenges of terrorism, a depressed economy and corruption offer to effective narcotics control policies.
Limited USG resources must be used to encourage GOP institutional capabilities to carry out an enforcement effort integrating individual programs (e.g. aerial interdiction, money laundering investigations) for coordinated disruption of major trafficking organizations, as well as develop new initiatives to address an expanding coca cultivation crop. Realistic objectives for 1994 will be: (1) GOP definition and commencement of implementation of all aspects of a national strategy, the elements of which(enforcement, economic development, eradication and others) conform to USG strategic objectives; (2) GOP enforcement programs, with selective USG support, having an observable impact in disrupting targeted major trafficking organizations; and (3) community-level development programs in coca-growing areas financed by other donors or the GOP (supported to the extent feasible by complementary USAID sustainable development activities) resulting in identifiable cases of farmers who abandon coca in favor of other crops.
[Chart: Statistical Tables]
Uruguay is an important regional financial center. Economic stability, unrestricted currency exchange and strict bank secrecy laws also create the potential for large-scale money laundering, although USG law enforcement agencies so far have uncovered only a few cases. Previous investigations and trials indicate that Colombian drug trafficking cartels laundered money in Uruguay in the past. DEA also found evidence of cocaine trafficking. The country's location makes it a useful transit route for drugs transported to markets in the US and Europe. The Government of Uruguay (GOU) cooperated with the USG on a number of narcotics investigations and drug control programs.
II. Status of Country
Longstanding bank secrecy laws and lax banking regulations make Uruguay an attractive location for money laundering. Moreover, money laundering is not a crime under Uruguayan statutes unless the launderers acted as accessories to a recognized crime such as narcotics trafficking. Uruguayan law requires that banks and exchange houses record all transactions in excess of $10,000, but the law is poorly enforced. Evidence shows that Colombian drug cartels have laundered money in Uruguay. The 1988 UN Convention and the OAS CICAD model legislation await adoption by the Uruguayan Parliament.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. The GOU drug control strategy is coordinated by the National Commission for the Prevention and Repression of Illicit Traffic and Abuse of Drugs, within the office of the presidency.
The National Commission is compiling a data base, known as the Joint Information Coordination Center (JICC), for use in prevention and enforcement programs. It will become operational in early 1994.
Accomplishments. A mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT), signed with the USG in 1991, was approved by the parliament in November 1993 and will soon enter into force. It is unclear how useful the treaty will be, however, in the absence of effective domestic laws on money laundering, asset forfeiture, and international cooperation. Uruguay has signed but not ratified MLATs with Spain and Brazil. It has ratified a counternarcotics assistance treaty with the UK.
The GOU has implemented counternarcotics bilateral assistance agreements with the USG. The FY92 agreement partially funded an epidemiological survey on narcotics use in Uruguay. The FY93 agreement provided funding for a pilot demand reduction project based on the survey results. The GOU is meeting the goals of the agreement. The GOU has implemented some controls against essential chemical production and transportation, but legislation is pending that would strengthen controls.
The GOU has honored one narcotics-related extradition request from the USG in the last year. However, Uruguayan judges have not granted extradition requests for money laundering charges, finding that money laundering is not covered under the US-Uruguay extradition treaty. Ratification of the 1988 UN Convention would remedy this situation.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In October, the GOU, recognizing that its drug law enforcement agency needed greater organizational flexibility, abolished the antidrug brigade which was located within the Intelligence Directorate of the Interior Ministry. The GOU then established the Directorate General for the Repression of Illicit Drug Trafficking, which reports directly to the Interior Minister. Drug seizures increased under the new entity. Uruguayan authorities in 1993 charged 119 persons with drug crimes and seized about 32 kgs of marijuana and 19 kgs of cocaine. In 1992, cocaine seizures amounted to only 3 kgs. Uruguayan law enforcement agencies in general are ill-equipped, underpaid, and poorly trained to implement aggressive narcotics enforcement operations. Moreover, law enforcement officers are held personally responsible for damages related to official actions, a further impediment to vigorous enforcement of narcotics laws and regulations. In reaction to human rights abuses during the military dictatorship, the courts and the GOU strictly respect privacy rights.
Corruption. Uruguay's ethics law for public officials is an effective deterrent against corruption. However, low salaries for lower ranking officials could foster corruption. As a matter of policy, the GOU does not encourage or facilitate in any way the illicit production or distribution of drugs or other controlled substances. There is no evidence that any senior GOU official engages in such activities, or in money laundering.
