Cablegate: 2007-2008 International Narcotics


DE RUEHTL #0720/01 3091457
R 051457Z NOV 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 136780

1. (U) The following is Embassy Tallinn's submission for
the 2007 - 2008 (EUR) International Narcotics Control
Strategy Report (INCSR) Part I, Drugs and Chemical Control.


2. (U) The closures of illegal synthetic drug labs,
seizures of narcotic substances, detection of drug chains
and arrest of record number of Estonian drug traffickers
around the world indicate drug production and transit
activity are ongoing in Estonia. They also reflect the
increase of counter-narcotics efforts by Estonian law
enforcement agencies. Except for the higher HIV-infection
rate among intravenous drug users, the drug situation in
Estonia does not differ from that in other European
countries. Estonia is a party to the main international
drug control conventions, including the UN Convention
Against Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances (1988).


3. (U) Estonia's most popular illegal narcotics include
trimethylphentanyl ("White Persian,") heroin, ecstasy,
amphetamines, gammahydroxylbutyrate (GHB), cannabis and
poppy. The last of these is primarily used outside of
Tallinn. The closure in the first ten months of 2007 of
three illegal synthetic drug labs, along with seizures of
production equipment and precursors, indicate that
synthetic drugs are produced in Estonia. While some drugs
are consumed locally, production is also exported to
neighboring countries, as evidenced by the frequent arrests
of drug traffickers at the border. Also in 2007, a record
number of Estonian drug traffickers have been arrested in
foreign countries showing the involvement of Estonian drug
traffickers in the international illegal drug trade. (See
para 10.) Seizures of large quantities of narcotic
substances by Estonian law enforcement agencies indicate
that Estonia is located on a drug transit route in the

4. (U) According to Government of Estonia (GOE) and NGO
estimates, there are about 14,000 intravenous drug users
(IDUs) in Estonia. Due to its large IDU population,
Estonia has the highest growth rate per capita of HIV
infections in Europe. As of October 2007, a total of 6,250
cases of HIV has been registered nationwide, 519 of which
were registered in 2007. To date, AIDS has been diagnosed
in a total of 176 people, 41 of whom were diagnosed in
2007. Male IDUs still account for the largest share of
newly registered HIV cases; however, in 2007, young women
made up 42 per cent of new HIV cases, indicating that the
epidemic is spreading to the general population.


5. (U) POLICY INIATIVES. In 2007, Estonia continued to
upgrade its anti-narcotics legal framework. In March, the
Government of Estonia (GOE) approved its 2007-09 Action
Plan based on the National Strategy on Prevention of Drug
Dependency for 2004-2012, adopted in 2003. The Action Plan
sets targets and gives guidelines for implementing
organizations to meet the six objectives of the strategy:
prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, harm reduction,
demand reduction, addressing the problem of drugs in
prisons, and overall monitoring and evaluation of the
Action Plan. In 2006, the Law amending the Narcotic Drugs
and Psychotropic Substances Act (LANDPSA) came into force,
harmonizing Estonia's legislation with European Union (EU)
narcotics regulations. The LANDPSA also brought domestic
law into compliance with the United Nations (UN) Convention
against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic


6. (U) Also in 2007, Estonia continued to implement its
national 2006-2015 anti-HIV/AIDS strategy, which pledges to
bring about a steady reduction in the spread of HIV and
improve the quality of life of people with the disease.
Following parliamentary elections in March 2007, the new
government coalition reiterated this pledge in its
coalition agreement. The GOE plans to focus its prevention
efforts on young people and their parents, with the
ultimate goal of reducing the number of new cases of HIV to
the European regional average of 50-70 cases per one
million people per year, or one-tenth the current rate.
The strategy pays special attention to programs for various
at-risk groups, including IDUs, which currently form the
largest sub-group within the HIV positive population.

7. (U) Although the United Nations Global Fund to Fight
HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria (GF) finished its four-year
program in Estonia in September, the GOE has committed to
take over all HIV-related activities carried out under
Global Fund's $10.4 million grant. While the Ministry of
Social Affairs has overall coordinating responsibility,
each cabinet Minister is responsible for HIV prevention,
harm reduction and treatment in his or her administrative
area (i.e., Ministry of Justice -- HIV in prisons; Ministry
of Defense -- HIV in defense forces; Ministry of Education
and Research -- HIV prevention in schools and colleges).
All ministries report to the governmental committee that
coordinates HIV and drug abuse prevention activities,
established in 2006. The committee is comprised of
representatives from the Ministries of Social Affairs,
Education and Research, Defense, Internal Affairs, Justice,
and Finance, as well as local governments, the World Health
Organization, organizations for people living with
HIV/AIDS, and members of the original working groups that
drafted the GOE's 2005-2015 anti-HIV/AIDS strategy. The
committee reports directly to the Cabinet on a bi-annual

8. (U) LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS. Combating narcotics is a
major priority for Estonian law enforcement agencies.
Police, customs officials and the border guard maintain
good cooperation on counter-narcotics activities.
Currently, 88 police officers work solely on drug issues.
Their primary mission is to destroy international drug
rings (rather than catch individual suppliers). From
January through September 2007, the Estonian police
registered 860 drug-related criminal cases and successfully
carried out several counter-narcotics operations.

