Cablegate: 2008-2009 International Narcotics


DE RUEHTL #0384/01 3100602
R 050602Z NOV 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A) STATE 100992

1. (U) The following is Embassy Tallinn's submission for
the 2008 - 2009 (EUR) International Narcotics Control
Strategy Report (INCSR) Part I, Drugs and Chemical


2. (U) The seizures of record amounts of narcotic
substances, destruction of cannabis plantations and
detection of drug trafficking conspiracies, as well as
arrests of Estonian drug traffickers abroad indicate drug
production and transit activity are ongoing in Estonia.
They are also indications of the success of
counternarcotics efforts by Estonian law enforcement
agencies. Except for the higher HIV-infection rate among
intravenous drug users, the drug situation in Estonia is
similar to that in other European countries. Estonia is
a party to the main international drug control
conventions, including the UN Convention Against Illicit
Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances


3. (U) Trimethylphentanyl- an opiate-synthetic drug
"White Persian," and heroin continue to be Estonia's most
popular illegal narcotics in 2008, but ecstasy,
amphetamines, gammahydroxylbutyrate (GHB), cannabis and
poppy are also available in Estonia. The frequent
arrests of drug traffickers at the border and seizure of
precursors (see para 14) indicate Estonia's involvement
in synthetic drugs production. While its cold climate
inhibits Estonia from being a major drug cultivator, in
five months Estonian police detected and destroyed five
cannabis plantations demonstrating drug dealers'
intentions to start supplying the domestic market locally
(see para 11). Also, in recent years a number of
Estonian drug traffickers have been arrested in foreign
countries, showing that Estonian drug traffickers are
involved in the international illegal drug trade (see
para 10). Seizures of large quantities of narcotic
substances by Estonian law enforcement agencies indicate
that Estonia is located on a drug transit route in the
region but also that Estonian Police and Customs and
Border Guard are making special efforts to reign in the
illegal drug trade.

4. (U) According to Government of Estonia (GOE) and NGO
estimates, there are about 14,000 intravenous drug users
(IDUs) in Estonia - about one per cent of the population.
Due to the large number of IDUs, Estonia has the highest
growth rate per capita of HIV infections in Europe. As
of October 2008, a total of 6,808 cases of HIV have been
registered nationwide, 444 of which were registered in
2008. To date, AIDS has been diagnosed in a total of 247
people, 56 of whom were diagnosed in 2008. Male IDUs
still account for the largest share of newly registered
HIV cases. However, in 2008, young women made up 32
percent of new HIV cases, indicating that the HIV
epidemic is starting to spread to the general population.
(NOTE: The women making up these new cases come largely
from among IDUs and their sexual partners. END NOTE)


5. (U) POLICY INIATIVES. Estonia's domestic anti-
narcotics legal framework is in compliance with
international drug conventions and European Union (EU)
narcotics regulations. As of January 1, 2008, the final
provisions of the Law Amending the Narcotic Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances Act (LANDPSA) adopted in 2007

came into force. The last amendments regulating
identification of narcotic psychotropic substances and
precursors brought the domestic law into compliance with
the United Nations (UN) Convention against Illicit
Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

6. (U) Following Estonia's accession to the European
Union Schengen visa convention in 2008, the number of
Finnish 'drug-tourists' travelling to Estonia legally to
buy psychotropic medicines has decreased significantly.
Under the Schengen regime, a traveler on narcotic or
psychotropic medication needs a permit from the State
Agency of Medicine (SAM). Further in 2008, in order to
eliminate illegal medical drug exportation to neighboring
countries (primarily Finland), the Minister of Social
Affairs issued a decree to terminate the sales of the
narcotic preparation Subotex in drug stores. After
January 1, 2009, Subotex will be available only for in-

7. (U) In 2008, the GOE continued implementation of its
2007-09 Action Plan based on the National Strategy on
Prevention of Drug Dependency for 2004-2012, adopted in
2003. Activities continued in all six objectives of the
strategy: prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, harm
reduction, demand reduction, addressing the problem of
drugs in prisons, and overall monitoring and evaluation
of the Action Plan.

