Cablegate: 2004 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 03 COLOMBO 002007
DEPARTMENT FOR SA/INS, INL
JUSTICE FOR OIA, AFMLS, AND NDDS
TREASURY FOR FINCEN
DEA FOR OILS AND OFFICE OF DIVERSION CONTROL
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PGOV PREL CE
SUBJECT: 2004 INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL STRATEGY
REPORT (INCSR) FOR SRI LANKA
REF: SECSTATE 248987
1. Please find attached Mission's 2004 International
Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR). Responses are
keyed to questions in Reftel.
Sri Lanka has a relatively small-scale drug problem. The
Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) remains committed to targeting
drug traffickers and implementing nation-wide demand
reduction programs. In 2004, the U.S. government
strengthened its relationship with Sri Lanka on
counternarcotics issues by offering training and seminars
for the Sri Lanka Police. A comparatively relaxed security
environment as a result of the 2002 ceasefire agreement
between the GSL and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE) has opened a new overland drug trafficking route
which LTTE officials are taking active measures to police
and monitor. Although Sri Lanka has signed the 1988 UN Drug
Convention, Parliament had not enacted implementing
legislation for the convention as of the end of 2004.
Part II. Status of country:
Sri Lanka is not a significant producer of narcotics or
precursor chemicals. GSL officials continue to raise
internal awareness of and vigilance against efforts by drug
traffickers attempting to use Sri Lanka as a transit point
for illicit drug smuggling. Domestically, officials are
addressing a modest drug problem, consisting of heroin,
cannabis, and increasingly, ecstasy.
Part III. Country action against drugs in 2004:
Policy Initiatives: In 2004, Sri Lanka made progress in
further implementing its counternarcotics strategy,
developed in 1994. The lead agency for counternarcotics
efforts, the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB), is headquartered
in the capital city of Colombo. The new government, elected
in April 2004, has not initiated to date any policy changes
with respect to counternarcotics activities. The GSL
remains committed to on-going efforts to curb illicit drug
use and trafficking.
The PNB and Excise Department worked closely to target
cannabis producers and dealers, resulting in several
successful arrests. The PNB warmly welcomed and was an
active partner in taking full advantage of U.S.-sponsored
training for criminal investigative techniques and
Sri Lanka continued to work with South Asian Association for
Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the United Nations Drug
Control Program (UNDCP) on regional narcotics issues. SAARC
countries met in Maldives in early 2004 and agreed to
establish an interactive website for the SAARC Drug Offense
Monitoring Desk, located in Colombo, for all countries to
input, share, and review regional narcotics statistics. GSL
officials maintain continuous contact with counterparts in
India and Pakistan, origin countries for the majority of
drugs in Sri Lanka.
Law enforcement efforts:
The PNB continued close inter-agency cooperation with the
Customs Service, the Department of Excise and the Sri Lankan
Police to curtail the illicit drug supply lines and local
drug dealers and users. As a result of these efforts, GSL
officials arrested nearly 2674 heroin dealers and drug
dealers and more than 2135 cannabis dealers during the first
six months of this year. (Note: Statistics for July-
December 2004 will be available in early 2005. Post will
provide update figures at that time.) The largest heroin
haul for the year, to date, has been 17 kilograms, valued
locally at around $390,000. Law enforcement agencies
throughout 2004 made a number of other small-scale seizures
of heroin and other drugs. In addition, in response to the
slowly increasing ecstasy usage in upscale venues in
Colombo, the PNB made the first two ever ecstasy-related
drug arrests in 2004.
Apart from its Colombo headquarters, the PNB has one sub-
unit at the Bandaranaike International Airport near Colombo,
complete with operational personnel and a team of narcotics-
detecting dogs. Greater vigilance by PNB officers assigned
to the airport sub-station led to increased detections and
consistent arrests of alleged drug smugglers.
During the year, the PNB began the process of establishing
additional sub-stations. The next two substations, at the
international port in Colombo and the northwest coastal town
of Mannar, will be operational shortly. Future sub-stations
will also be located in cannabis-growing regions.
