Cablegate: Spain/Incsr: 2007-2008 International Narcotics

DE RUEHMD #2066/01 3091141
P 051141Z NOV 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 136780

MADRID 00002066 001.2 OF 004


Spanish National Police, Civil Guard, and Customs Services,
along with autonomous regional police forces, maintained an
intense operational tempo during 2007 and as of early
November were on track to seize near-record amounts of
cocaine. These services also carried out increased
enforcement operations throughout Spain to arrest
distributors of synthetic drugs, such as LSD and Ecstasy
(MDMA). Spain continues to be the largest consumer of cocaine
in the European Union, with 3% of its population consuming it
on a regular basis (20% of European consumers live in Spain),
and over 50 percent of new patients admitted to Spanish
rehabilitation centers during the year were cocaine addicts.
Spain also sits at the top of EU nations in its consumption
of designer drugs and hashish. The Spanish government ranks
drug trafficking as one of its most important law enforcement
concerns and continues to maintain excellent relations with
U.S. counterparts. Through a series of visits this year from
high-level USG officials, we have encouraged the Spanish to
engage more robustly in Latin America, both on an operational
level and on the capacity development side. In May, Spain
hosted the 25th-annual International Drug Enforcement
Conference IDEC)--the first time it had been held outside of
the Western Hemisphere--and Spanish officials highlighted
during the conference our outstanding bilateral cooperation
in the fight against narcotics. Spain is a party to the 1988
UN Drug Convention.


Spain remains the principal entry, transshipment, and
consumption zone for the large quantities of South American
cocaine and Moroccan cannabis destined for European consumer
markets, and is also a major source and transit location for
drug proceeds returning to South and Central America.
Colombia appears to be the largest supplier of cocaine from
Latin America, although information available suggests an
increase in shipments of illicit cocaine from Bolivia, which
is transshipped through Venezuela and Argentina by vessel or
plane to the Iberian Peninsula. Spain and six other EU
countries deepened their counternarcotics cooperation by
signing in September an international agreement creating the
Maritime Analysis and Operations Center, headquartered in
Lisbon, Portugal. Spain also faces a sustained flow of
hashish from its southern neighbors, Morocco and Algeria,
which makes maritime smuggling across the Mediterranean Sea a
large-scale business. Spanish police continued to seize
multi-ton loads of Moroccan hashish, some of which is brought
into Spain by illegal immigrants. The majority of heroin that
arrives in Spain is transported via the Balkan route from
Turkey. The Spanish National Police has identified
established Turkish trafficking organizations that distribute
the heroin once it is smuggled into Spain. Illicit refining
and manufacturing of drugs in Spain is minimal, although
small-scale laboratories of synthetic drugs such as LSD are
discovered and confiscated each year. MDMA labs are rare and
unnecessary in Spain as MDMA labs in the Netherlands are
plentiful and productive. However, the Ecstasy trafficking
trend has been to use cities in Spain as transshipment points
to foil U.S. Customs inspectors who are wary of packages
mailed to the U.S. from Belgium or the Netherlands. Spain has
a pharmaceutical industry that produces precursor chemicals;
however, most precursors used in Spain to manufacture illegal
drugs are imported from China. There is effective control of
precursor shipments within Spain from the point of origin to
destination through a program administered under the National
Drug Plan (Spanish acronym PNSD).


Policy Initiatives. Spain's policy on drugs is directed by
the PNSD, which currently covers the years 2000 to 2008. The
strategy, approved in 1999, expanded the scope of law
enforcement activities and permitted the sale of seized
assets in advance of a conviction and allowed law enforcement
authorities to use informants. The strategy also outlined a
system to reintegrate individuals who have overcome drug
addictions back into Spanish society. The strategy also
targets money laundering and illicit commerce in chemical
precursors and calls for closer counternarcotics cooperation
with other European and Latin American countries. In October
2007, the Ministry of Health released a report claiming that
consumption of cannabis and cocaine among Spaniards between