Agreements and Treaties. The US and Uruguay have an extradition treaty signed in 1973. The bilateral MLAT signed in 1991 was ratified by the parliament in November and is to enter into force shortly. The GOU signed similar bilateral agreements with the U.K., Spain, and Brazil in 1991 and 1992. The U.K. treaty was ratified in late 1993, while the other two await final approval. The GOU also signed the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, a multilateral MLAT, but it has not yet entered into force. The GOU also has signed the 1988 UN Convention on Narcotics, which the chamber of deputies approved in November 1992. Senate action is still pending. Nevertheless, the GOU took steps toward meeting the convention's goals and objectives. It improved its law enforcement capabilities, introduced money laundering and chemical control legislation, and increased demand reduction efforts. The USG did not make any narcotics-related extradition requests, nor, to our knowledge, did any third country. Uruguay has asset seizure laws dating from the 1930s, but we know of no narcotics-related case in which these laws were applied. Pending legislation, if passed, will bring Uruguay into conformity with the UN Convention objectives on asset seizure codes.
Drug Flow/Transit. Seizures of cocaine during the year, along with the testimony of the traffickers about their routes and plans for distribution, demonstrate that traffickers use Uruguay as a transit point for shipments of cocaine to Europe and the US. The GOU cooperates on international investigations and is working with the USG to establish the JICC so that information on the movement of narcotics can be readily collated and shared.
Domestic Programs. Private organizations and local governments implement almost all demand reduction programs in Uruguay. Lacking adequate funding, the National Commission has been unable to organize a comprehensive demand reduction program. The epidemiological study on narcotics use in Uruguay, partially funded by the USG, marked the first major step towards establishing a demand reduction program. FY93 USG counternarcotics assistance includes funding for a demand reduction pilot program in two Montevideo neighborhoods.
IV. USG Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG counternarcotics effort in Uruguay focuses on improving the GOU's capabilities to fight money laundering, drug transit, diversion of precursor chemicals and drug use, and to cooperate internationally in narcotics and money laundering efforts.
Bilateral Cooperation. The GOU improved its ability to detect and prevent money laundering following USG-sponsored training courses and briefings. However, it still has not taken the necessary steps to make money laundering an extraditable offense, such as ratifying the 1988 UN Convention. Uruguayan law enforcement agencies have increased intelligence collection, but strict bank secrecy laws have stymied USG access to bank and business records sought through the letter rogatory process. The establishment of the Directorate General Antidrug Police and the entering into force of the MLAT also will improve opportunities for enhanced bilateral narcotics cooperation. GOU police units who attended USG law enforcement training courses, have made several arrests of international narcotics traffickers.
Road Ahead. The USG will increase efforts to convince a larger segment of the GOU and the Uruguayan public that money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and drug abuse pose serious threats to Uruguay's society and the integrity of its banking sector.
Venezuela is a transit country for narcotics moving from Colombia to the US and Europe, as well as for chemicals diverted to Colombia for use in cocaine processing. It is also a financial center for money laundering. Although Venezuela is not a source country for narcotics, there is some cultivation of marijuana and coca near the Colombian border. Colombian traffickers and insurgent groups increasingly penetrate Venezuela's porous border. In 1993, the GOV enacted a new narcotics law which made drug money laundering a crime in Venezuela, but does not address effectively other forms of money laundering. Although the Guardia Nacional (GN) and Technical Judicial Police (PTJ) scored several notable successes in 1993 against narcotics traffickers and money launderers, there were fewer drug seizures than in 1992. Changes in the leadership of the GN led to revived cooperation with USG law enforcement agencies. Corruption poses a threat to the Government of Venezuela's (GOV) democratic institutions and is a significant impediment to effective narcotics control programs.
The removal from office of President Carlos Andres Perez for embezzlement in May 1993 shook public confidence in the GOV. In the December general elections, voters chose Rafael Caldera president. The degree to which the Caldera administration focuses on the drug issue will affect USG counternarcotics programs in Venezuela. The GOV ratified in 1990 the 1988 UN Convention with reservations on extradition.
II. Status of Country
Venezuela faces an increasing threat from narcotics trafficking. An estimated 100 to 200 metric tons of Colombian-produced cocaine transit Venezuela annually, primarily concealed in commercial containers aboard ocean vessels and aircraft. Venezuela is a transit country for precursor and essential chemicals to process cocaine. Chemicals from Europe and the US generally enter through Venezuela's major ports and are diverted overland or through the Orinoco river system to Colombian laboratories. The GOV is developing a chemical control policy consistent with the guidelines of the 1988 UN Convention and signed a bilateral chemical agreement with the USG in 1992. Several chemicals, however, remain uncontrolled.
The money laundering legislation that the GOV passed in 1993 represents a major step forward, despite some shortcomings. The law lacks adequate asset forfeiture procedures and conspiracy provisions, and fails to criminalize money laundering other than drug-related laundering. The USG is working with the GOV to correct the law's deficiencies.