8. (U) Also in 2008, Estonia continued to implement its
national 2006-2015 anti-HIV/AIDS strategy, which pledges
to bring about a steady reduction in the spread of HIV
and improve the quality of life of people with the
disease. The strategy pays special attention to
programs for various at-risk groups, including IDUs,
which currently form the largest sub-group within the HIV
positive population. The GOE plans to focus its
prevention efforts on young people and their parents,
with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of new
cases of HIV to the European regional average of 50-70
cases per one million people per year, or one-tenth the
current rate.

9. (U) After the United Nations Global Fund (GF) to Fight
HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria finished its four-year program
in Estonia in 2007, the GOE committed to take over all
HIV-related activities carried out under Global Fund's
$10.4 million grant. (Ref B) While the Ministry of
Social Affairs has overall coordinating responsibility,
each cabinet Minister is responsible for HIV prevention,
harm reduction and treatment in his or her administrative
area (i.e., Ministry of Justice - HIV in prisons;
Ministry of Defense - HIV in defense forces; Ministry of
Education and Research (MOER) - HIV prevention in schools
and colleges). In 2008, all involved ministries except
for the MOER carried out their responsibilities under the
anti-HIV strategy. MOER has not prioritized HIV
education and has not implemented mandated programs. As
the HIV-epidemic in Estonia is predominantly drug-driven,
narcotics prevention has formed a considerable part of
the extensive HIV/AIDS prevention programs in the schools
implemented by NGOs under the GF program. As these
programs were put on hold in 2008, there may also be a
negative impact on drug prevention efforts in schools.

10. (U) Under the anti-HIV strategy, the GOE established
a governmental committee to coordinate HIV and drug abuse
prevention activities in 2006. The committee comprises
representatives from the Ministries of Social Affairs,
Education and Research, Defense, Internal Affairs,
Justice, and Finance. The committee also includes
representatives of local governments, the World Health
Organization, organizations for people living with
HIV/AIDS, and members of the original working groups that
drafted the GOE's 2005-2015 anti-HIV/AIDS strategy. It
reports directly to the Cabinet on a bi-annual basis.

11. (U) LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS. Combating narcotics is
a major priority for Estonian law enforcement agencies.
Police, customs officials and the border guard maintain

good cooperation on counter-narcotics activities.
Currently, about 90 police officers work solely on drug
issues. Their primary mission is to destroy
international drug rings, rather than to catch individual
suppliers. In addition to these full time counter-
narcotics officers, all local constables also process
drug-related misdemeanor acts. From January-August 2007,
the Estonian police registered 1,034 drug-related
criminal cases and 4,333 misdemeanor acts. The year-by-
year increase in the number of drug related crimes
investigated by police is evidence that the Estonian
Police are increasing their efforts to reign in the
illegal drug trade. As Estonia's major weekly newspaper
recently reported, the disappearance of cannabis from the
domestic market was a direct result of several counter-
narcotics operations carried out by police. From December
2007 to May 2008, police detected five major cannabis
plantations and destroyed over 1,200 plants. In May, a
criminal case was started against two men from Tallinn
growing cannabis in central Estonia. During the
operation the police seized 760 cannabis plants plus
'ready-made products', the largest number of cannabis
plants ever seized in Estonia.

12. (U) In June, officers of the North Police Prefecture
drug squad seized 36.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, a
record amount of this substance confiscated from
criminals in Estonia. The seizure amounted to an
estimated 70,000 doses with a total street value of $1.6
million. According to the prosecutor, such a large
amount was clearly not intended just for the Estonian
market. During the same operation 5.2 kilograms of
hashish were also confiscated. In September, together
with the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB), the drug
squad of the Northern Prefecture arrested an Estonian who
had swallowed capsules containing 700 grams of pure
cocaine with a street value of $250,000. He had been
tasked to take the capsules from the West African coast
to London, but flew to Tallinn instead, where he was

13. (U) According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
from January 2006 to June 2008, 89 Estonian drug
traffickers have been arrested abroad. Fifteen of these
came in the first six months of 2008 (10 in Europe, three
in South America, two in the U.S.)

