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Cablegate: Egypt's 2006-2007 International Narcotics Control


DE RUEHEG #7163/01 3511522
R 171522Z DEC 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 154898

Per reftel, the 2006-2007 International Narcotics Control
Strategy Report for Egypt, part 1, follows below:

I. Summary
The Arab Republic of Egypt is not a major producer, supplier,
or consumer of narcotics or precursor chemicals. Heroin and
cannabis are transported through Egypt, but presumed levels
have not risen in four years. The Anti-Narcotics General
Administration (ANGA) is the main counter narcotics
organization in Egypt. It is competent and progressive, and
cooperates fully with the Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) office in Cairo. In 2004, a joint DEA-ANGA
investigation uncovered a significant MDMA (ecstasy)
laboratory in Alexandria, resulting in the arrest of four
individuals, indictment of three U.S. citizens, and a
secondary ongoing investigation that has already identified
more than two million dollars of drug related proceeds. In
2006, several major international investigations were
conducted jointly with ANGA. Egypt is party to the 1988 UN
Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Egypt is not a significant producer or consumer of narcotics
or precursor chemicals, despite the fact that opium and
cannabis plants are grown in Egypt. The substances that are
most commonly abused are cannabis, which is known here as
"bango," and legitimate pharmaceuticals. Narcotics do pass
through Egypt. Egypt's long and mostly uninhabited borders,
combined with the high level of shipping passing through the
Suez Canal Zone, have made Egypt prone to the transshipment
of Asian heroin. Other types of narcotics periodically pass
through Cairo International Airport. The narcotics are
primarily destined for Western Europe, with only small
amounts headed to the United States. Transshipment has
diminished considerably in recent years due to the elevation
of security in Egypt and the region as a whole.
The ANGA is the oldest counter narcotics unit in the Arab
world. It has jurisdiction over all criminal matters
pertaining to narcotics and maintains offices in all major
Egyptian cities and ports of entry. Despite limited
resources, ANGA has continually demonstrated improvements in
its capabilities.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005
Policy Initiatives. The Government of Egypt (GOE) continues
to aggressively pursue a comprehensive drug control strategy
that was developed in 1998. ANGA, as the primary Egyptian
drug enforcement agency, coordinates with the Egyptian
Ministry of Interior, the Coast Guard, the Customs Service,
and select military units on all aspects of drug law
enforcement. Government and private sector demand reduction
efforts exist but are hampered by financial constraints and
logistical challenges.
Accomplishments/Law Enforcement Efforts. Internal security
and combating terrorism are the major foci of Egyptian law
enforcement efforts. Despite these priorities, ANGA is able
to operate an effective program against narcotics
trafficking. Egypt is a transit country for narcotics. ANGA
investigates and targets significant drug traffickers,
intercepts narcotics shipments, and detects and eradicates
illegal crops. Large-scale seizures and arrests are rare,
primarily because Egypt does not have a significant narcotics
market or narcotics abuse culture. ANGA operates its own
drug awareness campaign in addition to other government and
private sector demand reduction programs. ANGA's Eradication
Unit conducts monthly operations against cannabis and opium
crops in the Sinai. Reversing a trend over the past several
years, the amount of narcotics seized during 2005 was lower
than that of the previous year.
According to the GOE, drug seizures in 2005 included cannabis
(78.0 metric tons), hashish (1.5 metric tons), and smaller
amounts of heroin, opium, psychotropic drugs, and cocaine.
Significant amounts of prescription and "designer" drugs such
as ecstasy (10,683 tablets), amphetamines, and codeine were
also seized. During the course of 2005, Egyptian law
enforcement officials eradicated 380 hectares of cannabis and
106 hectares of opium poppy plants. Late in 2004, a joint
DEA-ANGA investigation uncovered an MDMA laboratory located
in a small apartment building in Alexandria, Egypt. ANGA
raided the laboratory, arresting four individuals and seizing
chemicals, paste, and equipment. Additionally, a secondary
ANGA financial investigation conducted in 2005 with
assistance from the DEA country office has identified over
two million dollars in drug proceeds located in Egypt. ANGA
is moving forward with a Formal Request for Extradition from
the Government of Egypt to the USG seeking to bring to Egypt
three defendants in this case living in the United Sates.
DEA-ANGA are investigating an Egyptian National working with
Colombian and Mexican based drug traffickers to import 2 tons

