Cablegate: International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

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




E.O. 12958: N/A
2004: SPAIN

REF: STATE 254401

I. SUMMARY: In 2004, Spain continued its efforts to enforce
the 1988 UN Drug Convention as well as other EU conventions
on counter narcotics trafficking. Spanish National Police,
the Guardia Civil and Customs Services interdicted record
amounts of cocaine, hashish, and heroin and performed
numerous enforcement operations throughout Spain to arrest
distributors of synthetic drugs, such as LSD and ecstasy.
However, officials have acknowledged that Spain continued to
be a significant transit point and top consumer of cocaine
and hashish in Europe. This issue prompted the newly elected
Socialist government to restructure its drug policy
coordination body, the National Drug Plan (PND), by assigning
responsibility of its harm reduction unit to the Ministry of
Health and its supply reduction unit to a new Department of
Security within the Ministry of Interior. The GOS ranks drug
trafficking as one of its most important law enforcement
concerns, and has continued to maintain excellent relations
with U.S. law enforcement. Cooperation between GOS and USG
officials on Spain's domestic narcotic efforts and joint
enforcement efforts in Latin America is a top policy
objective of the new Spanish government.


Spain remains a principal gateway for cocaine transported
from Latin American countries, such as Columbia and
Venezuela, or transshipped from West Africa through Morocco.
Spanish police continue to seize large amounts of Moroccan
hashish along Spain's southern coast, some of which is
trafficked by illegal immigrants. The majority of heroin that
arrives in Spain is transported via the Balkan route from
Turkey. No coca is grown in Spain, and production of
cannabis and opium is minimal. Illicit refining and
manufacturing of drugs in Spain is also minimal although
small-scale laboratories of synthetic drugs such as LSD are
discovered and confiscated each year. Spain has a
pharmaceutical industry that produces precursor chemicals.
There is effective control of precursor shipments within
Spain from the point of origin to destination, administered
under the PND. Spain is a transit point to the U.S. for
ecstasy and other synthetic drugs produced mainly in the


POLICY INITIATIVES. Spanish policy on drugs is directed by
the PND, which covers the years 2000 to 2008. The strategy,
approved in 1999, expanded the scope of law enforcement
activities, such as permitting sale of seized assets in
advance of a conviction and allowing law enforcement to use
informers. The strategy also outlined a system to reintegrate
individuals who have overcome drug addictions into Spanish
society. The strategy also targets money laundering and
illicit commerce in chemical precursors, and calls for closer
counter-narcotics cooperation with other European and Latin
American countries. Following a review of the demand side of
the PND in July 2004, the Government agreed to restructure
the PND by placing its harm reduction unit under the
authority of the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health
was particularly concerned about drug use among school
children following a nationwide survey it conducted on drug
use among 25,500 Spanish children aged 14 to 18. In
September, officials revealed that the survey showed that
within the last twelve months 36.1% of Spanish school
children said they had used cannabis (double the percentage
reported in 1995); 6.8% had taken cocaine; and less than one
percent had tried heroin. In November, a European Union
annual report on narcotics revealed that Spain was the top
consumer of cocaine and cannabis in Europe. On drug supply,
the Government placed its policymaking unit in the PSD under
the competency of a new Department of Security within the
Ministry of Interior to coordinate its policy agenda with
counter-narcotic enforcement agencies. Officials have stated
that it would consider additional revisions to the PND before
it is comprehensively reviewed in 2008.

The National Central Drug Unit coordinates counter-narcotics
operations among various government agencies, including the
Spanish National Guard, the Spanish National Police, and the
Customs Service. Their cooperation appears to function well.
There is no evidence of corruption of senior officials or
their involvement in the drug trade.

In 2003, Spain and Portugal signed a Treaty of Cooperation to
prevent drug consumption and to control the illegal
trafficking of controlled substances. The Treaty establishes
a joint "Hispano-Portuguese Commission" to exchange
information, to coordinate intelligence gathering and
professional training efforts.


Spanish officials at the Ministry of Interior reported
October 26 that drug enforcement agencies seized 23,000 kg of
cocaine, 223 kg of heroin, 531,000 kg of hashish, and 622,000
units of MDMA between January and August 2004. Exact
interdiction statistics based on comprehensive data collected
by the Civil Guard and Spanish Customs Agency will not be
available, however, until March 2005.

