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Cablegate: Romania: 2006-2007 International Narcotics Control


DE RUEHBM #1672/01 3051556
P 011556Z NOV 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 155088

This report provides Embassy Bucharest,s input for the
illegal drug and chemical control sections of the 2006-2007
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (Reftel).

1. Summary: Romania serves as a transit country for
narcotics, as it lies along the well-established Northern
Balkan route that is used to move heroin and opium from
Southwest Asia to Central and Western Europe. Romania also
sits astride a developing route for the transit of synthetic
drugs from Western and Northern Europe to the East. However,
while Romania is not a major source of production or
cultivation of narcotics, it has begun to serve as a source
of amphetamines and is used as a transit point for South
American cocaine destined for Western Europe. In 2006,
Romania made several major drug seizures. Romania worked to
implement its 2005-2008 National Anti-Drug Strategy and is a
party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

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Status of country

2. Romania lies along what is commonly referred to as the
Northern Balkan Route, and thus it is a transit country for
narcotics, mainly heroin and opium, moving from Southwest
Asia, through Turkey and Bulgaria and onward toward Central
and Western Europe. Romania finds itself along a developing
route for the transit of synthetic drugs from Western and
Northern Europe to the East. A large amount of precursor
chemicals transit Romania from West European countries toward
Turkey. Romania is increasingly becoming a storage location
for illicit drugs prior to shipment to other European
countries. Heroin and marijuana are the primary drugs
consumed in Romania. However, the use of synthetic drugs such
as MDMA (Ecstasy)has increased among segments of the
country's youth as economic conditions improve. Officials
also predict an increase in domestic heroin consumption.

Country actions against drugs in 2006

3. Policy initiatives: Romania continues to build an
integrated system of prevention and treatment services at the
national and local level, with 47 Anti-Drug Prevention and
Counseling Centers throughout the country. The General
Directorate for Countering Organized Crime and Anti-Drug
(DGCCOA) operates at both the central and territorial level,
with 15 brigades assigned next to the local Appeal Courts and
41 county offices for combating narcotics and organized
crime. Joint teams of police and social workers carry out
educational and preventative programs against drug
consumption. Romania plays an active role in the
Bucharest-based Southeast European Cooperative Initiative
(SECI) Center's Anti-Drug Task Force.

Law enforcement efforts: In the first six months of 2006,
Romanian authorities seized 162 kilograms of illegal drugs,
including 23 kilograms of heroin, 10 kilograms of cocaine, 94
kilogram of mescaline, 26 kilograms of cannabis and 11,133
amphetamine and derivates pills. During the first six months
of 2006, approximately 1218 individuals were investigated for
drugs and precursors trafficking, possession and consumption.
This was an increase of 11.6 percent compared with the same
period in 2005. 315 individuals were indicted and 228 were
held under preventive arrest. The Romanian Courts convicted
349 individuals (most of these were indicted in 2005 and
before), of which 329 were sent to prison and 20 given a fine.

Corruption: Corruption remains a serious problem within the
Romanian government, including within the judiciary and law
enforcement branches. The Code of Ethics for police officers
provides strict rules for the professional conduct of law
enforcement. It specifically addresses corruption, use of
force, torture, and illegal behavior. Unlawful or abusive
acts may trigger criminal or disciplinary sanctions. In
conjunction with the Code of Ethics, the government created a
permanent commission within the Ministry of the
Administration and Interior to monitor compliance with the
code. Also, the newly created Anti-corruption unit within
the Ministry of the Administration and Interior conducted
several internal undercover operations targeting corruption
among police officers.

The Romanian government does not encourage or facilitate
illicit production or distribution of narcotic or
psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the
laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions as a

matter of government policy. We do not believe that senior
officials within Romania engage in, encourage, or facilitate
the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or
substances. We have no information indicating that senior
officials launder proceeds from illegal transactions.

