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Cablegate: 2002 International Narcotics Control Strategy

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 COLOMBO 002304

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SA/INS, INL

JUSTICE FOR OIA, AFMLS, AND NDDS

TREASURY FOR FINCEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PGOV PREL CE MV
SUBJECT: 2002 International Narcotics Control Strategy
Report for Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Refs: (A) State 240035
- (B) State 240015

1. Please find attached Mission's 2002 International
Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INSCR). Responses to
Ref B queries re Sri Lanka are covered in Paragraph two
and the Maldives in paragraph three. Information on
money laundering requested in Ref A will be provided by
Septel.

=========
SRI LANKA
=========

2. Mission's draft of the 2002 INSCR for Sri Lanka
follows. Responses are keyed to questions in Ref B.

BEGIN TEXT:

I. Summary:

Sri Lanka has a comparatively modest drug problem. The
government maintains a solid counternarcotics record,
including a strong nation-wide demand reduction program.
The U.S. government has a close relationship with the
Sri Lankan government on counternarcotics issues.
Supported by the U.S. Embassy, efforts at public
education on drug abuse continued during the year. The
country remained an effective regional player in
counternarcotics cooperation. An ongoing ceasefire with
the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has enabled
the government to commit more officials to
counternarcotics efforts, thus strengthening Sri Lanka's
counternarcotics activities. The government continued
to make available to other nations in the South Asian
Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) a U.S.
government-funded database on narcotics arrests and
related information. Sri Lanka has signed the UN Drug
Convention, although Parliament still had not considered
the enabling legislation for the convention as of the
end of 2002.

II. Status of Country:

Sri Lanka is not a major producer of narcotics or
precursor chemicals. Some evidence exists that Sri
Lanka may be a transit point for a limited amount of
narcotics. With respect to its domestic situation, Sri
Lanka has a modest drug problem with continued
consumption of heroin and cannabis.

III. Country Action Against Drugs in 2002:

-- Policy Initiatives: In 2002, the Sri Lankan
government continued to maintain a good track record on
counternarcotics issues. One primary change affecting
operations during 2002 was the December 2001 transfer of
jurisdiction of the police -- who are responsible for
counternarcotics and demand reduction activities -- from
the Ministry of Defense to the Ministry of Interior.
The change in leadership coincided with a cessation of
hostilities with the LTTE and was implemented by the new
government elected on December 5, 2001. During the 19-
year conflict with the LTTE, the police were often
called on to assist in prosecuting the war effort
against the LTTE. This was clearly evident in the
decrease in personnel in police bureaus, including the
Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB). The past year has seen
the PNB refocus on the Sri Lankan counternarcotics
masterplan drafted with the assistance of the UN Drug
Control Program (UNDCP) and initially implemented in
1994. The PNB increased its staff from approximately
150 officers to just over 200. With the cessation of
hostilities between the government and the LTTE, PNB
officers were able to focus on counternarcotics
investigations instead of being constantly pulled aside
for additional duties.
At the end of the year, the government had not yet
submitted to Parliament the comprehensive
counternarcotics legislative package drafted by the
National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB), the
government agency responsible for coordinating national
drug policies. The proposed legislation was being
reviewed by the Attorney General's office at year's end.
During 2002, the NDDCB, in anticipation of the eventual
implementation of its legislative package, was
developing monitoring mechanisms for current and
upcoming counternarcotics legislation.

-- Accomplishments: In January 2001, the Sri Lankan
government signed an extradition treaty with the United
States. Sri Lanka continued to work with SAARC on
regional narcotics issues.

-- Law Enforcement Efforts: The PNB, the Customs
Service, and the Department of Excise share
responsibility for discouraging cannabis production. At
mid-year, the PNB was forecasting a reduction in the
annual seizure rate of narcotics. At year's end,
however, a series of seizures, including approximately
20kg of heroin in November, dramatically increased the
total amount of narcotics seized.

((NOTE: At this time, the annual statistics on seizures
and arrests are not yet available from the Sri Lankan
government. Per instructions in Ref B, Mission will
forward the statistics, as they become available.))