The following are some notable cocaine seizures in 2004. On
February 12, 2004, the Guardia Civil and the Spanish Customs
Service discovered 5,735 kg of cocaine aboard the fishing
vessel "Lugo" in Galicia. Seven Colombian nationals were
arrested in this incident. On April 24, Spanish authorities
interdicted a British-flagged sailing ship, the "Diaosa Maat"
that contained 2,700 kg of cocaine. On March 27, the Spanish
National Police interdicted a ship in the Port of Valencia
carrying 3,280 kg of cocaine. On December 1, police officials
discovered 3,100 kg aboard the "White Sands" shipping vessels
in Galicia. They arrested 24 individuals including 11
Colombian nationals.

Although Spanish drug policy officials reported a decline in
the number of interdictions of synthetic drugs, Spanish
authorities seized large supplies of ecstasy. On July 22,
Spanish national police seized nine kilograms of MDMA powder
(approximately 180,000 pills) in the luggage of a Spanish
passenger at Madrid's international airport. On September 1,
the police arrested a Spanish passenger en route to the
United States who was carrying 39,100 MDMA tablets at the
Barcelona international airport. On August 18, police
interdicted 41,000 MDMA pills carried by a Spanish passenger
traveling to Puerto Rico. On December 1, Spanish police
arrested a major international ecstasy dealer, Hank Romi, in
Malaga by using information provided by the Madrid Country

On July 7, the Guardia Civil discovered laboratories in three
apartments in Madrid containing chemical materials used to
produce cocaine. Eleven Colombian nationals were arrested in
connection with the incident. Authorities also arrested a
Romanian passenger in possession of 6.3 kg of heroin. The
Spanish National Police interdicted 70 kg of heroin in Toledo
on July 21.

Hashish trafficking appears to be particularly acute in the
region of Catalonia and in the Costa del Sol (Sun Coast) in
the province of Malaga. Drug enforcement officials have
estimated that they captured 40,000 kg of hashish in drug
raids in Barcelona, Tarragon, and Levante in 2004.
Authorities in Malaga reported that they captured 21,813
kilograms and arrested 490 persons for drug-related crimes in
2004. Officials have acknowledged that hashish traffickers,
primarily from North Africa, now use the coast of Catalonia
more frequently than Spain's southern coast as an entry point
for their trade because there are fewer counter-narcotic
patrols along Catalonia's coast and along its border with
France, where drugs can be more efficiently transported to
other parts of Europe by road.

Some notable hashish interdictions include the capture of
3,030 kg of hashish in the Deletebre in Catalonia on March
21. Police arrest arrested seven individuals in this
incident. On September 7, Spanish counter-narcotics agents
captured 1,100 kg of hashish in Guadalquivir in Sevilla.
Police arrested eight Spanish citizens in the incident. On
December 3, counter-narcotics agents captured 4,100 kg of
hashish and arrested 27 nationals of France, Romania,
Albania, Morocco, and Algeria in a nationwide drug
investigation. Officials determined that those arrested were
members of a narcotics mafia based in Marseilles.

AGREEMENTS AND TREATIES. Spain is a party to the 1988 UN Drug
Convention, and all of the convention's articles are applied
in Spain. Spain is also a party to the 1990 Strasbourg
Convention. Spain signed the UN Convention Against
International Organized Crime and its protocols in 2000. A
1970 extradition treaty and its three supplements govern
extradition between the U.S. and Spain. The U.S.-Spain Mutual
Legal Assistance Treaty has been in force since 1993. The
U.S. and Spain have also signed a Customs Mutual Assistance
Agreement. On December 17, Spain and the United States signed
an additional MLAT on judicial assistance that will
facilitate further mutual cooperation on drug trafficking

Spain is a party to European Conventions on Mutual Assistance
in Criminal Matters, Extradition, the Transfer of Proceedings
in Criminal Matters and the International Validity of
Criminal Judgments. Spain has mutual legal assistance
treaties or bilateral counter-narcotics agreements with most
countries in Latin America, as well as with Morocco, Israel
and Turkey. Spain approved March 14, 2003, the European
Union-wide common arrest and detention order, which
facilitates the transfer of prisoners and suspects among EU
states. This law took effect on January 1, 2004.

Spain is a member of the UNDCP major donors group and the
Dublin group. Spain also chairs the regional Dublin group for
Central America and Mexico. Spain also funds programs
through the Organization of American States' Inter-American
Drug Abuse Control Commission. Spain pledged USD 100 million
to support Plan Colombia in 2003 and has pledged to continue
to support the program in the coming years. Spanish aid is
targeted towards institutional strengthening of police and
judicial forces, alternative development, and demand
reduction. Spain sponsors numerous training courses for
police and judicial authorities in Latin America and Morocco.