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of Ephedrine through Egypt to be repackaged and exported to
Mexico. The ephedrine is intended to be used to manufacture
methamphetamine for the US illicit market. Since 2003,
production of illicit pharmaceuticals and counterfeit
narcotics is on the rise in Egypt, which may represent a new
trend toward relocating artificial drug labs to the region
due to the region's relatively lax regulation of commercial
chemical products. With the passage of Egypt's first
anti-money laundering law in 2002, which criminalized the
laundering of proceeds derived from trafficking in narcotics
and numerous other crimes, seizures of currency in
drug-related cases have amounted to over 4,560,000 Egyptian
Pounds ($800,000). In October 2005, ANGA seized two metric
tons of marijuana that originated in the northern Sinai
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the Government
of Egypt 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 transactions. The GOE has strict laws and harsh
penalties for government officials convicted of involvement
in narcotics trafficking or related activities. However,
low-level local police officials involved in
narcotics-related activity or corruption have been identified
and arrested.
Agreements and Treaties. Egypt and the United States
cooperate in law enforcement matters under an MLAT and an
extradition treaty. Egypt is a party to the 1988 UN Drug
Convention since 1991, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic
Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by
the 1972 Protocol. Egypt is a party to the UN Convention
against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on
migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons. Egypt also is a
party to the UN Convention Against Corruption.
Cultivation and Production. Cannabis is grown year round in
the northern and southern Sinai and in Upper Egypt, while
opium poppy is grown in the southern Sinai only from November
through March. Rugged terrain means that plots of illegal
crops are small and irregularly shaped. ANGA combats this
production by using aerial observation and confidential
informants to identify illegal plots. Once the crops are
located, ANGA conducts daylight eradication operations that
consist of cutting and burning the plants. ANGA has yet to
implement a planned herbicide eradication program. No heroin
processing laboratories have been discovered in Egypt in the
last 14 years and no evidence is available indicating that
opiates or cannabis grown in Egypt reach the United States in
sufficient quantities to have a significant impact. In an
ongoing investigation that started in 2004, a joint DEA-ANGA
operation uncovered the first ever MDMA laboratory in Egypt
and eliminated it before it reached significant production.
Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). In 2005, the National
Council for Combating and Treating Addiction continued to be
the GOE's focal point for domestic demand reduction programs.
The Council is an inter-ministerial group chaired by the
Prime Minister and has the participation of ten ministries.
The group espouses a three-pronged strategy to counter the
demand for narcotics: awareness, treatment (including
detoxification and social/psychological treatment), and
rehabilitation. The group's efforts over the past year
included a range of activities, for example, a media
advertising campaign with participation from First Lady
Suzanne Mubarak, annual seminars at Al-Azhar University on
"Islam and Narcotics," and the establishment of a drug
treatment hotline and website. Additionally, the Council
sponsors four rehabilitation centers, primarily focused on
the Cairo metropolitan area. These centers annually receive
thousands of requests from addicts for help.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives/Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. counter
narcotics policy in Egypt is to engage the GOE in a bilateral
program to reduce narcotics transshipments and decrease opium
poppy and cannabis cultivation. The policy includes the
following specific objectives: increase training to ANGA and
other government offices responsible for narcotics
enforcement; assist with the identification of illegal crop
eradication targets; improve narcotics interdiction
methodology; and improve intelligence collection and
analysis. In 2005, the DEA country office initiated
Operation Sphinx, a joint DEA-ANGA operation to collect
actionable intelligence for enforcement/interdiction action
in the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba. The operation
targets sources of information in the maritime industry
throughout the region.
The Road Ahead. In fiscal year 2007, the U.S. Government
plans to increase its joint operations with ANGA, moving
beyond a previously predominant focus on monitoring the
narcotics problem. This will involve the DEA country office
continuing to work closely with ANGA on joint investigations,

as well as improving interdiction and eradication techniques,
and developing additional sources of information on
trafficking and production.

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