9. (U) In April, officers of the drug squad of the North
Police Prefecture seized more than a kilogram of cocaine
and a large amount of ecstasy tablets estimated to have a
street value of $140,000. This was the largest amount of
cocaine ever seized by that jurisdiction. According to the
police, the packaging of the drugs clearly indicated the
suspect was involved in drug smuggling. In August, two
suspects were arrested with 15 doses of
gammahydroxylbutyrate (GHB). A search of their dwelling
uncovered 23 grams of cocaine and three liters of GHB,
which corresponds to more than 600 doses. In September, as
a result of an extensive operation, the Estonian Central
Criminal Police discovered a cache of various narcotics,
including the largest amounts of hashish ever confiscated
in Estonia. In addition to the 70 kg of hashish, the
seizure netted 1500 grams of cocaine, 300 grams of "White
Chinaman" and several bags of marijuana with a total
estimated street value of $1 million. In October, as a
result of long-term surveillance, the Estonian central
Criminal Police raided a drug lab and seized 10 liters of
liquid amphetamine, lab equipment and chemicals used in
amphetamine production. They detained four persons
suspected of manufacturing large quantities of
amphetamines. The search of one suspect's apartment
yielded 15 kilos of liquid amphetamine. The total seizure
amounted to an estimated 30,000 doses with a total value of

10. (U) In October, the Central Criminal Police detained a
criminal group recruiting young people from Estonia to

traffic narcotics from South America. Previously only
about seven drug traffickers of Estonian origin were
arrested abroad every year. In 2007, 30 people from
Estonia have been arrested for drug trafficking -- seven
detained in Europe and 23 in South American (including 12
in Venezuela.)

11. (U) Combating the illicit narcotics trade is also a top
priority for the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB).
All customs, investigation, and information officers have
received special training in narcotics control, and all
customs border points are equipped with rapid drug tests.
There are about 100 customs officers working on the
Estonia-Russian border (part of the European Union's
eastern-most border). About 150 Customs officers work in
mobile units all over Estonia. There are 14 Customs teams
with 18 drug sniffing dogs. In the first six months of
2007, the dogs found approximately ten kilos of narcotic
substances. All four Customs regions have a designated
narcotics control liaison officer, and are supported by a
narcotics analyst in the Tallinn headquarters. In May,
Estonian Customs Officials - in cooperation with U.S. and
Latvian law enforcement agencies - detained an
international criminal group of eight people and seized
roughly 8 kg of high-quality cocaine with a street value of
$2.1 million. The smugglers brought the drugs to the
Estonian coast in a small boat from a freighter sailing in
Estonian territorial waters and planned to forward them to
other Baltic countries. In July, during X-ray screening,
Estonian Customs Officials found 4.2 kilos of heroin hidden
in the car of a Latvian citizen. This seizure prevented up
to 70,000 doses of heroin from reaching the streets.

12. (U) CORRUPTION. Estonia is a relatively corruption-
free country, receiving high scores on international
corruption and economic indexes - out-performing all other
new EU member states and some of the old EU-15 countries.
The GOE does not encourage or facilitate illicit production
or distribution of narcotics or psychotropic drugs or the
laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
There are no reports of any senior official of the GOE
engaging in, encouraging, or facilitating the illicit
production or distribution of narcotic substances.

13. (U) AGREEMENTS AND TREATIES. Estonia is party to the
main international drug control conventions: the UN Single
Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), the UN Convention on
Psychotropic Substances (1971), the UN Convention Against
Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic
Substances (1988), and the Council of Europe Convention on
Laundering, Search, Seizure, and Confiscation of the
Proceeds from Crime (1990). A 1924 extradition treaty,
supplemented in 1934, remains in force between the United
States and Estonia, and a mutual legal assistance treaty in
criminal matters was entered into by the countries in 2000.
In 2006, the Estonian Parliament ratified a new Estonian-
U.S. extradition agreement and a revised agreement on
mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. The new
agreement is in compliance with agreements previously
signed between the EU and the United States as well as a
2002 decision of the EU Council concerning arrest warrants
and transfer procedure. Estonia is a party to the UN
Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its
three protocols. Estonia's domestic drug legislation is
consistent with international laws regulating the combat
against illicit drugs.