MADRID 00002066 002.2 OF 004

the ages of 14 and 18 had gone down for the first time since
1994. 29.8% of those surveyed admit to having sampled
cannabis in the last 12 months (36.6% in 2004) and 2.3% admit
to regular cocaine use (3.8% in 2004). Overall, 3% of the
Spanish population regularly consumes cocaine. Spain is a
UNODC Major Donor and a member of the Dublin Group, a group
of countries that coordinates the provision of
counternarcotics assistance.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The Spanish law enforcement agencies
responsible for narcotics control are the Spanish National
Police and the Civil Guard, both of whom fall under the
domain of law enforcement and civil security matters within
the Ministry of Interior. The Spanish Customs Service, under
the Ministry of the Treasury, also carries a mandate to
enforce anti-drug legislation at Spain's borders and in
Spanish waters. Spanish officials at the Ministry of Interior
report that drug enforcement agencies had seized 22 MT of
cocaine as of the end of September 2007. Many of the more
significant seizures and arrests this past year were a direct
result of the excellent cooperation between the U.S. DEA
Madrid Country Office and Spanish authorities. For example,
in June, Spanish police seized in the Atlantic a ship headed
to Galicia that was transporting 4,000 kilos of cocaine,
arresting six crew members and six other individuals involved
with the network in Spain. The operation was the result of an
initial report by DEA offices in Mexico and Madrid.
Large-scale cocaine importation in Spain is principally
controlled by Colombian drug traffickers, though Galician
organizations also play an important role in the trafficking
of cocaine into and within the country.
Hashish trafficking continues to increase, as does the use of
the drug in Spain. Hashish trafficking is controlled by
Moroccan, British, and Portuguese smugglers and, to some
extent, nationals of Gibraltar and the Netherlands. Spanish
Civil Guard (CG) investigations have uncovered strong ties
between the Galician Mafia in the northwest corner of Spain
and Moroccan hashish traffickers. Hashish continues to be
smuggled into Spain via commercial fishing boats, cargo
containers, Fast Zodiac boats, and commercial trucks. Spanish
authorities recorded two large hashish seizures in August,
when the CG seized 5,549 kilos and arrested nine people in
Girona and Sevilla, and in October, authorities intercepted
4,600 kilos and arrested 19 people in southwest Spain. It is
believed that the hashish originated in North Africa and was
transported by a large vessel on the high seas. Spanish law
enforcement officials have detected a worrying rise in the
amount of heroin trafficked through the country in the past
couple of years, even though actual seizures were down in
2007. Heroin smuggled into Spain originates principally in
Turkey, and is usually smuggled into Spain by commercial
truck or private vehicle through the Balkan Route or from
Germany or Holland.

Seizures (statistics from CICO) 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
2007 (as of September 30)
Heroin (kg) 631 275 242 271 174 454 164
Cocaine(mt) 34 18 49 33 48 47 22
Hashish (mt) 514 564 727 794 670 451 391
MDMA (pills x 1000) 860 1,400 772 797 573 408 291

Corruption. Spain's Organized Crime Intelligence Center
(CICO) coordinates counternarcotics operations among various
government agencies, including the Spanish Civil Guard,
National Police, and Customs Service. Their cooperation
appears to function well. Spain 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. There
is no evidence of corruption of senior officials or their
involvement in the drug trade, but there have been isolated
cases involving corrupt law enforcement officials who were
caught facilitating drug trafficking. A prominent example of
this occurred in mid-October when the "Jefe de
Estupefacientes" (Chief of Narcotics) of the Mostoles Police
Station near Madrid was arrested and accused of drug

Agreements and Treaties. Spain is a party to the 1988 UN Drug
Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the
1972 Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic
Substances. Spain is also a party to the UN Convention
against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols
against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. Spain
ratified the UN Corruption Convention in June 2006. A 1970
extradition treaty and its three supplements govern

MADRID 00002066 003.2 OF 004

extradition between the U.S. and Spain. The U.S.-Spain Mutual
Legal Assistance Treaty has been in force since 1993, and the
two countries have also signed a Customs Mutual Assistance
Agreement. On December 17,2004, Spain and the United States
signed bilateral instruments on extradition and mutual legal
assistance pursuant to the U.S-EU Agreements on these
subjects, but they have not yet entered into force.