Corruption: A government commission, established to
investigate bribery and corruption charges against public
officials, temporarily resumed operations in 2004. In May
2004, the Judicial Services Commission suspended a Colombo
high court judge for granting bail to alleged drug
traffickers. Police arrested a leading alleged drug kingpin
in connection with the November 2004 murder of a widely
respected judge. At the time of this alleged dealer's
arrest and questioning, subsequent information revealed that
numerous police officers allegedly helped facilitate this
individual's illegal activities. In response, the Inspector
General of Police, the most senior ranking police official,
ordered a complete investigation into any involvement by
police officers. The investigation was on-going at year's
Agreements and treaties (with U.S. and others): Sri Lanka
has signed the 1988 UN Drug Convention and the 1990 SAARC
Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
Implementing legislation for both conventions had not
reached Parliament by year's end. The Attorney General's
office has reviewed both pieces of legislation and
anticipates submitting it to Parliament in early 2005.
Sri Lanka is also a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention,
as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on
Psychotropic Substances. Sri Lanka has signed, but has not
yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational
Organized Crime. An extradition treaty is in force between
the U.S. and Sri Lanka.
Cultivation/production (where applicable): Small quantities
of cannabis are cultivated and used locally. There is
little indication that this illicit drug is exported. The
majority of the production occurs in the southeast jungles
of Sri Lanka. PNB and Excise Department officials work
together to locate and eradicate cannabis crops.
Some of the heroin entering Sri Lanka is solely for
transshipment purposes. With the opening of the
northwestern coastal waters in the advent of the ceasefire
between the GSL and the LTTE, narcotics traffickers have
taken advantage of the short distance across the Palk Strait
to transit drugs from India to Sri Lanka. According to
police officials drugs are mainly transported across the
strait and then overland to the south. The PNB is
attempting to control the area better with the upcoming
opening of a sub-station in this region. With no coast
guard however, Sri Lanka's coast remains highly vulnerable
to transshipment of heroin from India.
Police officials state that the international airport is the
second major entry point for the transshipment of illegal
narcotics through Sri Lanka.
There is no evidence to date that synthetic drugs are
manufactured in Sri Lanka. Police note that the ecstasy
found in Colombo social venues is likely trafficked from
Domestic programs (demand reduction): The National
Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) began establishing
task forces in each regional province to focus on the issue
of drug awareness and rehabilitation at the community level.
Each task force works with the existing municipal structure,
bringing together officials from the police, prisons, social
services, health, education and NGO sectors. For the first
time in 2004, NDDCB officials visited the war-affected north
and east provinces to assess the local situation and
investigate the possibility of establishing treatment
centers in those regions.
The GSL continued its support, including financial, of local
NGOs conducting demand reduction and drug awareness
campaigns. The Sri Lanka Anti Narcotics Association in
collaboration with PNB and the Colombo City Traffic Police
organized a "Run Against Drug Abuse" in June 2004. The
Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Program, a regional organization,
pledged its assistance to the government and non-government
agencies in their efforts to combat illicit drugs.
Part IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs:
U.S. Policy Initiatives: The USG remained committed to
helping GSL officials develop increased capacity and
cooperation for counternarcotics issues. The USG also
continued its support of the regional Colombo Plan Drug
Advisory Program, which conducts regional and country-
specific training seminars, fostering communication and
cooperation throughout Asia.
Bilateral cooperation (accomplishments): In 2004, the USG
began implementing, primarily with the PNB, a law
enforcement development program. Over 200 officers
throughout the police force participated in training
seminars. Pursuant to bilateral letters of agreement
between the USG and the GSL, the Sri Lanka police are
fulfilling their obligations. USG-trained Sri Lanka police
are replicating the seminars and scheduling training for
colleagues at the training academies and stations throughout
the island. Organized by the Colombo Plan, regional U.S.
government officials conducted narcotics officer training
for their local counterparts.
Road Ahead: The U.S. government intends to maintain its
commitment to aiding the Sri Lanka police to transition from
a paramilitary force to a community-focused one. This will
be accomplished with additional assistance for training and
continued dialogue between U.S. counternarcotics related
agencies and their Sri Lankan counterparts. The U.S.
expects to continue it support of the Colombo Plan.