14. (U) CULTIVATION/PRODUCTION. Estonia's cold climate
precludes it from becoming a major drug cultivator;
however, in northeastern Estonia small amounts of poppies
are grown for domestic consumption. Nevertheless, the
closures of drug labs and seized products and precursors in
different regions of Estonia demonstrate synthetic
narcotics production is ongoing in Estonia. Most of the
labs were small and very mobile, making it difficult to
detect and close them. In addition to production for
domestic consumption, synthetic drugs produced in Estonia
are exported to neighboring countries, including the Nordic
countries and northwestern Russia.

15. (U) DRUG FLOW/TRANSIT. Estonia's geographical position

makes it attractive to drug smugglers. Frequent arrests of
drug traffickers and seizures of narcotic substances at the
border indicate Estonia's involvement in the international
drug trade, but also demonstrate the high performance level
of Estonian law enforcement agencies. (See paras 8 and 9).

Frequent arrests of Estonian drug traffickers around the
world shows their involvement in the international drug

Estonia continued to implement its 2004-2012 National
Strategy on the Prevention of Drug Dependency. Combating
the drug trade and reining in domestic consumption continue
to be high priorities for all Estonian law enforcement
agencies and for key government ministries. There are more
than 60 governmental, non-governmental, and private
entities in Estonia working with IDUs to provide services
to decrease demand and reduce harm. There are currently
five voluntary HIV testing and counseling centers in
Estonia funded by the GOE and local governments. A needle
exchange program is operational in 23 cities and a number
of mobile needle exchange stations are in operation in
Tallinn and northeast Estonia. Methadone treatment is
provided at six centers in Tallinn and northeast Estonia.
Drug rehabilitation services are provided at 14 facilities
nationwide, three of which are church-sponsored.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

17. (U) In 2007, the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF)
implemented the first phase of a U.S. Department of Defense
(DOD) project entitled "DOD HIV/AIDS Prevention Program" to
raise the awareness of military personnel and to assist in
the creation of a sustainable EDF HIV/AIDS prevention
system. Also, post utilized the Department's International
Visitors Program on HIV in 2007 to familiarize Estonian
experts with U.S. practices in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

18. (U) In 2007, the Export Control and Border Security
program provided a Targeted Risk Management Training in
Tallinn for Estonian Customs Agents (September 24-28) and
provided over $100,000 worth of inspection equipment to the
Border Guards, Customs Agents, and Rescue Board. In 2008,
EXBS will hold a regional conference in the Balkans in
which Estonian Customs Agents have been asked to
participate as trainers.

V. Statistical Tables

19. N/A


20. (U) Estonia's principal legislation on chemical
controls - the Act on Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances
and Precursors (ANPSP) - is in full compliance with EU
legislation on drug precursors (these EU regulations
include: Regulation EC No. 111/2005 of December 22, 2004,
laying down the rules for the monitoring of trade between
the Community and third countries in drug precursors;
Regulation EC No. 273/2004 of the Council and the European
Parliament of February 11, 2004, on drug precursors;
Regulation EC No. 1277/2005 of July 27, 2005, laying down
implementing rules for Regulations EC Nos. 273/2004 and
111/2005). Further, the ANPSP implements the Vienna
Convention of 1988. The ANPSP categorizes chemical
substances into three categories. None of the substances
in any of the three categories are produced in Estonia.

21. (U) The first specified controlled substance category
under the ANPSP includes ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
Under the law, a license is needed to possess, market,
import, export, or broker these substances. Currently,
only one license has been issued in Estonia (in 2005) to a
wholesaler that imports ephedrine from an EU country and

sells it to drug stores with licenses to produce medicine
under a doctor's prescription. The annual use of ephedrine
(in drugstore preparations) in Estonia is about six
kilograms. In addition, some imported medicinal products
that contain pseudoephedrine are authorized for use in
Estonia. The GOE has a pre-export notification procedure
even though Estonia does not manufacture medicines that
contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. The State Agency of
Medicine (SAM) has not issued any licenses to export
ephedrine or pseudoephedrine from Estonia to third

22. (U) Potassium permanganate and acetic anhydride are
included in the ANPSP's second category of controlled
substances. In order to market, import, or export
potassium permanganate and acetic anhydride, the producing
and marketing venue must be registered with the SAM.
Currently, the SAM registry includes 14 companies that
process potassium permanganate and seven companies that
process acetic anhydride. These companies are primarily
involved in importing these substances from the EU or
marketing them within the EU. In order to export potassium
permanganate and acetic anhydride, an export license and a
pre-export notification are required. Neither potassium
permanganate nor acetic anhydride is produced in Estonia,
and the SAM has not issued any licenses to export these
substances to third countries. The third category of drugs
under the ANPSP is not relevant to this report.


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