Traffickers are exploiting the lack of border controls in Venezuela to transship large quantities of cocaine. In 1993, seizures in other countries of cocaine shipped through Venezuela totalled about 10 metric tons, most concealed in legitimate cargo. Narcotics possession, refining and trafficking are illegal in Venezuela and are punishable by imprisonment. Evidence suggests that small fields of marijuana and coca are cultivated in the Sierra de Perija region on the border with Colombia, but the extent of production in Venezuela is unknown. Cultivation of coca, opium poppy and cannabis is illegal, and the GOV has taken some steps to eradicate such crops.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. The GOV and the USG cooperate in judicial, strategic, interdiction, demand reduction, and public awareness drug control initiatives. The USG works closely with several Venezuelan entities: the Judicial Technical Police (PTJ), the Directorate for Intelligence Services and Prevention (DISIP), the GN, the Venezuelan Marines and the Venezuelan Coast Guard. The USG suspended assistance to the GN in November 1991 based on allegations of corruption against that unit. After the GOV made changes in the GN, including its leadership in July, cooperation resumed. The GOV is repairing its air defense radar network and completing construction on elements of the Caribbean Basin Radar Network (CBRN). Major law enforcement operations against money launderers led to arrests and document seizures that helped dismantle trafficking organizations tied to the Cali Cartel. An epidemiological survey of drug use and a media campaign against drug use are in progress. There are ongoing USG-sponsored Administration of Justice programs, including assistance on drug trafficking cases, and a World Bank Judicial Infrastructure project. Nevertheless, the GOV must work more effectively to marshal the country's narcotics law enforcement agencies against the corruptive influence of the drug trade.
Accomplishments. The Venezuelan Government took several major measures to comply with the 1988 UN Convention, including enactment of the new narcotics law which criminalizes drug-related money laundering, strengthens enforcement actions against narcotics traffickers and money launderers, and improves cooperation with law enforcement agencies of the US and other countries. However, the law fails to criminalize other forms of money laundering and lacks conspiracy provisions. Therefore, it does not completely fulfill the objectives of the UN Convention. The USG would like to see the GOV amend the law to include conspiracy provisions.
The PTJ, with USG assistance, conducted two major international money laundering investigations. In October, the GN, with assistance from DEA and other USG agencies, conducted operations against a major alleged money launderer. Subsequent Venezuelan court rulings, however, called his arrest into question. The USG is working with the GOV to facilitate prosecution of this case.
The Venezuelan Constitution prohibits extradition of the country's nationals. Accordingly, Venezuela took a reservation to Article 6 of the UN Convention. The new narcotics law does not alter the extradition law. Venezuela can and does expel foreign nationals convicted in Venezuela of narcotics offenses or wanted for crimes committed in other countries. Although an extradition treaty with the US has been in effect since 1923, there have been no extraditions in recent years.
The GOV has cooperated with legal assistance requests from other governments. In September, it expelled to Rome an Italian fugitive charged with narcotics trafficking. In December, the GOV expelled to the US a Cuban national wanted for narcotics trafficking and other offenses.
The US and Venezuela signed a chemical control agreement in 1992, but the GOV has yet to agree on the USG-suggested list of chemicals to be monitored under the agreement. The USG would like to include methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), toluene, and acetic anhydride. Although the agreement is not formally in force, in June, DEA and the PTJ conducted a joint chemical diversion investigation and seized over 2,000 gallons of MEK in Caracas. Maritime and riverine interdiction programs are progressing in coastal areas and in Puerto Ayacucho in southwestern Venezuela. The GOV uses USG-provided Boston Whalers and other vessels in these areas where narcotics traffickers ship chemicals and drugs between Colombia and Venezuela.
There are reports of small coca and marijuana fields cultivated along the Colombian border, particularly in the Sierra de Perija region. There may also be some illicit cultivation in the heavily forested Amazon region. Since the GOV alone cannot evaluate accurately the extent of narcotics cultivation in Venezuela, the USG is helping to establish a viable program.
Demand reduction. Under the USG-GOV 1992 Memorandum of Understanding on public awareness, the USG supports demand reduction programs conducted by the Venezuelan National Drug Council (CONACUID), the Health Ministry, and various NGOs. In 1993, CONACUID conducted a pilot epidemiological study to determine the extent of drug use in Venezuela, the results of which will provide the basis for a comprehensive 1994 national survey. The Fundacion Jose Felix Ribas, with financial support from UNDCP, has developed school and family-oriented national drug prevention campaigns. The absence of a national drug strategy and a lack of GOV support for CONACUID, however, hamper such prevention efforts. USG efforts focus on encouraging the GOV to develop a national drug strategy and to invigorate prevention programs.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Venezuelan law enforcement agencies (the PTJ, the GN, and the Intelligence Service/DISIP) cooperated in 1993 with USG on law enforcement operations. Police conducted raids on money launderers, investigated narcotics trafficking groups, and arrested about 5,100 persons for narcotics trafficking offenses.