Agreements and treaties: Romania is a party to the 1988 UN
Drug Convention. An extradition treaty is in force between
Romania and the United States. A mutual legal assistance
treaty came into force in October 2001 and is in the process
of being renegotiated in accordance with constitutional
amendments that came into effect in January 2004, making it
possible for Romania to extradite its own citizens. Romania
is party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized
crime, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and
the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

Cultivation/production: For the first time, in 2006,
cultivated green cactus (San Pedro), containing high levels
of mescaline, was discovered for sale in Baia Mare.

Drug Flow/transit: Illicit narcotics from Afghanistan and
Central Asia enter Romania both from the north and east, and
as well as its southern border with Bulgaria. Land
transportation methods include both cargo and passenger
vehicles. However, drugs, primarily heroin, are also brought
into the country via the Black Sea port of Constanta on
commercial maritime ships and across the border with Moldova,
as well as via the country's international airports. Once in
Romania, the drugs move either northwest through Hungary, or
west through Serbia. Police estimate that 80 percent of the
drugs entering Romania continue on to Western Europe. Romania
also is becoming an increasingly important route for the
transit of synthetic drugs from Western and Northern Europe
to the East.

Domestic programs: While consumption of narcotics in Romania
has historically been low, this appears to be slowly
changing; the Romanian government has become increasingly
concerned about domestic drug consumption. Approximately, 800
drug prevention programs were initiated during the first half
of 2006, including programs against drug consumption in the
families, in schools or in the community. These were
conducted in cooperation with local authorities, NGO,s,
religious organizations and private companies. Detoxification
programs are offered through some hospitals, but treatment is
limited. These programs are hampered by a lack of resources
and poorly trained staff.

U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

4. Bilateral Cooperation. In 2006, the United States
provided $1,724,000 in assistance to further develop
Romania,s activities against cyber-crime, narcotics
trafficking, as well as to reform the criminal justice
system, combat emerging crimes and counter official
corruption. This year,s agreement covers two projects that
to continue to help Romania's prosecutorial and judicial
institutions to effectively prosecute corruption, trafficking
in persons (TIP), organized crime, terrorism and other crimes
($825,000). They also develop law enforcement capabilities
to effectively combat computer crime cases and narcotics
violations at both the national and local levels and to
support the Romanian National Police in its effort to
decentralize decision-making authority ($849,000).

Romania also benefited in 2006 from approximately $900,000 in
U.S. assistance to the Bucharest-based Southeast European
Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Center for Combating
Trans-border Crime, which more broadly supports the twelve
participating states in the Balkan region and focuses on
trans-border crime, with one task force directed specifically
towards combating the narcotics trade. The United States is
a permanent observer country at the SECI Center, with a DEA
Liaison Officer who assists in coordinating narcotics
information sharing, maintains liaison with participating law
enforcement agencies, and coordinates with the DGCCOA on
case-related issues. A Resident Legal Advisor from the U.S.
Department of Justice is assigned to the SECI Center,
providing guidance on drug trafficking investigations.

Data tables

5. Not applicable.

6. Chemical control. The quantity of chemical precursors

seized in the first half of 2006 is 600 kilograms, 504 liters
and 153 pills. Most of these chemicals were seized by
anti-narcotic squads from research institutes, because they
lacked appropriate legal documents. No clandestine labs
manufacturing drugs were discovered and only one illicit
plant culture. In the first six months of 2006,
anti-narcotic squads discovered in the possession of the
persons involved in trafficking and consumption approximately
1438 pills of methadone, 16 grams of methadone, 60 pills of
petidine and 34 pills of codeine. Legislation implemented in
late 2005, strengthened legal provisions regarding the use of
psychotropic plants, substances and chemicals. The
institution in charge of chemical control is the National
Agency for Dangerous Substances and Chemicals.

Outlook: Romania has put a serious emphasis on its counter
narcotics efforts and cooperation with the USG. The USG
believes that cooperation will continue, as the Romanian
government has become increasingly concerned about domestic
drug consumption. The United States will continue supporting
Romania's efforts to strengthen its judicial and law
enforcement institutions.

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