14. (U) Combating the illicit narcotics trade is also a
top priority for the ETCB. All customs, investigation,
and information officers have received special training
in narcotics control, and all customs border points are
equipped with rapid drug tests. There are about 100
customs officers working on the Estonia-Russian border
(the European Union's easternmost border). About 150
Customs officers work in mobile units all over Estonia.
Six customs officers deal with information analysis and
14 officers from the Investigation Department specialize
solely on narcotic- related crimes. All four Customs
regions have a designated narcotics control liaison
officer, and are supported by narcotics analysts in the
Tallinn headquarters. There are 18 Customs teams with 21
drug sniffing dogs. (NOTE: Estonian drug sniffing dogs
are among the best in Europe. They recently won prizes
at an international contest for customs drug dogs. END
NOTE) In March, a drug sniffing dog detected 36 bottles
(about 22 liters) of precursor for amphetamine in the car
of a Lithuanian citizen. The seizure prevented up to 20
kilograms of amphetamine from reaching the streets.
During several operations from December 2007 through
April 2008, customs investigators seized about three
kilos of marijuana with a street value of $90,000 that
involved the same criminal group acting in different
sites in Estonia.

15. (U) CORRUPTION. Estonia is a relatively corruption-
free country, receiving high scores on international
corruption and economic transparency indices, and out-
performing all other new EU member states, except for
Slovenia, and some of the old EU-15 countries. The GOE
does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or

distribution of narcotics or psychotropic drugs or the
laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
There are no reports of any senior official of the GOE
engaging in, encouraging, or facilitating the illicit
production or distribution of narcotic substances.

16. (U) AGREEMENTS AND TREATIES. Estonia is party to the
main international drug control conventions: the UN
Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), the UN
Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971), the UN
Convention against Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs
and Psychotropic Substances (1988), and the Council of
Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure, and
Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime (1990). A 1924
extradition treaty, supplemented in 1934, remains in
force between the United States and Estonia, and a mutual
legal assistance treaty in criminal matters was entered
into by the countries in 2000. In 2006, the Estonian
Parliament ratified a new Estonian-U.S. extradition
agreement and a revised agreement on mutual legal
assistance in criminal matters. The new agreement is in
compliance with agreements previously signed between the
EU and the United States as well as a 2002 decision of
the EU Council concerning arrest warrants and transfer
procedures. The agreement is not yet in force, as
ratification is pending in U.S. Senate. Estonia is a
party to the UN Convention against Transnational
Organized Crime and its three protocols. Estonia's
domestic drug legislation is consistent with
international laws combating illicit drugs.

17. (U) CULTIVATION/PRODUCTION. Estonia's cold climate
precludes it from becoming a major drug cultivator.
However, the recent destruction of cannabis plantations
show Estonians' involvement in small scale marijuana
production for the domestic market (see para 11). Also,
in northeastern Estonia small amounts of poppies are
grown for domestic consumption. Nevertheless, seized
precursors at the border indicate that synthetic
narcotics production is ongoing in Estonia. According to
drug-prevention NGOs, most of the labs are very small and
mobile, making it difficult to detect and close them. In
addition to production for domestic consumption,
synthetic drugs produced in Estonia are exported to
neighboring countries, including the Nordic countries and
northwestern Russia. According to press reports, 90
percent of amphetamine available on the Finnish market
comes from or via Estonia.