Drug seizures of narcotics in Venezuela declined in 1993. Venezuelan law enforcement agencies seized 2.0 metric tons of cocaine and 1.3 metric tons of "basuco". Ten metric tons of cocaine which had transited Venezuela were seized in 1993. The drugs were concealed primarily in containers of legitimate export cargo. In August, US Customs in Miami discovered 3.5 metric tons of cocaine hidden in roofing tiles from Valencia, Venezuela. Belgian police seized another 2.2 metric tons of cocaine hidden in a coal shipment bound for the Netherlands from Maracaibo.
Corruption. Corruption is a serious problem in Venezuela and has impeded narcotics control cooperation. A judge presiding over the case of a major money launderer was removed from the case, the result of pressure from sources suspected of being close to the defendant. Few arrests of major drug criminals culminate in prosecution and prison sentences. The GOV does not, as a matter of policy, encourage illicit production or distribution of drugs or the laundering of drug money. A senior official was accused of being involved in the illicit drug trade, but no arrest was made. He has now been retired from the military.
Agreements and Treaties. Venezuela is a party to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Convention. Venezuela has signed annual narcotics control agreements with the USG since 1987, as well as bilateral agreements with Ecuador, Colombia, and other countries to cooperate in law enforcement. The GOV engaged in cross-border operations with Colombia, but achieved limited results. Venezuela has signed a chemical control agreement with the USG, but has not passed legislation on chemical control. Venezuela cooperates well with the USG on maritime interdiction, facilitated by the signing of a bilateral agreement in 1991. The GOV has also signed the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance. The Convention, which is not yet in force, is a multilateral mutual legal assistance treaty. The GOV entered into several agreements on narcotics control and enacted domestic legislation which addresses the goals and objectives of the UN Convention. Although it is generally meeting such goals and objectives, the GOV needs to enforce and implement such agreements more effectively, particularly in the areas of prosecution of drug and money laundering offenses and chemical controls.
Drug Flow/transit. Illicit drugs enter Venezuela from Colombia overland at a number of border crossing points. Large shipments are concealed in containers of legitimate cargo, while smaller amounts are carried by couriers. Drugs are then transshipped to the US and Europe by air cargo and seagoing vessels.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG's international narcotics control policy is to assist the GOV to develop a comprehensive drug strategy, to enhance the GOV's institutional ability to conduct counternarcotics and money laundering interdiction operations, to strengthen the Venezuelan legal system's capacity to prosecute cases, and to enlist the top levels of the Venezuelan Government to support tougher law enforcement measures against narcotics traffickers. GOV support for judicial initiatives and cooperation between GOV law enforcement agencies are key to counternarcotics policy. Maritime and riverine interdiction projects should mature into capable law enforcement and interdiction entities with USG assistance.
Bilateral Cooperation. USG policy has focused on improving the investigative and operational capabilities of the three major national police forces (GN, PTJ and Intelligence Service/DISIP) by providing them with training, equipment and vehicles. In 1994, the USG will encourage the GOV to enact chemical control legislation and to amend the money laundering law. The USG also funded the establishment of the GN's detector dog school, which has developed into a regional training facility.
In 1993, the USG began programs with the Venezuelan Coast Guard and Venezuelan Marines. The USG is providing them with patrol boats, communications equipment and training to enhance their interdiction and chemical control effectiveness along the Caribbean coast and on the western Orinoco river system. Future collaboration with Colombian border authorities and a greater GOV presence in the area will enhance counternarcotics performance there. To enhance these interdiction efforts, a US Customs team will provide specialized training.
USG assistance has also focused on heightening public awareness over the threat which drug trafficking and money laundering pose to the country's democratic institutions. The crop control project focuses on Venezuela's suspected cultivation problem. Drug abuse surveys and prevention campaigns address Venezuela's belief that drug use is increasing among all age groups there.
The Road Ahead. USG cooperation with the new Caldera administration is pivotal to counternarcotics efforts in Venezuela. Drug traffickers from Colombia will likely continue to use Venezuela as a major shipping point, taking advantage of the new Caldera administration should it fail to institute a strong drug control policy. Cooperation will seek to foster effective Venezuelan law enforcement and police organizations, strong judicial action and money laundering efforts, and better control of its land borders, ports and airspace.
[Chart: Statistical Tables]
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