Cultivation/Production. Coca leaf is not cultivated in Spain.
However, there has been concern in recent years that
clandestine laboratories in Spain and some west African
countries have been established for the conversion of cocaine
base to cocaine hydrochloride. Some cannabis is grown in
country, but the seizures and investigations by Spanish
authorities indicate the production is minimal. Opium poppy
is cultivated licitly under strictly regulated conditions for
research, and the total amount is insignificant. The DEA is
in the process of considering an amendment to its regulations
to update the list of nontraditional countries authorized to
export narcotic raw materials (NRM) to the United States.
This change would replace Yugoslavia with Spain and would,
once it takes affect, allow Spain to join the other
&non-traditional8 NRM exporters, Australia, France,
Hungary, and Poland, as the only countries allowed to supply
approximately 20 percent of the NRM required annually by the
U.S. Traditional exporters India and Turkey get preferred
access to 80 percent of the NRM market. Spain is not a
significant production zone for synthetic drugs. While not a
significant producer of MDMA, minor production of the drug
has been reported in Spain.

Drug Flow/Transit. Spain is the major gateway to Europe for
cocaine coming from Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador.
Traffickers exploit Spain's close historic and linguistic
ties with Latin America and its wide, unprotected coastlines
to transport drugs for consumption in Spain or distribution
to other parts of Europe. DEA information suggests a
developing trend for Colombian cocaine to be sent first to
Africa and then smuggled northward into Spain. Spanish police
report that the country's two principal international
airports, Madrid's Barajas and Barcelona's El Prat, play
expanding roles as the entry point for much of the cocaine
trafficked into and through Spain, and there continues to be
a substantial number of body cavity smugglers arriving by
air. This year has seen an increase in the amount of cocaine
entering Spain via commercial flights from Venezuela. Spain's
international airports in Madrid and Barcelona are also a
transit point for passengers who intend to traffic Ecstasy
and other synthetic drugs, mainly produced in Europe, to the
United States. These couriers, however, are typically
captured before they leave Spain or when they arrive in the
U.S. Spain remains a major transit point to Europe for
hashish from Morocco, and Spain's North African enclaves of
Ceuta and Mellila are principal points of departure. Spanish
law enforcement has disrupted many drug shipments through its
use of the Integrated External Surveillance System (Spanish
acronym SIVE), deployed on its southern coast. The Spanish
Civil Guard initiated the SIVE system to control the growing
flow of illegal maritime drug trafficking, mainly African
hash and especially around the coasts of Cadiz and Malaga.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The national drug
strategy identifies prevention as its principal priority. In
that regard, the government continued its publicity efforts
targeting Spanish youth. PNSD closely coordinates its demand
reduction programs with the Spanish National Police, Civil
Guard, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Public
Administration. 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
over 4 million euros to assist private, nongovernmental
organizations that carry out drug prevention and
rehabilitation programs.


Bilateral Cooperation. The United States continues to improve
the current excellent bilateral and multilateral cooperation
in law enforcement and demand reduction programs it has with
Spain. Through a series of visits this year from high-level
USG officials, such as the Commanders of both SOUTHCOM and
JIATF-S and the INL Acting A/S, we have encouraged the
Spanish to engage more robustly in Latin America, both
operationally and on the capacity development side, to help
stem the flow of narcotics coming to the Iberian Peninsula.

MADRID 00002066 004.2 OF 004

DEA Administrator Tandy participated in the 2007 IDEC
conference in Madrid and built on a successful visit she
conducted to Spain in September 2006. During a joint press
conference with the DEA Administrator, the Spanish Minister
of Interior highlighted our close bilateral cooperation in
the area of counternarcotics. Spanish government officials
routinely tell us that Mexico is a strategic priority and we
believe there are areas for joint cooperation in that
country. We continually press Spain to become a leader among
EU member states in the fight against narcotics and the
opening of the Maritime Analysis and Operations Center (MAOC)
should bolster EU capacity to protect its southwestern flank.

Road Ahead. With drug traffickers targeting Spain in a major
way and its government reaching out to us for assistance, the
U.S. will continue to coordinate closely with Spanish
counternarcotics officials. Spain will continue to be a key
player in the international fight against drug trafficking
and is looking to maintain momentum from its successful
hosting of the DEC. The more we can educate the Spanish on
U.S. counternarcotics activities in Latin America, the more
likely we can find ways to combine resources to help build
capacity in that vital region.

© Scoop Media

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