-- Corruption: Although there were rumors (nothing
confirmed) of bribery of low-level government officials
by narcotics dealers in 2002, there was no evidence that
public officials engaged in narcotics trafficking. In
one case a former police officer was arrested for
narcotics trafficking and was awaiting trial at year's
end. In 1994, the government established a permanent
commission to investigate charges of bribery and
corruption against public officials. No narcotics-
related corruption cases were reportedly reviewed by
this body during 2002.

-- Agreements and Treaties: Sri Lanka has signed the
1988 UN Drug Convention, and the 1990 SAARC convention
on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Enabling
legislation for both conventions, initially drafted by
the NDDCB in 1997, still had not reached Parliament at
year's end. The Attorney General's office was reviewing
the legislation. In January 2001, the Sri Lankan
government enacted a new extradition treaty with the
United States. Sri Lanka has also signed the following
agreements: World Customs Organization Convention; the
International Convention on Investigation and Repression
of Customs Offences (the Nairobi Convention); the Single
Convention on Narcotic Drugs, along with the 1972
Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic
Drugs; and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substance
(signed in 1993).

-- Cultivation and Production: With respect to illicit
narcotic substances, Sri Lanka is only known to produce
cannabis, and Sri Lanka's production has little, if any,
effect on the United States. Most cannabis cultivation
occurs in heavy jungle in the southeastern part of the
island, adjacent to previous areas of conflict. The
police have an active program to find and destroy
cannabis crops.

((NOTE: At this time, the annual statistics on
eradication efforts are not yet available from the Sri
Lankan government. Per instructions in Ref B, Mission
will forward the statistics, as they become available.))

-- Drug Flow/Transit: Some heroin reportedly transits
Sri Lanka. Unlike 2001, no major seizures occurred at
Colombo's international airport. Customs officials and
the PNB suspect that narcotics are brought into Sri
Lanka by ship from India. During 2002, India reported
large-scale seizures of heroin headed for Sri Lanka in
Chennai. The PNB regularly stressed their country's
vulnerability to transshipment of heroin from India due
to Sri Lanka's long coastline. Sri Lanka has no coast
guard and the primary operations of Sri Lanka's naval
vessels were in efforts to prevent the inflow of weapons
to the LTTE. This lack of seagoing capability hinders
interdiction efforts.

-- Domestic Programs: The government has an excellent
record on demand reduction. The NDDCB continued its
aggressive national public education campaign. In
addition, the PNB in conjunction with NGOs, and after
U.S. government-funded training through the Colombo
Plan, initiated an anti-narcotics education campaign in
late 2002 in schools nation-wide. The NDDCB, through
international and local funding, provides training on
prevention techniques and has established four free
treatment and rehabilitation centers in Sri Lanka. The
courses offered by NDDCB are directed at judicial
officers, police officers, students, teachers, and
parents. The Colombo Plan also continued extensive
rehabilitation and prevention training programs. Until
2002, the Colombo Plan worked primarily with NGOs in Sri
Lanka. Due to the ongoing ceasefire, the PNB has been
able to allocate more time to training for its personnel
and has worked with the Colombo Plan to expand the
police officers' focus from only interdiction to include
prevention techniques.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs:

-- U.S. Policy Initiatives: The U.S. government has a
close relationship with the Sri Lankan government on
counternarcotics issues. In addition to providing
material and financial support, the U.S. Embassy in Sri
Lanka has participated actively in community awareness
seminars. The U.S. government hopes to advance self-
sufficiency and co-operation among law enforcement and
other government officials working on narcotics issues
in Sri Lanka and the region. In 2002, several PNB
officers participated in an Anti-Terrorist Assistance
training program in the United States and Sri Lanka.
The U.S. government is the principle contributor to the
Colombo Plan's Drug Advisory Program (DAP), providing
over USD 300,000 to the program in 2002. The funding
was used to conduct regional and country-specific
training seminars with government and NGO
representatives on education, awareness, rehabilitation,
and prevention techniques. The DAP also contributed
directly to awareness campaigns in Colombo.

-- Bilateral Cooperation: In previous years, the U.S.
government assisted several Sri Lankan organizations in
their counternarcotics efforts. In 1998, the U.S.
government provided close to USD 7,000 for equipment
purchases to the NDDCB, the Federation of Non-
Governmental Organizations Against Drug Abuse
(FONGOADA), and the Sri Lanka Anti-Narcotics
Association. In August 2000, more than 30 participants
from narcotics enforcement agencies in four countries
attended an anti-narcotics investigative techniques
course in Colombo funded by the U.S. government and
conducted by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). In
2002, the U.S. continued to provide training to the Sri
Lankan government. In December, for example, the DEA
conducted a training program on airport interdiction
techniques for 26 participants from Sri Lanka and four
participants from the Maldives.