CULTIVATION/PRODUCTION. Coca leaf is not cultivated in Spain,
and cannabis is grown in insignificant quantities. For
example, on August 27, police officials arrested the owner of
a farm in Oviedo where they located 28 mature marijuana
plants, 250 grams of dried marijuana plants, and a small
amount of hashish. Opium poppy is cultivated under strictly
regulated conditions for research. Refining and manufacturing
of cocaine and synthetic drugs is minimal, with some
small-scale laboratories converting cocaine base to cocaine

DRUG FLOW/TRANSIT. Spain is the major gateway to Europe for
cocaine coming from Columbia, Peru, and Ecuador. Traffickers
exploit Spain's close historic and linguistic ties with Latin
America and its long southern coastline to transport drugs
for consumption in Spain or distribution in other parts of
Europe. Maritime vessel and containerized cargo shipments
account for the bulk of the cocaine shipped to Spain. Spain
remains a major transit point to Europe for hashish from
Morocco; Spain's North African enclaves of Ceuta and Mellila
are principle points of departure. Police officials
acknowledge that traffickers are beginning to abandon
traditional drug trade routes between the Strait of Gibraltar
and the coasts of Huelva, Cadiz, Malaga, and Almeria, and are
delivering hashish and other narcotics, to points along the
coasts of Alicante, Valencia, Castellon de la Plana and
Barcelona, where counter-narcotic sea patrols are less
frequent. Spain's international airports in Madrid and
Barcelona are a transit point for passengers who intend to
traffic ecstasy and other synthetic drugs, mainly produced in
the Netherlands, to the United States. These couriers,
however, are typically captured before they leave Spain or
when they arrive in the U.S.

DOMESTIC PROGRAMS. The national drug strategy identifies
prevention as its principal priority. In that regard, PND
continued its publicity efforts targeting Spanish youth.
Spain's autonomous communities provide treatment programs for
drug addicts, including methadone programs and needle
exchanges. Prison rehabilitation programs also distribute
methadone. The Government has also provided approximately 4.1
million euros to assist private, non-governmental
organizations that carry out drug prevention and
rehabilitation programs.

objectives for Spain are focused on maintaining and
increasing the current excellent bilateral and multilateral
cooperation in law enforcement and demand reduction. We seek
to promote intensified contacts between officials of both
countries involved in counter-narcotics and related fields.
Latin America remains an important area for counter-narcotics
cooperation. Spanish officials are working closely with the
Narcotics Affairs Section in Peru and Bolivia.

THE ROAD AHEAD. The U.S. will continue to coordinate closely
with Spanish counter-narcotics officials though the Madrid
Country Office. Spain will continue to be a key player in the
international fight against drug trafficking.


Seizures 2001 2002 2003 2004(1)

Heroin (kg) 631 275 242 223
Cocaine (mt) 34 16 49 23
Hashish (mt) 514 564 727 531

MDMA (pills) 860,000 1,200,000 771,875 622,000

(1)Estimates based on the October 26 testimony of Spanish
Minister of Interior Antonio Camacho before members of the
Spanish congress and senate of the Joint Commission for the
Study of the Problem of Drugs in Spain.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: Visionary ‘Blue Transformation’ Strategy To Enhance Underwater Food Systems

Record levels of fisheries and aquaculture production are making a critical contribution to global food security, the UN Ocean Conference under way in Lisbon, Portugal, heard on Wednesday...
Abu Akleh Shooting: Fatal Shot Came From Israeli Forces, Says OHCHR
Israeli forces were behind the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank - not indiscriminate Palestinian firing - the UN human rights office, OHCHR, alleged on Friday... More>>

Ethiopia: Conflict, Drought, Dwindling Food Support, Threatens Lives Of 20 Million

Hunger is tightening its grip on more than 20 million Ethiopians who are facing conflict in the north, drought in the south and dwindling food and nutrition support beginning next month, the UN food relief agency warned on Thursday... More>>

UN Ocean Conference: Opens With Call For Urgent Action To Tackle Ocean Emergency
With climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution exacting a devastating toll on the world’s ocean — critical to food security, economic growth and the environment... More>>

World Vision: Deeply Concerned For Thousands Affected By Afghanistan Quake
World Vision is deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in the wake of a powerful earthquake in the early hours of this morning... More>>

Malaysia: UN Experts Welcome Announcement To Abolish Mandatory Death Penalty

UN human rights experts* today commended an announcement made by the Malaysian government that it will abolish the country’s mandatory death penalty and encouraged Parliament to take concrete steps to pass the agreement into law... More>>