18. (U) DRUG FLOW/TRANSIT. Estonia's geographical
position makes it attractive to drug smugglers. Frequent
arrests of drug traffickers and seizures of narcotic
substances at the border indicate Estonia's involvement
in the international drug trade, but also demonstrate the
high performance level of Estonian law enforcement
agencies. Frequent arrests of Estonian drug traffickers
around the world show their involvement in the
international drug trade.

Estonia continued to implement its 2004-2012 National
Strategy on the Prevention of Drug Dependency. Combating
the drug trade and reigning in domestic consumption
continue to be high priorities for all Estonian law
enforcement agencies and for key government ministries.
There are more than 60 governmental, non-governmental,
and private entities in Estonia working with IDUs to
provide services to decrease demand and reduce harm.
Currently, there are six voluntary HIV testing and
counseling centers providing services at ten sites. The
GOE and local governments fund these centers. A needle
exchange program is operational in 43 sites, including 13
field work areas and a number of mobile needle exchange
stations are in operation in Tallinn and northeast
Estonia. Six organizations provide methadone treatment
at eight sites in Tallinn and northeast Estonia. A toll-
free helpline for drug addicts is operational 24 hours a
day. 18 organizations provide drug rehabilitation
services. There are 11 major rehabilitation centers
nationwide, four of which are church-sponsored.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

20. (U) In 2008, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
negotiated with the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) the
second phase of a project entitled "DOD HIV/AIDS
Prevention Program" to raise the awareness of military
personnel and to assist in the creation of a sustainable
EDF HIV/AIDS prevention system. In the second phase the
EDF will procure rapid tests to map the HIV situation
among conscripts. In June 2008, post's Office of Defense
Cooperation issued a USD 200,000 grant under its
humanitarian assistance program, to complete construction
of the first ever rehabilitation center for drug-addicted

21. (U) Post utilized the Department's International
Visitors Program on HIV in 2008 to familiarize Estonian
experts with U.S. practices in the fight against
HIV/AIDS. In October, under the Department's Voluntary
Visitors Program, six Estonian HIV case management
experts visited the best HIV case management program
sites in the United States.

V. Statistical Tables

22. N/A


23. (U) Estonia's principal legislation on chemical
controls - the Act on Narcotic and Psychotropic
Substances and Precursors (ANPSP) - implements the 1988
UN Drug Convention objectives and is in full compliance
with EU legislation on drug precursors. In accordance
with the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and
the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substance, the
ANPSP categorizes chemical substances into three
categories. None of the substances in any of the three
categories are produced in Estonia.

24. (U) The first specified controlled substance category
under the ANPSP includes ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
Under the law, a license is needed to possess, market,
import, export, or broker these substances. The Bureau
of Import, Export, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic
Substances of the State Agency of Medicine (SAM) is
responsible for chemical control in Estonia. Currently,
the SAM has issued one ephedrine handling license to a
wholesaler who obtains the substance from within the EU
common market. The SAM has not issued any licenses to
import or export ephedrine to or from third countries.
The annual use of ephedrine in Estonia is about six
kilograms. The GOE has a pre-export notification
procedure even though Estonia does not manufacture
medicines that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.

25. (U) Potassium permanganate and acetic anhydride are
included in the ANPSP's second category of controlled
substances. Annual use in Estonia for both substances is
less than one hundred kilos, although SAM contacts tell
us that in the future they may have to refer USG requests
for such data to Brussels for a centralized EU response.
In order to handle, market, import, or export potassium
permanganate and acetic anhydride, the producing and
marketing venue must be registered with the SAM.
Currently, the SAM registry includes 15 companies that
process potassium permanganate, and eight companies that
process acetic anhydride. These companies are primarily
involved in importing these substances from the EU or
marketing them within the EU. In order to export
potassium permanganate and acetic anhydride, an export
license and a pre-export notification are required.
Neither potassium permanganate nor acetic anhydride is

produced in Estonia, and the SAM has not issued any
licenses to export these substances to third countries.
The third category of drugs under the ANPSP is not
relevant to this report.


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