-- Road Ahead: The U.S. government will continue to
work with Sri Lankan counternarcotics organizations
whenever possible, particularly by speaking at or
otherwise participating in seminars addressing the drug
problem. The overall level of U.S. counternarcotics
assistance to Sri Lanka is expected to incrementally
increase in 2003. The U.S. expects to continue its
support of the Colombo Plan, and already has agreements
to conduct additional training with the PNB and other
government officials involved in counternarcotics
efforts.
V. Statistical Tables:

((NOTE: At this time, the annual statistics on
eradication efforts are not yet available from the Sri
Lankan government. Per instructions in Ref B, Mission
will forward the statistics, as they become available.))

END TEXT.

========
MALDIVES
========

3. Mission's draft of the 2002 INSCR for the Maldives
follows.

BEGIN TEXT:

The Maldives is not a major producer of narcotics or
precursor chemicals. No concrete evidence exists that
the Maldives is a transit point for narcotics. Some
Maldivian officials believe their country may become a
transshipment point, however.

Consisting of approximately 1,100 islands set in the
Indian Ocean, and with a population of approximately
270,000, the Republic of the Maldives has a
comparatively small drug problem that appears to be
growing. The government is aware of the problem and is
fully cooperative with the U.S. on counternarcotic
issues. The fact that children under 16 constitute
about 50 percent of the population makes police and UNDP
officials wary of the high growth potential for drug use
in the country. Nonetheless, the police believe they
can control the sale of drugs on the streets of the
capital and most populated city, Male. Police officials
believe that some of the country's approximately 25,000
foreign workers, mainly Indians and Sri Lankans who work
in the country's resorts, conduct most of the
trafficking, which is believed to be limited.

Although there is no evidence yet to indicate that the
Maldives is a transshipment point at this time,
international observers and some government officials
fear that the Maldives has the potential to become a
transshipment point for smugglers. Most drugs are
believed to come into the country by sea, but the
Customs Service and police find it impossible to search
all ships adequately. In late 2002, the government
participated in training with Sri Lanka on using drug
sniffing dogs to help search vessels.

The U.S. has assisted the Maldives in counternarcotics
activities, including via direct training or through the
Colombo Plan. With U.S. government funding, the
Maldivian government began to computerize its
immigration record-keeping system in 1993 in an attempt,
among other purposes, to track the movements of
suspected drug traffickers. Starting in 1996 the U.S.
has contributed USD 33,000 to implement and then expand
this computer system.

In November 1997, the Maldivian government established a
Narcotics Control Board (NCB) under the Executive Office
of the President. The Board's Commissioner, a military
officer, has concurrent duties in the Maldivian National
Security Service. The NCB principally overseas
rehabilitation of addicts, and co-ordinates the efforts
of NGOs and other individuals engaged in
counternarcotics activities. He also co-ordinates drug
interdiction activities.

In 1997, the government established the country's first
drug rehabilitation center with space for several dozen
clients. With the expansion of the rehabilitation
program, and a move to the land previously occupied by
the national prison, the center now houses up to 300
clients at any one time. The center cannot keep pace
with the number of people ordered to undergo
rehabilitation, however. At times there are as many
people under house arrest and awaiting a position in the
camp, as there are individuals undergoing treatment. In
addition to the camp, the NCB has established a
continuing prevention program designed to prevent
relapse. The government also launched an ongoing drug
awareness campaign in 1998. In conjunction with the
national effort, the government sent teams to 11 of the
19 atolls to conduct awareness campaigns and to assist
in drug detection.

The Republic of the Maldives has no extradition treaty
with the United States. In 1994, however, the Maldives
cooperated with the U.S. in rendering a Nigerian
national to the United States to face narcotics
trafficking charges. The Maldivian government has
signed the 1988 UN Convention. The South Asian
Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Convention
on Narcotic Drugs came into force in the Maldives in
1993.

END TEXT.

WILLS

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